THE THEORY OF YOUTHTOCRACY (1st Ed- Part One) by Ebi Robert

For much citing and quoting are not what makes principles, but a sound and prudent idea that was once first created.

                                                                                                                              First Edition
Ebi Robert

Because the pre-historic era failed in sound social relationship, that is, the idyllic co-existence of peace, goodwill, mutual assistance, and preservation’,[2] if that can be a state to go by, waxed weak, in adequate communal integration, humanity, herein our infantile compound units contracted itself to acquire an existence of furtherance. This explains the agreement between government and the state. Employing the lexis of John Locke, I would say: “the pactum subiectionis”.[3] This should not have been half-thought by scholars before me. Old time struggled with civilized reasoning, some a little shaped by theological ideas, and others built by civilization given by nature breakthrough. This transmission suffered a chain of seasonable occurrences that were inevitable; an era that would bring something recent; a society in which the conflict of interests would not be terminated, but reduced. Sure, our vehicle is the government but the gear may not be adequately prescribed, even though a gear is described. Thus, I mean the gear had not been the bolt, but the need for a vehicle. Nevertheless, the vehicle at the commencement of our contract at sundry times had been with gears, their sufficiency I wouldn’t say. Classifications had their hold on gears from left to right; from despotism to democracy, centralized system to de-centralized, parliamentary to presidential, unelected monarchical to republican, federalism to con- federalism, etcetera, etcetera. Whether of forms or kinds, there is yet one kind or form that hasn’t esteemed an antonym of popularity and that I shall soon fix. Not only that, I shall go a step further to use this proposed play to solve the ills of the aged long order.


Senex, our old one is in this wise, gerontocracy; a form whereby the ageing leads; a form which gets solace in Plato’s avowal of deference of the younger to the elder,[4] operates in most parts of the world inaudibly. The form’s philosophy lies in the rule by the elderly. Our Senex can be best traced to Gerousia, the Bellicose Sparta assembly of sixty plus.[5]

Gerontocracy has long existed in ancient times, by way of a stipulated tag on age on some units of governments, and in other cases, incidental occurrences by way of crop of aged fellows who started a phase, like it is in the case in Africa. Africa has so dwelt in the wise but misguided proverb which goes thus: “What an old man sees while sitting down, a young man cannot see even if he climbs the highest tree”.[6] Like other parts of the world, Africans believe that the elderly is full of wisdom; that this is born out of the wealth of experience the gray might have attained from encounters and counters. The young is believed to tap from the bowels of proficiency earned by the elderly, because they are yet to appreciate some of the cryptic enigma of life, and this amount for the ‘sitting and standing’ talk of astuteness which has indeed fleshed itself in the behavioral conducts of Africans, and in their governments. Bar acute cases of rarity, monarchs, chiefs and chief priests of the traditional religious backdrop are always chosen from the elderly. Maybe the gods are old and wish to crown their peers.

The ‘in council organism’ which is most popular in most of the African monarchical systems is made up of the elderly, for there had been at no time, an ‘in council’ of the youth. At most, youths are put in groups not ‘in council’. This does not mean that young blood had at no time led ‘in councils’, by virtue of the operation of prince-hood which is hereditary. Only that, it is either a young blood leads ‘in council’ with gerontocrats dominating or gerontocrats leading ‘in council’ of complete gerontocracy with the youths only ‘in groups’. ‘In council’ against ‘in groups’ is archaic and bitter of civilization.

As at 1923, when the elective principle was injected into the political system in Nigeria,[7] political integration gained grounds as that was fought for and not necessarily independence. Right to vote was a limited right,[8] thereby making the elites alone hold sway the political system. Few of the early nationalists by then escaped youthfulness, by this I do not mean synergy and energy; I rather speak of the number of suns a man has seen which I shall speak of later. Political integration was the focus of the nationalists when Sir Hugh Clifford ruled Nigeria, not independence per se.[9]As at 1945, when the political integration ideology started fading for little of an independence foresight following the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,[10]most of the Nigerian political Orators were but some of those who had added more years from 1923 which is the time they had good battle with youthfulness. The Aristocratic system functional in the North which paved way for Mary Kingsley’s theory of indirect rule[11] to strive made many gerontocrats to have their way into the political arena for so much ado. (Lord Lugard was the architect, not the theorist). There were less educated elites, making gerontocracy invoke an Oligarchic blueprint at large, yet there were some youths who mounted the politics at the beginning of nationhood. Nevertheless there were more gerontocrats as against the youths and ever since, this has been the trend. After Independence, the elderly dominated and this sailed even down to 1999, which is the break of Nigeria’s current democracy. For the love of command, those who can no longer rule because tenure stoppage stepped in, become Godfathers who in turn metamorphosed to a dirty ideal cabalism. This crop of the elderly has become shadow viceroys in an imaginary city that is real. They have become the remote on our TV of governance operating and determining who goes or comes out. Apart from the military regime which I shall not consider as government for this article,[12] Nigeria democracy (1963-1966, 1979-1983, 1993 /1999- present), had never had any youth hold power as president, and in this reign of gerontocrats has Nigeria had bad records in governance which has provoked a kind of naming and shaming. It is this flaw of the aristocratic gerontocracy or Oligarchic gerontocracy that would call for a new order to salvage Nigeria from the caprices of Gerontocracy.

Goodluck Jonathan while speaking on the International Youth Day on the 12th August, 2014 at the International Conference Centre said:

“My dear Nigerian youth, as we commemorate this International Youth day, let us use a moment to once again pay tribute to all youth and our statesmen, who at their tender and youthful age sacrificed their lives to win us independence and played other significant roles in the history of our Nation, including fighting to keep our country together and been at the forefront in our struggle to democratic governance.”[13]


If wisdom fails in your youth, the wisdom of the aged will be, but if your wisdom be, the wisdom of the aged may not.[14]While this remains an undisputed truth, our society has proven that both the elderly and the youth may lack astuteness; the elderly, because gerontocracy had botched to resuscitate the society from the exertion of subsistence; the youths because they have been clasped under the web of cabalism. But it is palpable the youth shall be the first to harvests sound judgment at a time of total frustration.[15]. However, what would be the age range of the youthtocrats?


Having said that the youthtocrats otherwise known as the young blood would step in when the gerontocrats fail, a question would then arise: Who is a youth?

The concept “youth” is relative and ambiguous as it particularly for this treatise means: one, someone with energy to perform. By this, it means that even a man in his 80’s who is strong by the gift of nature, is a youth. This is not accurate for this treatise because the discourse deals with ‘the early stage argument’ other than mere energy, even if it may be a factor not to be ignored. Secondly, anyone who is young, who may, or may not be inactive energy; sure there are weak youths. But weakness or strength is not what I speak of, but willingness to serve and sound constitutional qualification. This is why the gerontocrats that may be full of energy are also not tagged youths. Nonetheless, energy is an added advantage which youthtocrats may likely exhibit in copious degree, no doubt. Yet the question keeps reiterating, what is the age-range of a youthocrat?

Youth includes infancy for youngness sake but excludes it for youthfulness.[16]For this treatise, youth shall be resolved to begin from the teens. Thus including full teenagehood in youthfulness, which is from age 10 to age19. For youthtocracy, governance is the focus.

There are two ways one can specifically get accountable for governmental outcomes. They are voting for or being voted for. But there are three ways one may be blamed. They are: voting for, not voting for and being voted for.

In this assembly, a youthtocrat must be one who can vote and be voted for. This way, youthtocracy begins from the teenage age of 18. This is because the Nigerian Constitution which is the jurisdiction in which these principles are developed makes a youth of 18 years of age eligible, to vote.[17]However, the age for qualification to be voted for the office of governorship is 35[18] and that of presidency is 40 years of age.[19]This means that the Nigerian Constitution and perhaps other constitutions of the world recognize youthtocracy in silence. But as to what age ends youthocracy, there is going to be an abysmal evaluation because of copious polemic. Tenure in the Nigerian Constitution is four years.[20]This means that if someone of 35 years of age rules for four years, he will be 39 years of age as at the end of tenure. Forty one (41) seems to look like the dead-end, but for the two tenures prescription, it is not.[21]This in other words means that youthtocracy is not to be deprived of the two-tenure system. Therefore, for the sake of the constitutional provision, youthotcratic age ends at 43. Nevertheless a man of 43 may or may not be a youthtocrat. In other words, not every man at 43 is a youthtocrat, and an illustration will explicate this further.

Mr. Youpele is 35 years of age. He decides to be voted for. He contested and won and ruled for two tenures. He ends at 43, which makes him a youthtocrat at 43. If Mr. Youpele is 37 and decides to be voted for and wins in the election, he becomes 41 at the end of the tenure. If he re-contests and wins, he will end by 45. Although, the age 45 may not be considered as the dead-end, the fact still remains that the elect who ends at 45 is a youthtocrat owing to the fact that he started a youth. If Mr. Youpele seeks to be voted for at 39 and wins, he will end his first tenure at the age of 43. He can re-contest and end by 47. He ends a youthtocrat because he started a youthtocrat in his very early youth. If Mr. Youpele seeks to be voted for at age 40 and wins, he is a youthtocrat in so far as he doesn’t re-contest at 44. 40-44 is acceptable for youthtocracy because 35 which is the first age for Senator and State Governor sends at 43, for two tenures, and 44 is just one year from 43. So a tenure that ends at 44 is acceptable for youthtocracy. However, if Mr. Youpele is 43, though a youthtocrat for voting at late youth, he is no youthtocrat to be voted for. Because by being voted for he would end first tenure at 47 and if he re-contests he will end all tenures at 51, which is far from youthfulness. Although Youthtocracy considers how the elect begins, the case of he who is 43 is an exception to the doctrine. Youthtocracy does not stop anyone from being voted for. Constitutionally, a man of 50 or even 60 can contest for full tenures like we have always seen; but he is not to be considered a youthtocrat for a kind.

Noted, however, the age used here for this analysis is but that of the office of a senator and a governor. While the office of governor, senate, and house of representatives below incorporate youthtocracy so much, the office of Presidency and Vice presidency tend not to support youthtocracy for two tenure but one, subject however to the restriction that the candidate contest exactly 40 to end at 44 which is the one year graced age after 43.

This is not favourable to the youths at all. In a country like Netherlands, and Norway, 18 years is the minimum years of age for one to contest for any position.[22]In New Zealand, the minimum age for one to be a prime minister is 18 as well.[23]In the United Kingdom 18 is the minimum to be elected for public posts except for Scotland that is 16.[24]Although, it can be wrangled that 18 is not as much encourageable because of dearth of proficiency in most spheres of life cycle, fact is, Nigeria that doesn’t cogitate 18 years of age is no better than those countries that ruminate 18 years of age for leadership. In the Nigerian corporate governance which is closer to societal governance, 18 years of age is the minimum for one to be made a Director in the board.[25]Considering the role of a director in a company with the momentous charge involved, little wonder why societal governance says otherwise. Though in most of these countries where 18 remain the minimum in practice, more often than not, the elderly still maintain positions of leadership the most as compared to the youths. Therefore it should be that even though experience is not to be ruled out which is imperative, and for that, it may be skeptical to allow one with 18 to hold posts like presidency, it is only better that at least in book, 18 years of age would not be a bad idea as it keeps the spirit of youthtocracy alive in Law, and mindful also that for rarity, perhaps an exception in the 18’s may arise. And of course no sane society will decline such benediction. 

How would Youthtocracy reign?

To Be Continued ....!

 Seek if I may be the first to speak in this manner; for I speak in solemn manners
                                                                                                                        EBI ROBERT

[1] Ebi Robert is a graduate of Law of the Niger Delta University. He is an author and Editor. He has written many articles, reviews and poems. He is the Current Acting Director of Peace December Nigeria, Bayelsa State Chapter, and Co-Editor of TheNigeriaLawyer.
[2] John Locke, Two Treatises of Civil Government (1690) edited by W S Carpenter (London/New York 1924) 2.3.19.
[3]See the Effects of Political Enlightenment of the French Revolution, available at Last accessed the 9th day of September, 2017
[4] Bill Bytheway,  Ageism (Buckingham: Open University Press, 1995) 45
[5] ibid
[6] For an extensive discourse on how the elderly can be used to achieve other important items in the society, as could be interpreted from the proverb, see Dr. Vicky Khansandi-Telewa, et al, “What an Old man sees while sitting, A young man cannot see while standing”: Utilizing Senior Citizens to Achieve Peace (International Journal of Research in Social Sciences) June 2013. Vol. 2. No. 2.
[7] Available at Last accessed the 28th August, 2017
[8] ibid
[9] See S.J.S. Cookey, Sir Hugh Clifford as Governor of Nigeria: An Evaluation, (1980) volume 79, Issue 317, African Affairs-Oxford Journals, page 531-547
[10] Felipe Gomez Isa, “11. Human Rights” (Pedro Arrupe Human Rights Institute, Deusto University)- The Emergence of the idea of Human Rights. Available at /
[11] Available at Last accessed 9th September, 2017. See also Frank, Katherine. A Voyage out – The Life of Mary Kingsley. London. Hamish Hamilton, 1987. Print
[12] Some of the Military Head of states ruled as youths. i.e., Yakubu Gowon, Gen Olusegun Obasenjo and Johnson Aguiyi Ironsi were 31, 38 and 42 respectively when they ruled.
[13] Goodluck Jonathan: “History Beckons: We are Indebted to the Youth”, Volume II (Office of the Special Adviser to the President on Research, Documentation and Strategy, 2005) p. 335
[14] From the book An Empty Kingdom: Ebi Robert, An Empty Kingdom, (Lagos: Bulkibon Books, 2015), 
[15] By Sound Judgment, I mean, speaking of the ills at hand. 

[16] That is to say for the youthtocracy discourse
[17] Section 77 (2) of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution as amended; this is the case with most parts of the world, where democracy is practiced.
[18] Section 177 of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution as amended.
[19] Section 131 of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution as amended.
[20] See Section 135 of the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria as Amended for that of the presidency.
[21] The Nigerian Constitution permits a president and Governor to run for two tenures, except for the legislature that is more.
[22] See the Constitution of the Kingdom of the Netherlands 2008.
[23] For more information on the New Zealand Electoral rules, visit the New Zealand Electoral Commission website at Last accessed, the 9th Day of September, 2017
[24] See the official website of the United Kingdom’s Parliament: last accessed the 9th day of September, 2017.
[25] Section 257 of the Company and Allied Matters Act, 1990 CAP C20, LFN

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