See Atiku's Answers To Your Questions
Many Nigerians have wondered why persons who have ruled them in the past have continued to return to power even when many of them are old.
It has become a source of worry for many, as they wonder when the youths considered the future leaders will be given an opportunity to be part of governance.
A higher population of Nigerians are youths and older persons have continued to rule them for years, without so much visible impact.
When Atiku Abubakar began to show interest in running for the Presidency in 2019, questions about the past 16 years of the Peoples Democratic Party and the gains and losses arose.
He was in leadership for half of those past years and questions were also directed at him.
The former Vice President responding to one of such issues said he had been asked so much questions by young Nigerians.
Replying to one of such questions written by I Go Die on Instagram, Atiku said: "I am replying this not just to you as a person, but to all young Nigerians who have asked similar questions.
"Firstly, you are right. The Nigerian youth have often been taken for granted, and almost every leader in our history has taken young people for granted. But it’s important to point how this started?—?for people like me who saw Independence; our leadership was mostly driven by young people. Then came the coups, and the civil war, and then more coups.
"Nigeria ended up with a long period of military dictatorship for many decades, in which time; those young leaders aged, but still remained leaders. Fela, Gani, Enahoro, and Beko were young leaders, yet remained leaders until their demise. That was because of the instability brought on by decades of instability.
"By the time we got to 1999, the young people of the day had not been prepared for leadership, because there was no leadership or apprenticeship process under dictatorships. This is one of the reasons the age of leaders has continued to rise. That was because of the leadership stagnation brought on by decades of political instability. Imagine a school that did not graduate any students for 5 years, by the time the top class finally graduates, you will have a backlog of undergraduates.
"Our young people are not to blame; we need to remedy this national failure. Last week, there were local government elections in Akwa Ibom State, with over 60% of the seats won by young people, less than 35 years old.
"That’s how progress can be made.
"Young people need to participate from the grassroots, all the way across board. Appointments are good, but getting elected is even better. I also understand the issues around funding elections which keep women and young people out, and I will address this in an article I am publishing soon".
On accusations around his tenure as Vice President, Atiku further wrote: "I think it’s important to address the accusation about my tenure as Vice President, that I did nothing for young people. Firstly, as VP, I can only be judged on the responsibilities I was given. A VP obviously is not the driver of government. For example, you can’t blame Prof Osinbajo for all that is going on with the current government. He can only do what he’s allowed to do.
"But let me speak about what you can judge me by, my assigned responsibilities. As VP, I assembled what is arguably the best Economic Team ever in Nigeria. It was made up of young, world class professionals, who came home to work. Some of those professionals are now political leaders, governors and world leaders in their own right.
"If you ask what our first task was, coming into government in 1999, it was to bring stability to the economy after decades of military rule. For example, between 1999 and 2003, oil prices then were hovering between $16 and $28 yet we managed to pay up salary arrears from decades back, clear up our national debts and built up foreign reserves. Our GDP grew at the fastest rate we’ve seen since the return to democracy.
"You mentioned that I never brought young people into leadership, but my record speaks differently.
"I have a proven record of bringing young, unknown professionals into service.
"Many of the professionals and ministers I brought in were in their 30s and early 40s. Some of those young leaders have become governors in their states.
"I went to the World Bank and met a bright lady, convinced her to come back home, and she became a star in our government. To show you we had effective leadership, the same lady could not replicate her exploits under a different government".
On how he supervised the privatisation of some government-owned establishments, the former Vice President said he never interfered with the process.
"I was also in charge of privatization and I have witnesses that I never interfered with the process.
"I never bought anything belonging to the government. I was quite wealthy before coming into government, with declared assets worth hundreds of millions of dollars in 1999 (which was put in a trust when I became VP); so it was understandable that many of the wealthy Nigerian business people who participated in the privatization programme were my friends. Did I use my influence to get them better deals? No.
"As the then DG of BPE testified under oath, I never used my position to interfere with his work," he added.