Nigerian Youths: Trying To Pilot Their Destinies Or Waiting To Be Opportunists… By Mu’awiyyah Yusuf Muye
Nigerian youths have been singing youth inclusion in politics like forever, I often wonder, when are we as a collective going to realize nobody will hand over power to us willingly. Atleast, not the way we are expecting it to be handed to us and not anytime soon.
Nigerian Youths ofttimes say, they have been hearing of youths being leaders of tomorrow in Nigeria for decades now, without it looking like it’s going to be a reality anytime soon, what they have failed to also realized is, none of the leaders that got to power in Nigeria at such young ages were handed the mantle of leadership on a platter of gold.
General Yakubu Gowon who was 32, the youngest age for any Nigeria Military or democratically elected president, General Murtala Muhammad who was 37 years old when he assumed power, General Buhari who also became military HOS at a relatively young age of 40, etc they all became leaders of this country through coup d’etat, which was either orchestrated and spearheaded by them or their peers, It has nothing to do whatsoever with anyone of them slumbering around for power to be handed over to them. ofcourse we are in a democratic dispensation now, which makes it metrically more appropriate.
Its a loser’s mentality for a particular set of people to be expecting power or anything for that matter to be handed over to them without them working towards it. It’s only spoilt children that wait for something to be handed to them. And we can’t all have that privilege of getting spoilt, can we?
Nigerian youths need to wake up from the constant hallucination of power being handed over to them.
One of the most exciting part of this APC Government or change era that the Nigerian youths not only briskly partake in but played a colossal part in, is, Atleast, the youth will now have a level playing ground for them to aspire for political offices.
Unlike in the past, where Impunity and prejudice was the order of the day, the youths now have better chances of not getting their rights trampled on, if they contest for an election, better chances of winning and not getting their mandates stolen by the older politicians who might be richer and more influential. Case study is David mark and Daniel onjeh.
Rigging election is now essentially an impervious task, bribing electoral officers doesn’t guarantee winning of elections anymore, and even if it does, you can challenge the results in the court of law and if you have a case, you can actually be certain of getting your mandate back.
The only stumbling block is the Age of eligibility which the older generation succeeded in inserting in the constitution to block our ways.
The youths need to come together to get a youthful lawmaker or even an older lawmaker who might be youth friendly to get the law amended. Putting pressure on the rest to get it passed in the National Assembly won’t be an impossible task.
The youths also need to let go of the mentality that power will be handed to them without them going for it through the right channels.
The Greatest task ahead of Nigerian youths is UNITY.
We have a long and difficile way to go in that facet, because, Some Nigerian youths don’t want to see youths like themselves win or progress.
You will be brought down or Atleast, efforts will be made to bring you down faster than the speed of light.
There are few youths up there that are united, but even they are forming cliques here and there first, while waiting to be fixed before they can take others along, which of course have to start from their own cliques. It’s always about who and who you know these days.
If the older politicians are united no matter their differences, what’s stopping the youths from coming together?.
Youths always get used during elections, then dumped when it’s time to govern.
That’s because the youths always put their eggs in one basket.
You can’t lay claim to what you don’t have.
The only way youths can lay claim to power in Nigeria is by contesting in elections, they don’t even have to win those elections, Only then, they will be taken seriously. Another case study is 40 year old Yahya Bello who has been made the gubernatorial Candidate & Flagbearer of APC after the demise of Prince Abubakar Audu in the already won Kogi Guber election, if he never contested, the opportunity won’t have presented itself.
The older Generation politicians don’t trust us yet, Some of the youths have been used to actualise unthinkable atrocious agendas in the past. They say one yam spoils the rest, so even the good ones are not trusted yet. Can you blame them.. Just like some of the youths don’t trust the politicians, they too don’t trust the youths. They don’t think we are ready to be ministers, Governors, ambassadors and commissioners yet.
A politician will first of all annoint his own child to contest and win election before anointing any other individual, meanwhile when it comes to doing their dirty work, they don’t push their children in the forefront.
If at all, they will annoint any other person other than their immediate family, extended family or loyalists. How many youths have political Godfathers to annoint them? So isn’t it better for the youths to form a supportive coalition to create an avenue to promote their own aspirations?
I don’t know about others, but I don’t want to be in my 70s and still be contesting for elections. That should be our retirement ages. That should be when our children will be out there making things happen while we rest in our retirement homes. May be the polity is not yet ripe for our older politicians and leaders to quit the scene but we can work towards it.
I have never been a fan of agitation to achieve agendas or aims anyways. I like earning things rightfully. Atleast that’s how I was brought up. In Nigeria, it’s not that easy but, with the right atmosphere, it’s achievable. I think it’s cheap for people to want things to be handed to them without them working for it. I don’t like making excuses, there are handicaps making things happen, what’s your excuse?
Excuses are for lazy people.
Even former speaker, Hon. Dimeji Bankole got elected as a speaker at a relatively young age for that office because he was a member of House of Representatives. It won’t have been conceivable if he was just seating at his abode agitating for youths to be included in governments. How many youths have we had in a strategic position in government Since Hon. Bankole left that position? That’s to tell us, we can seize the power, but waiting for it to be given to us will prove a greater task to achieve.
I believe in youths inclusion In Governance but I also believe they should earn it, not by blackmail. Just as the older politicians too should merit their position.
It’s commendable that few governors have had a considerable number of youths in their cabinet. I don’t need to mention names. But again, it’s also a fact that those youths merits those position. They weren’t just given because they are youths but because they are seen to be capable of handling those positions.
For those youths that want to make it happen and work towards their goals, let them be the pilots of their own destinies, for those that want to wait around and be opportunists, let them keep agitating for youths inclusion. Until when the reality hits them hard in the face. The change is here, and even though it hasn’t been honeymoon all the way as expected, we all have been feeling the change in direction in how the affairs of this country is previously piloted. Deny or accept, deep down, it’s the reality. The ball is in our courts.
Mu’awiyyah Yusuf Muye is a Good governance Advocate and tweets at