Is Buhari right to appoint 83-year-old as ambassador?
The constitution of Nigeria permits every qualified and competent Nigerian to vie and be appointed to public office or to serve in whatever capacity. We cannot because of age stop a healthy and qualified person from serving the country. Yes, there is a minimum age, which the National Assembly is making moves to amend, but there is no maximum age. So anybody can be appointed to any position, as long as the person is healthy, of sound of mind, knows what he is doing and can make good decisions for the country.
Mature and sound decisions could be better taken by someone who is 83. From information, the man in question is a retired jurist from Imo State. That, in my opinion, makes his appointment more appropriate. A judge is supposed to be of an articulate mind, sound in judgement and knows what he is doing. A judge can decide very well. I think it is okay for the President to appoint such a person. As long as he is of sound mind, has good health and takes good decisions, he can be appointed. Some people may ask that since we have about 180 million Nigerians of whom at least 40 per cent of them are of constitutional age of holding public office, are there no better people?
But if the President in his wisdom decides that an octogenarian is the one to do the job, I think he is in order. Some people may still argue that there are young people who are qualified with great energy and vibrancy to do the job, but the point is that we should not disenfranchise or discriminate against any Nigerian. It has been noted that young people of these days are even more corrupt than the old people because the young have been made to believe that things come easy.
We need to re-culture the youth before we can really vouch for them. The reality is that if you have been in business, you will know that young people are more corrupt. You cannot hand over a business to a young man; what you see the young people do is to get rich quick. Some of the people who are facing prosecution or being investigated by the anti-graft agencies or who are being alleged to have been corrupt are not very old people. Many of them are middle aged and young people. I am sure the President must have done a search. If he feels that an 83-year-old man is what will serve his purpose and believes in the health of the man, no matter where he is coming from, I think, it is appropriate to appoint him. •Mr. Adebayo Babalola (A member, Peoples Democratic Party, Kwara State chapter)
There is nothing wrong in President Muhammadu Buhari appointing an 83-year-old man as an ambassador. First, we have to consider the antecedents of the person so appointed. An ambassador of a country is its image in the host country. Therefore, the person must be a person with a wealth of knowledge and exemplary lifestyle. Yes, the position may require agility which a youth may enjoy more, but agility alone cannot do the job. If the older person enjoys good health, as well as a good sense of leadership and direction, he could achieve more.
President Donald Trump of the United States of America is over 70 while the Queen of England is an old woman; these people are still performing the functions of their offices which are more demanding than that of an ambassador. Inasmuch as the person is not senile and immobile, there is nothing wrong in the appointment. •Chief Dare Adekolu (Chairman, Mega Progressives Peoples Party in Ekiti State)
The truth is that it is not appropriate. It is completely wrong in terms of the nomination itself and the screening of the candidate by the Senate and the final consideration that was sent to the Presidency. In terms of diplomacy and international relations, you cannot divorce personality influence from it. You can also not remove the management of the embassy or high commission from it. You also cannot avoid critical decisions that have to be taken when it comes to matters which affect the Nigerian nationals in a country where an elderly person of over 80 years is an ambassador.
You need someone as an ambassador who is quick-witted to attend to critical issues of national interest and deal with such in the interest of the nation. When you have somebody who is over 80 years, the question is: what is the purpose of sending such a person to another country when in fact the country has a pool of huge human resources in the area of diplomacy and international relations? Every year, we have Nigerians who are training and those who are trained and if you look at the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs in Lagos, it is an intellectual pool for promoting Nigeria’s foreign interest. So, why can’t they seek the advice of that institution?
It is not a question of experience. Issues change every day. The international system is determined by issues and events and these are changing every day. The way you handled an event 10 years ago is not the way you will handle an event now because there are dynamics of diplomacy and international relations.
So, you cannot say because you are 90 or 80 years, you have experience as an old school teacher. No.
The world of today is the world of high technology, a world where certain decisions are determined by considering the military capability of nations to respond immediately to any threat to their interest. So, will you compare an elderly man who used dane guns some year ago with somebody or an entity like North Korea which has already gone beyond the capability of nuclear missiles within a range and can fire beyond Japan? Forget experience.
Today, the leader of the Netherlands is 31 years old. What about France? So, the world is changing and we must change with the world. There is everything wrong with Buhari’s appointment of an 83-year-old man as an ambassador and it is sad. •Benson Osadolor (Professor of History and International Studies, University of Benin)
I respect the elderly and I pray to reach such age. If I were the appointee I would have recommended a younger person for the offer. It is either the appointee is of a rare breed, a gene so strong at that age, the only competent Nigerian in his field from his constituency or he is selfish, wants to be economically rehabilitated and die in active service. To me, that is not a good way to reward loyalty. It is a way of saying that there is no qualified younger person to do the same job. This can only be an illusion.
I know that many times, wisdom resides in age. But there is no justification for appointing or recommending someone of that age for appointment. There is no way that appointee will have the physical energy to do his job. Youths are often referred to as leaders of tomorrow, but when will we have leadership succession or transition when an 83-year-old man is given an appointment, whereas there are millions of young unemployed but competent Nigerians to do the same job? PMB is taking Nigerians for granted. •Dr Charles Obot (Department of Communication Arts, University of Uyo, Akwa Ibom State)
To me, the nomination of an 83 year-old retired judge is not appropriate. At 83, I strongly believe that this octogenarian has served this nation and he should now rest and enjoy his retirement. Are we saying that there are no younger persons competent enough to do the job he would be given? It is an insult to youths of this country. But I know that there are millions of younger persons who can perform any task given to them. Not all youths are lazy and incompetent. There are many knowledgeable youths but they are not given the opportunities to show what they can do. The younger generation should be given the opportunities to serve. We won’t know what they can do if we do not give them the opportunities to show their talents.
There are many Nigerian youths who are patriotic and who are ready to serve the nation, but it seems the elderly ones are not willing to give them a chance. There is a learning process in every job and if the younger ones are not given the chance to serve, the elders will not also rest well when they are supposed to. The younger ones should be encouraged to learn so that there will be no gap by the time the older generations will no longer be able to continue. The younger ones are the ones with fresh ideas and zeal; you cannot compare the strength of an octogenarian with a 35 or 40-year-old person. I think the appointment of the 83-year-old man as an envoy is not appropriate and the President should not continue in this line. There won’t be vibrancy in the administration if the positions are occupied by the aged ones who should be at home enjoying their retirement and offering advice when consulted. •Mr. Olusegun Fanibe (Chairman, Accord Party, Osun State)Join Our Social Media Community