In our series of letters from African journalists, editor-in-chief of Nigeria’s Daily Trust newspaper Mannir Dan Ali looks at why a country where more than half the population is under 35 looks set to get another septuagenarian president after next year’s election.
On polling day, the two leading candidates in Nigeria’s presidential election, President Muhammadu Buhari and opposition leader Atiku Abubakar, will have a combined age of 148.
This seems a far cry from the burst of optimism that accompanied the passing of the “Not Too Young To Run” law in parliament in May, which lowered the minimum age to run for the highest office from 35 to 30.
Perusing the list of more than 76 candidates, it is true that there are some who are at the more youthful end of the spectrum, like 46-year-old businessman Fela Durotoye, online news site Sahara Reporters publisher Omowale Sowore and newspaper columnist Tope Fasua, both of whom are 47.
But we all know that come February, it will be a contest between Mr Buhari of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), who is turning 76 in December, and Mr Abubakar, the flag-bearer of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), who will be 72 next month.