Nigeria 2019: #NotTooYoungToRun? More Like #JustTooLazyToPutInTheWork. A Look Back at the Class of ‘99

Power is Not Served À La Carte

Oo Nwoye
Jan 5, 2018 · 3 min read

As we prepare for Nigeria’s next National Elections in 2019, conversations and activities are getting into full gear. It is clear that the political class has failed. Just take a look at the Nigeria the alleged country.

However, there is idea that is seemingly gaining traction among my age peers — the pseudoyoots called #NotTooYoungToRun. The logic being that age is the primary factor to consider when seeking good governance and that “they” should make way for them to govern. While I accept that new ideas would correlate higher with younger folks, I think the idea is misguided and distracts from the core of the issue when it comes to governance in Nigeria.

  1. The pool of active Nigerian political gladiators and candidates is shallow and dominated by charlatans.
  2. The way to increase the chances of throwing up great election candidates with fresh ideas (most likely to be found in younger candidates) is to deepen the pool of participants.
  3. Most importantly and the main essence of this post is: Dear Youths NO ONE IS STOPPING YOU FROM RUNNING FOR OFFICE. You don’t need anyone’s permission. Barely a generation ago and in this 4th republic, our equivalents ran things.

A Look at the Class of 1999.

Using Google, I compiled the list of Governors, FCT Minister, President and Vice President of Nigeria in 1999, sorted it by ages /year of birth and added a column to show their equivalent year of birth if year of election was in 2019.

You’d see it was “kids” of the equivalent 70’s and 80's that formed the bulk (23 of 36) of Governors.

FIVE Governors Were Under 40. For 2019, it will be 4 Governors born in the 80s
A “Whole” Tinubu was 3 years shy of 50! 23 of the Governors Were Under 50

Who gave those youths permission?

These folks joined political parties, contested primaries, won. Contested elections, won.

Let me ignore the fact that there isn’t any strong correlation between the youngest governors in ’99 and the better governed states.

By Way of Next Steps

If younger people are interested in power (most of those shouting Not too Young are not too far off from some of the Governors of 99 o!) we have to participate actively in NUMBERS.

We should stop the unreasonable clamor of “food is ready” politicking. Politics cost time, energy and money. You should have at least 2 of those, and be willing to expend them if you want to stand a chance.

If you are interested in contesting for positions, register you and your friends at ward level. If you rather go in the “technocrat way”, then volunteer in numbers to candidates before they win. Don’t tell me of Godfathers. After all, Godfathers need God Children to function. If you want that route then make yourself a worthy God Child.

This of course doesn’t guarantee you’ll get power but to have a chance at winning the lottery, one has to buy the ticket.


I know, the circumstances in 1999 were different. The ready made veteran politicians were reluctant to participate so younger people had fewer older folks to compete with therefore a better chance. But the reality is, every era has its unique circumstances. use yours.

Fun addition: Looking at 2019; El Rufai and Oby Ezekwesili were equivalents of people born in 1980 and 1983 respectively when they headed Bureau of Public Enterprises and Due Process Office in 1999.

The First Speaker of the House was 29. In 2019, it would be the equivalent of one born in 1990.

If you want access to the spreadsheet it is here

Oo Nwoye

Written by

Oo Nwoye

One of the players in the Nigerian techosystem.

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