Fela Durotoye: Young, Not Ready

Fela Durotoye: Young, Not Ready

A few months ago, I had this very extensive argument with a friend that the #NotTooYoungToRun movement is almost entirely based on identity politics and of course a tool by the political elite to keep us less stirred; little victories spark major celebrations in my country. Agreed, a thirty-five-year-old should be allowed to contest for president, but shouldn’t the real issue be competence and merit? Shouldn’t candidates of all ages be quizzed on their leadership skills? The Libyan despot Muammar al-Gaddafi entered office at age 29. Age doesn’t guarantee performance, but I understand the sentiment of young people pushing for this, I only hope they understand mine.

During this argument, said friend quickly shut me up with the name Fela Durotoye, citing that the idealistic motivational speaker was both young and competent. He went ahead to allude that in Fela, we have the most competent candidate the country has ever seen.

“The man is Nigeria’s number one leadership and management expert, kamdan John”.

I was calm. Then this happened.

I think the vision that God breathed into my heart was first received on the 23rd November 2004 and God had said to me that by December 31, 2025 that Nigeria will be undoubtedly the world’s most desirable nation to live in and he said go and build me the people that will build the nation. On May 25 2005, God said to me, raise me a generation that is empowered…

This cringe-worthy excerpt from Fela Durotoye’s vision statement is maybe the worst first paragraph a politician in a diverse and religiously multi-faceted society can come up with. In no way am I saying that Fela shouldn’t be open about his faith, but that it should form the anchor for his campaign and aspiration for the country is appalling, especially when you consider that Fela should know better, the man is a Professor at Stanford. I mean, God said to you? You would think he was running for Pope. What if multiple 2019 candidates give us the same “God said to me” line? Whatever your religious leaning is, sincere or feigned, how does this advance your credibility as potential leader of our nation, any nation? Unless your primary aim was to bait unlearned, gullible Christians. In such divisive times, using religion as political leverage is just diabolic and if this is the case, then we don’t know the man at all.

Politicians like Fela, are these our young leaders? Are these the best examples of young competent politicians? There has been a recycling of the same ineffectual leadership since the civil war and we don’t look like we are ready to put a halt to it. How are we going to be taken seriously by the old ruling class like this? How is it that there are over a hundred million Nigerian youths, but somehow we don’t have a say? We are too much in a mess to be at ease. Let’s come alive, the incumbent septuagenarian president who is so clearly out of touch with Nigerians (especially young Nigerians) still has no opposition and the election is barely months away.

Let’s banish “visions from God” as manifestos and come together and listen to people who have realistic visions with policy road plans on how we can achieve the Nigerian Dream.


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  1. Brilliant piece. It shares my stand on the #NOTTOOYOUNGTORUN movement.
    People should understand that this is just demographic profiling to win over people. The Mr integrity/no nonsense gig employed by the present govt is the same as this whole charade. It’s ideological hypnosis.
    Such a brilliant piece, I wish I wrote it. Anyways, we might just do a sequel.
    Big ups God’s wordsmith 👐

    1. @Efosa, a sequel would come.
      You got me at demographic profiling, they are playing with us. We need to question everything

  2. Man, it couldn’t have been said better!! Identity politics is the incubating ground for polarization. We need to start electing leaders based on competency and policies. Enough of these token politicians!

    1. My top 3 political analysts:
      1) Ben Shapiro
      2) Matt Walsh
      3) Emeka Ike
      Emeka, thank you. This comment appeals to the conservative writer in me, you have been a motivation for some time now.

  3. I like Fela Durotoye. But believe me when I say it hurts to admit that using religion as intent for running to be the number one citizen in a country is quite naive. I have suddenly found myself thrown into an empty room with repeated echoes of “he should run for senator first” 🤦🏾‍♂️ It’s starting to look like they were right as this move with his speech, so heavy on the “God said” in nation that is practically secular is pretty much misguided to say the least.

  4. It really is heartbreaking, I mean after months of no substantial action we get to deal with this. God told you, we even agree sef, I’m sure he didn’t tell you that was supposed to be your speech tho for he sure ain’t incompetent 😑

    In a country plagued with recession, terrorist attacks, religious unrest, corruption that no longer bothers to give what can pass as reasonable explanations (🐍 & 🐒) and a host of other afflictions, a learned man aspiring to shoulder this responsibilities stands up and throws around lines of visions, God said and common language (really!!!) and I’m supposed to dance out with my PVC to vote for him!

    Even if God told him, this inability to be excellent in his workings is already setting his administration up for failures, terrible ones. I’ll just end here for I’m deeply pained, let me not even start talking about his speech writers or editors or team of people that let such a colossal mistake come into being.

    1. @Tega, its sad. I agree
      Just when we thought we had found hope, Fela turned to an over-zealous religious stalwart in politics.

      @Osione, heartbreaking I tell you. These people don’t recognise that God is excellent, he would not want you to start a campaign like this

  5. When I first read the “God said to me” speech, my respect for Fela got me unconsciously scouting for any material for his defense. But you see, Fela made a big hole here, the same one the “vote for a young person” gang has been digging for a while now.
    John, the brutal frankness of your works here is top notch, keep it please. Meanwhile, I’m waiting for that sequel.

  6. I’ve always said this #NotTooYoungToRun thing wouldn’t solve all our problems. I get the idea, fresh blood and all, but then again, that’s all it is- an idea. We still have to vote the people in. If they do not have what it takes, the fact that they are remotely related to an idea that we have bought should not automatically qualify them to lead anyone. He’s young and he’s an impressive man, that’s great. But can he lead? Bringing visions from God into this was not the way to go at all and it was very disappointing. We’re not trying to build a church that is blameless and spotless for the second coming. This is politics.

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