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Opinion: Macron’s lesson for our youth

Nigeria’s young, aspiring leaders have a thing or two to learn from the political sagacity of French liberal centrist politician, Emmanuel Macron, who blazed to an emphatic victory after the two-stage presidential election that ended on Sunday, 7th  May 2017. He beat his sole opponent of the ultra-rightist National Front, Ms Marion Anne Perrine Le Pen, by 65 per cent to 35 per cent of the votes already counted. Le Pen immediately conceded. Emmanuel Macron It was an election in which the French people were given the choice between Le Pen, who campaigned on the agenda of leading France out of the European Union in the mode of “Brexit”, and Macron, who vowed to keep France in Europe, open up the country’s economy to more capitalist fillip while protecting its citizens from growing Islamic terror.

With his overwhelming victory, France served notice to its neighbours in Europe and the world at large that it was not ready to join the nationalist bandwagon rippling through Western democracies as evident in the United Kingdom’s Brexit and the United State’s election of President Donald Trump. Macron is just 39, which makes him the youngest leader of France since Napoleon Bonaparte. He had never held an elected office, and he campaigned on an independent platform,  En Marche France  (France on the Move). Combining an element of luck with surprisingly skillful campaigning in a political process that saw older political parties falling by the wayside, Macron, an investment banker and former minister in the outgoing government of Francois Hollande, has the difficult task of making France more business-friendly while also maintaining the social safety nets that the French people have become used to.

The first lesson for the Nigerian youth from the Macron example is that you do not need a political “godfather” if you really want to change the political landscape and implement your  vision of society. You do not sit back and complain about how the older generation of leaders have hijacked the polity and won’t transfer power to the youth. You go out and fight for it. If you do not fight you may never get anything. The older generation will cling to power until someone takes it away from them. The second is that our young should take themselves more seriously than they now do. Macron has shown that young people are still very capable of achieving uncommon exploits. Even the older generation of Nigerian leaders and founding fathers, whether civilian or military, started even earlier than Macron to aspire and occupy leadership positions. Macron was able to capitalise on the yearnings of the French people for change to shove aside entrenched political parties and leaders to be elected the president based on a non-party movement he started only in April 2016. If you want anything, get up and go grab it!


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Posted by on May 10 2017. Filed under Africa, Headlines. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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