By Prince David Adetula
The 2015 General Elections in Nigeria is almost here and one incontestable fact is that we will be having new set of leaders and extension of the administration of some of the present leaders at various levels of government. The obvious continued sidelining of Nigerian youths from being at the helms of affair may largely continue if we do not take actions as concerned youths. Much more beyond street protests and social network activism, I strongly believe a Nigerian youth has more to offer in government leadership if given the opportunity.
How about Youth? I define Youth as that transcendental period of life from being a child to an adult. For the sake of this topic, I crave your indulgence to consider agile and competent Nigerians within the age bracket of 18-35 years old as youths. Without sole consideration of the current political structures in many Local, State and Federal governments, the youths over the years have not risen to obvious height where their impact can be strongly felt in leadership.
Demographically, the population of Nigerian youths constitute the active majority which is the needed number in any standard setting to decide what goes on in the nation. Since some schools of thought will say Politics is a game of number which I quite agree with to a very large extent, how then is it that the political representation Nigerian youths at echelon positions is near nothing?
Some factors have been responsible for this ranging from poor credible youth representation, illiteracy and ignorance to unfavourable government policies. The blame for this cannot only be accredited to external forces as youths themselves do not help matter. It is quite disheartening to know that the youths many at times find it very excruciating to have a clear-cut definition of what they represent and who they are, let alone them gaining the deserved recognition in the socio-economic and political world.
Many of the old cabals and leaders hide under the leaking umbrella that has an inscription: ''the nowadays youths in Nigeria will be worse than the old men and women who are in power today and they will even perform more badly if given the slightest chance.'' Yes, they may be right to an extent after all, there are several indications to their claim but I will want to agree with the words of Dr. (Ms) Evelyn Ndali Oputu OON during the 40th Convocation Lecture delivery at Obafemi Awolowo University that Nigerians youths are not entirely what they are popularly said to be. Our youths are only greedy and selfish because of the non-suitable and non-working environment they find themselves. Give them the right conditions and see the beauty of a Nigerian Youth! I have observed discussions and intellectual contributions of our youths on social platforms concerning crucial national issues and I cannot but say, we still have more than enough capable youths who can turn things around and help us fulfill the promise in our land.
Our heroes and heroines have repeatedly proved this in time past that tenacious and sagacious leadership translating to good governance and productive drive is not proportional to age. If the likes of Yakubu Gowon and Shehu Shagari could lead this same nation well as the Head of State and President respectively during their youthful days, I strongly want to conclude we can still do it and even in a very better way!
1) Aggressive sensitization of Nigerian youths to take their rightful place in today's governance. The era of “Leaders of Tomorrow” should be over, we are needed in today’s government to make things happen.
2) There is an urgent need for a clear representation of the youths at various spheres. Unity amongst youths at various levels is inevitable to achieve this. The group umbrella of Nigerian youths can eventually metamorphose into a full-fledged political party in no time.
3) Campaign for Youth inclusion in governance. The few youths privileged to be somewhere influential in the system need to help this project. We need to state in one voice a substantial percentage of Youth involvement in governance.
4) There is a need for the youths to demonstrate high level of competence and credibility even as things stand. We can create viable and workable model of governance experimented via leadership roles in our various capacities outside the targeted spot.
5) The youths need to work and support political figures that have youth friendly programmes and those that work/ready to work with Nigerian youths.
Remember, if you are not part of the solution, you are certainly part of the problem. Things need to change!
Photo Credit: Cruise Nigeria