I am happy to be young at this time in the history of our dear country, Nigeria. The youth seem to be saying enough is enough as to jettison being used as pawns in the political chess game. They are fighting for a seat at the table instead. The #NotTooYoungToRun bill has been endorsed by 24 states assemblies. Younger people are coming out to run for various offices across Nigeria. A number of them ran for elective offices in 2015. More would definitely run in 2019. We have seen younger Nigerians throw in their hats to run for the highly revered Presidential seat in Nigeria against 2019, yes, that's the audacity I am talking about. I counted about 22 of them last week and I heard they are more but Fela Durotoye, Adamu Garba and the publisher of Sahara Reporters, Omoyele Sowore who joined the race barely three weeks ago, seems the most popular people in the pack. Is not this a good time indeed? 

However, reading “The Long Walk To 2019” an article written by the Simon Kolawole, the publisher and founder of TheCable Online Newspaper, it confirmed my long held view that the younger generation might not be too young to run but they sure are too naive to harmonize.

Let me digress a little, I always enjoy reading SK’s opinion because he not only present his opinions in the most lucid and noncontroversial way, he also enriches same with a good dose of history. For people who were not born during the military era or who were too young to understand the politics of our early democracy or people like myself who are late bloomers in political discourse, SK, with his articles, helps you connect with the events of the past so that you can appreciate and better understand current happenings. "Long Walk To 2019" was rich in history. It established the fact that the only reason All Progressives Congress (APC) was able to unseat now fragmented PDP was because the opposition came together. He also validly opined that what happened in 2015 could not happen during President Olusegun Obasanjo’s reign in 2003 because the opposition could not unite. Obasanjo, the Ebora of Owu himself, bought over the oppositions so much that even when the people became tired of him, they could simply not unseat him. The Only visible opposition at the time, Alliance for Democracy (AD), was a regional party hence could not stand the formidable front and structure Obasanjo had built in PDP. That changed in 2015 when the opposition harmonized and with the resolution of the people to change Goodluck Jonathan, it was a walk in the park for APC. 

This simply confirmed what I have been saying to friends in my little circle. The youth need a single voice to stand a chance of having an "Emmanuel Macron" moment in 2019.  The younger people aiming for presidency really do not stand a chance on their own except there is a deliberate coalition able to cast aside all forms of insecurities and doubt. And my reason is not because they showed interest too close to the election as many have opined. A lot can change in 24 hours with the right strategy and support, in fact, the oldies have not declared their interests openly, they are strategizing and mobilizing their war chest, they are conditioned to believe that we are only waiting for bread on election day. They will be shocked, but that's only if we unite. They are not debating or discussing ideas, only the young aspirants are meeting and greeting people, having town hall meetings (something I personally find inspiring). Damilola Banjo

And here I'd lack to dabble into the "experience" theory, I hear that a lot. "Oh, they lack experience", I beg to differ, It is not because they lack experience, it because we don't seem to get the meaning of experience, Ask yourself, what has the country benefited from the experienced leaders except ineptitude, cluelessness, clannishness and complete incompetence? However, I think the young aspirants do not stand a chance because they are too naive to know that except they come together and unite as one they do not stand a chance in 2019. 

If they go to the poll individually, they sure would come back with terrible JAMB scores like the "blackberry party" did in 2015. How will Adamu Garba convince thousands of Chukwudumem Kalu who want nothing but Biafra to vote for him? How will Fela Durotoye get the votes in the grassroots, where the majority of the voting population are, when those who know him are ‘elites’. Who knows  Kingsley Moghalu in Kanlajali village in Sokoto state? I am impressed with the number of people Sowore has got talking in less than a month that he made known his ambition to run. Some of the prominent online newspapers are generating buzz around him, either positive or negative. Sadly, we already know that those who vote in Nigeria don’t have the luxury of social media. Iya Bose is too busy selling yam to care about who is trending on Twitter neither is Kabiru aka "Mighty Body" engaging in any debate on Facebook.

Again, I agree with egbon Kolawole that President Muhammadu Buhari has lost the goodwill he enjoyed two years ago. Some people even believe he will not seek re-election, contrary to his body language. The opposition party is also in disarray. I don’t think PDP has a known candidate yet. Atiku is still romancing SDP for a ticket. This is the best time for the youth to come together and take back Nigeria if only they will see beyond their naivety. 

Imagine if all these younger aspirants come together, harmonize their resources and support, there would be no stopping them. Not APC, not PDP, and definitely not the 1% moneybags who would be strong enough to push aside 50 million youths.

Unfortunately, these people will not only have to contend with the money bags in the bigger parties, they will also have to compete amongst themselves. The support that could come together to secure collective success for us all would be divided along Sowore2019, TeamFD, Garba for president, etc. etc...

I am for Omoyele Sowore. I will rather ‘throw away’ my vote than vote APC, PDP or anyone from the old bloc. Also, I believe in Sowore and I think Nigeria needs a radical person like him at this point of our national development. But the realist in me knows it would be a tough call if he had to battle the thieving political class who already hates his gut and also struggle for the attention of the youth who are divided along different loyalties. I wish I could call all these people to their senses, force them into a room like brothers and sisters, and have them come up with the real coalition of vision driven youth. Unfortunately, I do not have that clout, at least, not yet! I can only hope that somehow, they will realize the need for them to harmonize, organize and stop the divisive self-inflicted agony. 

Damilola Banjo

I am on twitter @realBanjo

[email protected]

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