The idea of Nigerian youths in politics and governance has been advanced by several youths and youth groups in recent times. In 2014, I led a group of young Nigerian professionals under the banner of Rethink Nigeria to present a document on this issue to the then National Conference.
The document made a case for youth inclusion in politics and governance. The argument we made back then, remains the same today. The idea of youth as leaders of tomorrow has reduced a demographic majority to a political minority. What this means is that while the youths control the majority of votes cast during elections, they end up controlling nothing after politicians win elections.
A close look at the history of Nigeria show how much the youth have featured prominently in political leadership and governance. But in recent times, the story is not exactly the same.
Shehu Shagari became a Federal Legislator at the age of 30 and a Minister at the age of 35. M.T. Mbu became a Minister at the age of 25 and Nigeria’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom at the age of 26. Richard Akinjide became Minister of Education at the age of 32. Maitama Sule became Oil Minister at the age of 29. Audu Ogbeh was a Minister at the age of 35. He is still serving today as a minister. And the list goes on.
In contrast, today’s reality is a polity where Nigerian youths are used as election consultants, social media battalions and political thugs. Many have blamed the new trend on a conspiracy of the elite class who just cannot stand the idea of vacating the scene for the younger generation creating a system that makes it impossible for young people to emerge and succeed in politics and governance. While this perspective is not entirely incorrect, there are more than enough premises to validate the argument that Nigerian youths are their biggest problem.
Greed, selfish ambition, lack of capacity and “over-competition” have conspired to weaken the ability of Nigerian youths to collaborate effectively as a united front that advances the well-being of young Nigerians.
Let’s look at some of the challenges that have constrained the Nigerian youth to the fringes of political leadership and governance and why nobody really takes them seriously.
First, selfishness. The idea that you must have everything for yourself alone and others can go to hell is a predominant characteristic of young people today.
Then you have the integrity challenge. Young people cannot expect to be trusted with leadership if they insult politicians in the social media one moment and the next moment approach these same politicians cap in hand.
Third is the mentality of every man for himself; the idea that you must demonize and destroy other youths as long as it guarantees you a spot at the top.
Lack of capacity is another major issue. The urge by youths to arrive quickly at the top without first subjecting themselves to building capacity going through process; mentorship, followership and apprenticeship. Today, many young people want to own a company and lead an organization, even when the capacity for such leadership is lacking.
We must not forget poverty. Many youths are constrained by sheer economic pressure and find themselves ready to do anything for survival.
Competition in place of healthy collaborations has turned many young people into rat race runners who feel compelled to prove a point that they are the best at what and end up not seeing any good in others.
A recently disturbing trend is the rising wave of intolerance to dissenting viewpoints and ideologies. Come to the social media and see what young people are doing to themselves in the name of politics and the superiority contest to establish who holds the best opinion.
The ‘Pull Him Down’ syndrome is a predominant characteristic of today’s youth. If it’s not me in that position, whoever else is there must be disgraced, embarrassed and pulled down.
I remember being labelled with all sorts of names in the social media and the only crime I committed was taking a political appointment to work in the Nigerian Govt. Every ministry where I served as a ministerial aide, much of the attacks I faced came from young people. Ministries that were forgotten suddenly became trending topics on Twitter because Ohimai went there. They completely forgot I was a young person like them and needed their support to succeed. As far as some were concerned, I had joined their oppressors on the other side. Today, many of such critics back then have now lost their voices. Everything is now fine with the Defence, Foreign Affairs, Youth and Sports ministries… Ohimai is no longer there!
Frontline Nigerian blogger Linda Ikeji bought a house and the greatest noise came from young people like her. There was even a time attempts were made to take down her blog.
Audu Maikori was arrested for a Facebook comment he apologized for and some youths in the Nigerian social media wanted him jailed.
I was shocked during my visit to Harvard when I discovered how a contemporary has been going about in international circles parading himself as “Mr Fix Nigeria”. I am mostly known by the name “Mr Fix Nigeria”. It’s the username for all my social media handles. It was a name I earned in 2007 while carrying out my national youth service assignment at the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). So I told the folks at Harvard there is only one “Mr Fix Nigeria” and he’s not the one you have been dealing with.
But on a serious note, these are reflections of what young people do to themselves in the name of competition and survival and these are the complicated symptoms that characterize why young people are failing to organize themselves effectively into a powerful bloc of change makers who can inspire true leadership beyond exploits in business and the creative industries.
Looking at the concept of political participation and the way forward, it is instructive to note that Nigerian youths must wake up and face the reality that their votes on election day gives them enough power as youths. It is a necessary first step but it is more complicated than that.
If you observe critically, you will discover that what most young voters are able to achieve on election day is to validate the options presented to the electorate by political parties. What this means is that the voter is not really the one who wields political power but the party people who decide the candidates we all vote for on election day. The far-reaching implication of this is that when party A and party B give us bad candidates, whichever candidate the majority decides ends up being a bad leader anyway.
Going forward, the key to effective youth participation in politics and governance is to begin to get involved at the political party level. That is where all sort of characters we disdain as leaders first emerge. If we are not involved at the level of the parties where decisions are taken on the candidates presented to the electorate, the youths, despite their demographic majority, are unable to effect real change.
But let me sound a note of warning. The advocacy for more youths in politics and governance does not automatically guarantee good governance. Corollary to the earlier context I provided is the fact that there are young people who are incompetent, dishonest and corrupt. I have been a passionate advocate of youth in politics and governance but I’m always quick to add that they must be young people with character, integrity, a pedigree and a track-record. In Nigeria, we don’t look at track-records anymore. We need to start really looking at people’s track-records, what they have done and where they are coming from.
Packaging and social media followership is the language of today’s generation, but it does not qualify you for leadership. Young people must start asking aspiring leaders, especially fellow youths: what have you done? Show us your resume.
We must also encourage young Nigerians to build capacity first before parading themselves as superstars. There are no short cuts. A good number of our elders may have stumbled on leadership at a very youthful age, but increasingly, today’s reality requires competence and hard work.
All youths cannot go into politics but many of them; the competent ones with character and integrity must get in there. And their fellow Nigerian youths must encourage and not demonise them.
I look forward to the day youthful and youth-friendly people like Toyosi Akerele, Chude Jideonwo, Kola Oyeneyin, Linus Okorie, Fela Durotoye, Hassan Rilwan etc will run for office. Young Nigerians must support them if ever or whenever that time comes. I’m aware my good friend Dayo Isreal is seeking political office in Lagos. As young people, we should support him.
Conclusively, young Nigerians will need to also understand that as youths, we are not in a rat race competition. We can coexist to ‘coopete’ – working together even when we have different targets and aspirations. We all need to start looking at ways we can collaborate as young people across political divides. We must learn from the older generation and how they team up together to advance their interests. Enough of this politics of APC versus PDP that has turned young Nigerians who were once friends into public enemies. This is the only way we can begin to win and change Nigeria together.
Read Also:Father Advises Son To Quit Cultism – What The Son Did Next Will Terrify You
Employment seeking girl steals N108k from her prospective employer
Opportunity comes but once, this young girl believes as she stole N108k from her prospective employer. A female jobseeker has been captured for taking One Hundred and Eight Thousand Naira amid her prospective employee meeting in Delta State.
It was accumulated that the businessperson at the organization had ventured out to get something, leaving the suspect in the workplace. The young lady professedly utilized the chance to take N108k and fled.
Good fortune, be that as it may, ran out on her, days after the fact, while going through the road where the workplace is found. She was expeditiously caught and dragged to her home where the rest of the cash was recovered.
Lagos tenant uses Landlord’s apartment to dupe house appliance vendors of N50 million
Hey peepz, I have a gist tho I don’t know if it’s true or not..But I will say it Sha. I was just walking on the street 2receive fresh air when I saw a couple. d man was telling his wife about an incident. I kukuma slowed down an walked behind them to hear d full gist.
It was more like a scam story. A certain man walked up to a Landlord in our area and requested to rent his apartment for 2 months, with the excuse that he was traveling to Canada and just came to Lagos for the Visa Processing.. They agreed on 150K.
The man paid and took ownership of the apartment.He then went out to Vendors in town and negotiated to buy expensive items on lease. With installment payment plans.. He was said to have collected home appliance worth N50,000,000 from various vendors.
He then took them all to the apartment one by one to build trust. At least once they know he lives there, they can easily come around and pack their stuffs if he defaults, these people didn’t know what would hit them was going to be deadlier than Tsunami.
As agreed with the Landlord, the man packed out even earlier than expected… Left with all the items, of which he had not finished the payment..and the Landlord was so happy to have struck a better deal He immediately rented out the apartment to another family.
One by one, the creditors began to come in and same story was relieved to them.. Some fainted, some threatened hell fire …. To cut the long story short, Baba Ijebu was arrested alongside the new tenant.. You know Naija now… #POLICE no wan hear wuen
They were only saved after a Landlord intervened. He is a legal practitioner and took up the case. But sincerely speaking. I wonder how some people feel at rest knowing fully well their victims would suffer. I guess it all centers on lack of conscience. This is bad #dojon
It was more like a scam story. 🙆 A certain man walked up to a Landlord in our area and requested to rent his apartment for 2 months, with the excuse that he was traveling to Canada 🍁 and just came to Lagos for the Visa Processing.. They agreed on 150K.
— Diary of a Jobless Nigerian Youth (@wenogetjob) May 15, 2018
How a middle-aged man died after withdrawing N100,200 from the bank will shock you
What could have taken the life of a middle-aged man, identified only as Muyibi, who collapsed and died in a commercial cab in the Ojota area of Lagos State.
PUNCH Metro reports that Muyibi boarded the cab after withdrawing money from a United Bank for Africa branch in the Ogudu area. Then the driver had turned to to take his fee from Muyibi when he realized the man had become motionless. After reaching the terminus, a resident told Punch’s correspondent that the driver alighted from the cab to slightly push Muyibi, who was cold.
The resident, who did not want to be identified, said,
“The driver had picked some other passengers along the way, and they had all paid and dropped off at their various bus stops.
“When the victim did not respond when they got to the terminus, the driver parked the cab to rouse him, but he was cold.
The driver raised the alarm, which drew the attention of commuters and passersby to the scene. People checked him and discovered that the man was dead.”
Policemen from the Ogudu division were said to have been alerted to the incident. The driver’s vehicle was impounded just like that, while the man’s body was deposited in a morgue.
A source person at the terminus who spoke with Punch newspaper confirmed the incident, saying:
“It happened around 3pm on Friday. The man went to withdraw some money in UBA. The Ogudu Divisional Police Officer was compassionate; she pitied the cab driver, who had become jittery.
Although the man was not detained, his cab was impounded at the station pending when the deceased’s family would show up,” he added.
Lagos state Police Public Relations Officer, SP Chike Oti, said the police recovered N100,200 from the victim’s bag.
“The man was on his way to Ojota when he collapsed and died. We recovered the sum of N100,200 from his bag.
He also had a phone, which had a new SIM card. There is no contact on the phone and nobody has called him. We have a lead as to where he could be living.
His body has been deposited in a morgue for autopsy.”
Entertainment6 days ago
You won’t believe this hilarious Celebrity fashion challenge
Uncategorized2 years ago
End of the World! – See what a young girl posted to celebrate her boyfriends birthday
Entertainment4 days ago
Reactions to DJ Cuppy’s latest music, Charged Up!!!
News3 days ago
Graduated from Ransome Kuti 30 years ago and their reunion is epic
Politics2 days ago
Buhari’s WAEC Cert – US Army War College said they don’t have it
Social Media5 days ago
#Bet9jaNYSCcup – All the photos from Bet9ja NYSC CUP
Politics4 days ago
Reno Omokri dares El-rufai to deny sending him an email calling Southern women ‘whores’
News2 days ago
Nigerian Army saves Boko Haram Captives, Burns Boko Haram food too