Former President Olusegun Obasanjo is pleading with politicians to stop using youths as thugs.

He says politicians who engage other people’s children for violence often keep their own children away in “safe havens.”

Obasanjo stated this in a paper titled “Demystifying Leadership Capacity Deficit of African Youths: Our Future is in their Hands.” He delivered the paper in London at the inaugural edition of King’s College London Global Leaders Engagement Series.

“Enough of using other people’s children as experimental subjects and keeping ours in safe havens. Enough of using other people’s children as political thugs and ballot box snuffers, while we send ours to Ivy League schools.

He also called on politicians to make amendments to the laws and party structure to enhance the access of young people to political offices.

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Obasanjo backed constitutional amendment to give room for youths’ contest in political offices, saying “If constitutional changes are required, let us begin now. If policies and political party structures have to change, let us begin now. Of what use is a law that allows young people contest for a particular office only to be confronted with the hurdle of outrageously exorbitant cost of party nomination forms and campaign costs?

“Enough of thinking we know what is right for young people without their input or the courtesy of asking for their opinions”, he said.

“I see hope in that the future of Africa is in the hands of its youth. I see hope of a continent where the creative energies, intellectual prowess and ingenuity of our youth is capable to lead us to our promised land. I see hope in the courage of our youth to hold government accountable and their resistance to tyranny and despotism.”

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