The President of Arewa Youth Consultative Forum (AYCF), Yerima Shettima, has ruled out the possibility of supporting any presidential aspirant who is above the age of 60 ahead of the 2023 presidential election in Nigeria.
Yerima stated that,the youths in the northern region would go with the position of a former Head of State, General Ibrahim Babangida (rtd), that Nigerians should look inward for a younger person as their president come 2023.
Yerima, who spoke in Kaduna during an interactive session with journalists on Saturday said that, only presidential aspirants who are in their 40s and 50s would be supported irrespective of the region they come from.
“We have made our position very clear that we will not pitch our tent with any old generation. This is not because it is not their right to contest, but you can be rest assured that we will only campaign for young generations.
“Anything from 60 is old. We will be looking forward to those that are in their 40s and 50s.
“We have been sensitising the youths on those who have been recycling themselves over and over again without being able to provide answers to our issues.
“So, we want to for once do it for ourselves and I am sure we have the strength to do it. We are looking inward for capable hands in the younger generation this time around”, he said.
On restructuring, Yerima said, “I have been talking about this over concentration of power and if we continue to do this, we will continue to have funny people with funny characters occupying some of these political spaces.
“I am one of the voices in the northern part of the country today that believes in restructuring. My argument on this position is simple. The moment you over concentrate, you continue to manage the centre as it is without decentralising it.
“We will continue to have people who are not even qualified to be ward counsellors becoming senators and governors simply because they have godfathers or money at their disposal. But the moment the centre is discentrised, give the region or the states certain autonomy whereby people can become anything they want to become through communities.
“I’m hopeful that I will be alive to see the day the centre will be dismantled. Let us have a centre that is less attractive where people will not make it a do or die affair to become the president of the country. The likes of Sardauna, Awolowo, Azikwe and the rest of them would not have done what they did under this arrangement.
“Even when Sardauna had the opportunity to go to the centre, he sent Tafawa Balewa because he preferred to be a regional leader and he did well. The young generation can learn from this. I was not there then when they did all they did but we can read and feel the impacts,” he said.