Monday, 24 February 2014
Why Nigerian Youths Must Take A Stand In 2015 By Abdulrazaq O Hamzat
It is very crucial at this stage of our existence as a nation to get many things right in government, and one of those crucial aspects of government that should be right is the aspect of youth inclusion in government at all levels. Youth inclusion in government is imperative, as it is inevitable for any nation to prosper without its youths taking key decisions and making significant contributions in its government.
The youths are said to be the backbone of every nation, but what happens when the said backbone of this nation are relegated, neglected, under nourished and denied their rightful duties and roles in shaping the society?
It is crucial for the youths to drum it into the hears of the present leaders of the country, that Government and politics is not about the gathering of orators or wishful thinkers that would impose their ideas on others, but a gathering of the affected people to fashion out a common means of solving the problems and for this reason, I refused to be swayed by those that continue to belittle the role of the youths in shaping the future of Nigeria.
The social media sphere has become the centre for all sort of debate in recent times, especially since the emergence of the newly formed All Progressive Congress (APC) where I have cautioned youths on the need not to jump into the water before realizing it is too cold.
Just like a very good friend, IG Wala noted, the Nigerian youths seemed to be flooded with euphoria on the impression that APC is here to check the only political party (PDP) that made Nigerians happy and later took away the happiness and replace it with anger, corruption and lawlessness.
IG Wala questioned, who do we blame if not the people, especially the youths that easily jump into conclusions and embrace anything coming to us in form of option to the old stuff we have and I add that, is making us unhappy even when the new option portray the tendencies of giving us worst misery?
Wala explained that,’’ I am not saying we have PDP, so we must embrace it. But we need to apply experience and wisdom before embracing even the new APC.’’
‘’Let us look at what they have to offer Nigeria and in what ways, how serious and how realistic.’’ He said.
He further advised that, we must force ourselves to remember the good old days, when the PDP was making waves and every political youth were motivated and happy to join the PDP to effect the unrealized changes Nigerians are craving for, and today, it is the APC, but the truth is that, we have not done enough home work that will serve as a genuine contribution in building the APC or any other platform that will usher in a new Nigeria that we are all struggling to achieve. While we are busy singing APC on the street and social media, let’s use our youthfulness to serve as the engine room where beautiful thoughts are being bred. Let us also have it at the back of our mind that PDP got consumed into politics when they got the power and forgot their responsibilities to the citizens simply because power intoxicates.
In my opinion so far, no indication from the new APC signifies any better things to come, it only indicate a creation of an alternative, not necessarily a positive alternative. Though, some people in the search for an alternative can accept and follow the devil, provided he wears a white garment.
Let me state here once again, the reason why Nigerian youths must take a stand in 2015.
It is a common knowledge that in the calculation and decision making of Nigeria, there is no consideration for the youths what so ever. This explains the reason why the same leaders who had governed the country in the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s and 90’s are still the same governing the country today. But I wonder, if they couldn’t solve the problems of Nigeria then until now, can they do it now? I doubt it, though; we need their experience as guidance, but definitely not them taking sole decision for the country as the leaders. The youths must take its destiny in its own hands.
The All Progressive Congress recently declared its formation which involves some key oppositions in the country, this declaration was made after holding a series of meetings and wide range consultations with various groups and individuals, but in all these meetings and consultations, none involved Nigerian youth who represent over 60% of the voting population, yet the new party is expecting to get the support of these uninvolved youths. This is the peak of insult on the youths and insensitivity on the part of the present leaders of the country.
I must state it here clearly; I have no grudges against any political party, but I have great concern about the way our country is being governed by the recycled failed products called leaders, not just in the ruling PDP, but also in the supposed opposition. Or how else do we explain the fact that a failed product in PDP moves to another party and claims best seller? How does it happen? How can a known corrupt PDP member become the face of progressive in another party we all rallied around in search of better governance when the stolen wealth is still in their custody?
The PDP is an undoubtedly failed party, a party that has a youth leader of 65 years old and have ruled at the centre for over 14 years with nothing to show except corruption, sorrow, misery, anger, hunger, insecurity, high cost of living and bad examples, but are the oppositions any better? I doubt it. What have the oppositions achieved in their little controlled states and National Assembly? Of course, the demolition of the poor out of the society in the name of beautifying the city, increasing tuition fee from N25000 to N250, 000 to force the children of the poor out of institutions to remain backward and uneducated, destruction of the means of livelihood of the poor to create misery and hunger and they hide under the guise of development and creating a mega city, but what is the essence of quality education when the children of the poor cannot attend it? What is the importance of beautifying the city when the people are ugly? How can the city be developed when the inhabitants are underdeveloped?
According to Governor Olusegun Mimiko of Ondo State, ‘’the government must recognise the socio economic imperatives that made the people to build houses even without approval. Speaking on the dualization of roads in Ondo state capital, Mimiko said, WE DIDN’T ASK THE PEOPLE TO BRING PAPERS: we demolished 200 houses, but before we did, we paid adequate compensation to everybody. We didn’t ask for any paper to do so provided we displaced them from their living and business areas. ‘’Not until compensation was paid to all of them, no single house was demolished.’’ He said.
Mimiko added that, ‘’In response to this, there was a day the bulldozer was working and we were driving past in Arakale in akure, and those whose houses were being demolished were shouting Iroko Iroko! We noticed it and I said that was profound, because it was not only about the money: we had series of interface with them, we empathised with them, we had to proffer solutions to the challenge that would be their lot when we pulled down their buildings.’’, but how many opposition did that? All we hear is they were occupying illegal space.
In my opinion, the opposition, especially the ACN and ANPP are as corrupt as the PDP. So, if some Nigerian leaders and elite can open their stinking mouth to ask Nigerians to settle for some ACN, ANPP thieves under the new APC over other PDP thieves, then what is the hope of the many illiterates?
Tijani Gadani while expressing is worries about the APC said, ’’Let me agree, for the sake of argument, that General Muhammed Buhari is honest, corrupt free and even a saint. Then, why will he associate himself with Ahmed Sani Yerima, the man who introduce Political Sharia in Zamfara State as the Governor, but wouldn’t want to be tried under the same sharia for corruption?
Why will Buhari associate himself with Bola Tinubu whom we all know doesn’t share the same idea with him in term of integrity? Someone whom is said to be once tagged as the most corrupt governor in Africa?
The truth must be told, Nigeria cannot get it right under this recycling of old and failed leaders who brought the country to this rotten state, be it with the PDP or the opposition, the earlier we realize this, the better for Nigeria.
While contributing to the discussion, Yemi Odunaike, a strong admirer of General Muhammad Buhari who express disappointment with Buhari and the APC wrote,’’ Buhari before collaboration with ACN and others, I support with all passion.
In his words, ’the very simple question still lingering is, will a Buhari led Federal Government also investigate and prosecute all ACN, ANPP looters who the majority are now the generals allies?’’ or I ask that, can he prevent them from further stealing and drying the federal treasury as they did to the respective states they are controlling?
While still on the matter, I stumble upon an article titled ‘’ Reclaiming Nigeria in 2015: Can the youths go it alone? Written by Abubakar Usman and shared by Mallam Nasir El-rufai
In the article, Usman played down the capacity of the youths to effect change, citing examples of some youth who had served in government like the former speaker of the house, Dimeji Bankole whom he describe as worse than the elders and few others. He also laid emphasis on the economic incapacity of the youths to the actualization of a youth led government etc.
My question to El-rufai who shared the article and added that the youths should listen to the writer and the writer himself who gave his honest opinion is, who are these youths that have served in government and how did they get there? Are they youths that work their way to the position by competence or those who made it as a gift from their parents? Do they have what it takes to represent the youths or did they gain it by being close and loyal to a godfather and he gave them as a favour to extend his interest? If these questions would be answered truthfully, it would be in the negative.
The truth is that, the competent, upright and intelligent youths were never given the chance, those given were people who do the dirty jobs for the godfathers or those who were given as a repayment of debt owed to their parents.
Yes, I mean the youths that find their way in this government are the yes sir boys that are clearly incapable and not worthy. The doors of leadership are usually shut on youths that are really worthy and ready, because the politicians see them as threat to their domination. They see them as people that may likely bring their reign to an end and to continue to justify the incapability of the youths, they use the incompetent youths, though they are aware of their incapacity, but still select them to blackmail the rest of the youths. Instead of blaming themselves for intentionally choosing the wrong youths for their selfish interest, they resort to blackmailing the rest of the youths claiming they are not better.
It is worth stating that I am not a believer in questioning why youths are not given leadership opportunities, but I am a strong advocate for youths to take leadership responsibilities. This is because, only a lazy youth looks up to someone to give him or her leadership opportunities, real youths with distinctive character and leadership zeal for ‘excellence don’t ask for any chance, they create it, they don’t ask for leadership, they work their way to it.
There is no doubt that it is the duty of the elders to prepare the youths for leadership responsibilities, but not in Nigeria, where the same leaders of the 70’s are still struggling for power in 2015. The leaders of yesterday remain the leaders of today and with the look of things if not checked, they would remain the leaders of tomorrow. The youths must look beyond this set of leaders for leadership opportunities; else, they would have to wait till eternity.
Another major trick employed by the elders to continue to deny the youths of their rightly duty and role in government as well as prevent any challenge to the status quo is when they say the youths of Nigeria are not ready or are incompetent. I laugh at such comments because I know for sure that, the youths of any nation cannot be said to be incompetent or incapable, except that the elders and leaders of such nation are failed people. So, if our elders have failed already, even though the youths are said to be incapable, they are still better than the failed elders and there is no point in keeping failed elders in government.
A youth is a young person who has only existed for a short period of time. It could also be said to be a new creature, with virgin reasoning, fresh thinking and new ideas. These youthful qualities are what is needed to make a progressive society, but unfortunately, all these qualities are missing in our government and the absence of which is denying Nigeria the impact of the youthfulness which would have ensured that the right action is taken for the right reasons and at the right time.
So far, virtually all projects outlined by the government for the growth of the nation is counter productive, it lacked the youthfulness that would ensure its proper formulation and realistic implementation. Also, the projects conceived specifically for the youths have proven not effective due to it lacking the youthful passion required to actualize it.
While I was discussing with an elderly man on my way to Abuja about the state of the nation and the need for youth involvement, he said, I just didn’t think it is right for any youth to take the lead. He maintained that, of what benefit is someone who had just existed for a short period of time to the government, when we have people with vast experience handling the affairs of the state?
To answer this question as short as I can, I said to him, youths are capable of seeing the error that is holding the nation down in the old practices, those errors that have been preventing the nation from moving forward but the older people could not see it. The youth would note and attach value to what the older people will ignore knowingly or unknowingly, something that may turn out to be a key to solving the challenges facing the nation.
Youths and children also are the majority in the society, they understand their own needs and aspirations, and they understand the challenges of the modern day youths which are beyond the scope of the elderly people to be able to proffer any meaningful and impacting solution. I pointed out that, seeing the error in the old practice is not with the aim of discrediting the older generation or practices, but to strengthen the work of older generation and improve the system for the betterment of the society. As it seems today, the problems facing the Nigeria are not major problems as such, but some minor problems that were ignored for a long period and eventually became a bigger challenge.
So, given the youth’s leadership opportunities will amount to providing solutions to the challenges facing the majority of the country, identifying the minor challenges on time and proffering the solution which can be better initiated and implemented by the youths to tackle both present and future development.
The youths have the capacity of seeing new things, new possibilities, new opportunities and new path to be explored. They would see the new hope, new dreams, new future as well as bring in a new believe to end all anomaly.
In business, youths have demonstrated across the world that they are capable of bringing a new touch, new dimension and new initiative products that could sell in millions. In science, youths have equally demonstrated their ability to improve on old knowledge and discover new things. It is also the same in every other aspect of life. Why can’t youths take the chance in government?
Since the older people usually concentrate on bigger challenges, like the stability of government and get consumed by it, the youths concentrate on minor but very crucial aspect of government, things that are crucial to the stability of the society. If both the youths and the elderly people should harmonize their respective thought and strong hold in government management, such a combination is surely leading to a rapid progress and development for the country.
As the 2015 election draws nearer, I would urge Nigerian youths to take a stand, and if it must support any political party, it must be based on a concrete plan, consideration and agreement for the betterment and protection of the interest of the youths.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of SaharaReporters