I was filled with awe when I was told that General Ibrahim Babangida was 69 years of age and his jilted friend and colleague General Buhari was 68 years of age. My surprise was not that they could be that old but it never occurred to me they could be that old, in fact I did not believe it until I made enquiries and found out. The million dollar question is what should the contribution of virtually 70 year olds to the future of a nation be.
General Babangida has been on the forefront of the defense of the age factor probably because he is the oldest among the contestants. Indeed rather unwisely, Babangida has cited the ages of a number of long serving and undistinguished African leaders to back his drive for presidency which he once held for eight years. With due respect to Nelson Mandela his tenure as leader saw a nosedive in the South-African economy and in his wisdom he refused to re-run for president.
Although we will all agree that the issue of who should be President is not a matter of age but vision .Vision is for “youths” and guidance for elders. Elderly people cannot dare great things because their courage is severely curtailed by their reluctance to take risks and make sacrifices and that is why their place is in guiding younger people to take the risk they cannot take.
In all fairness if General Babangida and Buhari have anything to contribute to this nation they would have looked for protégés and inculcated their ideals in them(that is if they have any), groomed them and sponsored them to do that which they could not do( that is if they feel there is something else they could have done for Nigeria that they did not do when they had a shot at the precidency).One tends to wonder what they want to contribute to Nigeria as 70 year olds that they could not do as 40 year olds, is just like a footballer trying to be the world best player in his 40’s something he should have done in his 20’s.
In conclusion we are all grateful to General Babangida and Buhari for their contribution to nation building .The history of our great nation would be incomplete without them and for them to want Nigerians to be more grateful to them they should rescind to the role of elder statesmen like their colleague General Abdusalam and be more concerned with giving guidance that is if they have any to give or they will most likely meet their waterloo.