Tuesday

OPINION: How the youths can take over Leadership in Nigeria - Adelaja Adeoye

I was carefully xraying the political climes in Nigeria since the advent of Democracy, I intentionally omitted the pre 1999 for obvious reasons. We are all aware that it has always been the same cabals since the independence and the  military juntas.

Nigeria is endowed with young talented people who are doing great in their various fields, name it, engineering, Science, Arts, education, Trading, Agriculture,  entertainment, fashion, banking, Entrepreneurship, e- commerce, divinity e.t.c except politics. I said except politics and I mean it, most of the few young people who are on the corridors of powers are certainly not in powers because they don't even know what goes on in there, many of them are not too different from being house Boys and Girls. The old men will not allow or listen to them but a command, obey relationship and nothing more.

The argument has always been that, young people are not matured nor experienced enough to handle a complex country as Nigeria, you know, this sort of assumption is a calculated attempt to blackmail the young people into accepting that they are incapable by those who gained powers at their very young age but never plan to relinquish or quit the stage for others to come in, they rather prefer to fill in their own children and relatives.

Nigerian youths are brilliant in all aspect of life, they are resourceful, genuinely skillful and can handle any task given to them, but here, the political dealers are thinking otherwise, they see youths as mere objects of voting, instruments and the roles the old people have confined these young people to are to continue to use them as political thugs, errands boys and girls in the names of Personal Assistants, Senior Special Assistant on this and that.

Looking at what is obtainable in other country like the US, UK, Canada, other advanced country and even some African countries, you will be hearing that a boy or a girl of 21 years is a member of parliament, but in Nigeria, the old politicians don't want the young people to near the real political leadership, they have invented and set all manners of barriers to stop them from being competitors.

It is only in Nigeria you are eligible to vote when you are 18 years but you cannot aspire to contest for leadership unless you are 30 or 35 years old, even at 30 or 35 there are offices you cannot aspire for, is this not ridiculous? In the same Nigeria, we have seen toddlers, children become kings, Ezes, Emirs and took over traditional leadership to lead a lot of people. Why is Politics so different, I am asking.

If that is the case, the same constitution which was deviously crafted to stop the young people from aspiring for leadership should also say that,  eligibility to vote is when a person turns to 30 or 35 years.

To my knowledge, the old politicians who are all same and friends irrespective of which political party they belong do not only use age as barrier to prevent our young people from aspiring for leadership, they invented all kinds of tactics such as ethnicity divide, Religious divide,  political violence, Money politics, rigging, diabolical means e.t.c which ordinarily will scare  and put fears in our young people who have not muster enough courage to toe their line of do or die politics, I am not encouraging any young person to take after them please.

The same old politicians the young people wants to kill themselves for either in APC or the PDP in Nigeria are sensible enough and have started aligning, horse trading and forming coalitions to forge a common front ahead of 2019 just like they did in the past elections, can't the Nigerian youths also adopt this aged long strategy to unite to get powers, how long will the youths continue to be pawns in the hands of these political dealers?

To the old politicians, most of them especially, it is about power grabbing and not a venture or quest to transform the country, they are aware that the more transformation and education to the mind and soul of Nigerians the less the power for them but the youths are thinking otherwise, the youths wants to make their marks known, they want to make names that will last for decades through serious development and transformation of the country.

The old politicians have now devised a new method of division, they have resorted into shopping for young people who are influential on new media, fill their pockets with some cash, gifts, foreign education/trips or positions so that they can serve as their mouthpiece to spread falsehood and propaganda on social media, in doing this for them, other young people will naturally attack them to repel their falsehood, then the fight, emotional distress and division amongst the youths goes on and on. In all, its a calculated attempt to divert the attentions of the young people from being their competitors for leadership.

To an average young person who wishes to aspire for political office, the first thing your friend and family will ask you is that "hope say you don cook yourself". This is very sad and ridiculous because that has been the foundation laid by the old crooks to continue to remain and perpetuate themselves in leadership.

It is in Nigeria you'll hear that two people are contesting, the next person develop strange illness and die abruptly, all kinds of scary things happens, just to discourage young and other professionals who can be their competitors.

Please, don't get me wrong that I am too youths centric, no, that is not the case, the youths of today will someday become old, but the old Nigerian politicians have not laid a good foundation that will allow a heathy competition which will benefit Nigerians, if they allow good competition irrespective of age, we can be rest assured that our best brains will start emerging and having their places on the leadership front rows.

In spite of all these challenges, like the popular saying in Yoruba " Agbajo owo Lafi nso Aya" translated into "unity is the key to freedom" The young people of Nigeria can for the first time come together to forge a common front, the youths will benefit more when they come together.

Let's look at it this way, if the majority of youths which constitutes about 78% of active electorates and voters in Nigeria decided to queue under one umbrella with serious ground work by taking ownership, shunning the old people who will ordinarily use them as political thugs to snatch ballot boxes, or for rigging elections, they will be moving closer to powers.

Young people can change Nigeria easily in my own opinion because of their prowesses and  power of innovations, they are in tunes with what is happening in  and around our world. Nigeria has remained the same for long because they prefer to keep electing uninspiring, non innovative leaders that lacks the new ideas that can take the country out of poverty and economy doldrums but only parades big names and wealth and are of the old ideas, many young people flock with them because of the little crumbs but the real change Nigeria needs lies in the hands of the youths. 

If the Nigerian youths can put aside all their differences for the first time and form a majority power bloc, a new and prosperous Nigeria can spring up, a Nigeria where innovative ways of acquiring education, healthcare, Agriculture, polity, policy, politics and wealth for for all can be made possible.

The youths should not just come together for coming together sake but choose a think tank that will be responsible for drawing up policies, programmes, development map, campaign manifestos, charters and how to scale all the barriers the old men have set for them, the Nigerians youths should as a matter of fact convoke a National Youth Conference where the movement can start and send a big signal to the whole world that the Nigerians youths have resolved to come together to take the future now.

I sincerely hope that the youths will seize the 2019 elections to make a remarkable difference since the invention of our democracy.

Adelaja Adeoye is a blogger and Socio Political commentator who writes from Lagos Nigeria. He tweets via @AdelajaAdeoye.

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