As young Nigerians fuss, who is a youngster? – Blueprint Newspapers Limited

Ahead of the 2023 general elections, young Nigerians campaigned for leadership positions. PAUL OKAH speaks to a cross section of Nigerians about the definition of a youth and their chances of the youth seizing power.

Young people should organize themselves, create a political party

When discussing youth participation in politics, it is important to understand the concept and definition of a young person. In the past, we have witnessed situations where 60-year-olds were in a position made for a young person. Nigeria’s National Youth Policy 2019 defined youth as young people between the ages of 18-35. In the same vein, the African Youth Charter and ECOWAS define young people as people between the ages of 15 and 35. Therefore, based on the previous contextual definitions, it is correct to treat young people between the ages of 18 and 35.

Nigeria’s youth population is more than half of the projected national population of over 200 million people, the largest youth population in the world. Unfortunately, despite this huge population, Nigerian youth have not leveraged their demographic strength to win elections, or determine who wins elections or negotiates for nomination positions. This is all the more worrying as they represent more than 60% of registered voters in Nigeria. Political participation mainly starts with joining political parties and many young Nigerians are not registered as members of political parties.

Undoubtedly, the commercialization of politics in Nigeria has left the political selection process to the discretion of power dealers and godfathers. They exercise near absolute control over the mechanisms and processes of political parties. Nonetheless, young people can organize themselves, form a political party, and offer free nomination and office forms to qualified members to run for office.

Besides the commercialization of politics, poverty and youth unemployment prevent them from being fundamentally focused on political participation as actors. In addition, many young people lack adequate social resources for education, health and decent housing. Likewise, many young people are not sufficiently educated to possess the skills that make them employable, and others are regularly transferred from higher education institutions to non-existent labor markets.

The lack of opportunities to support themselves and those who depend on them gives them the opportunity to enjoy short-term benefits instead of participating in political life. This, in turn, provides an opportunity and a basis for the political elite to see young people as political enforcers through violence, purveyors of violence and other nefarious ends.

I encourage young people to use the same zeal and organization displayed at the #EndSARS event to organize change in Nigeria through resilient political engagement. They have the people, skills and resources to mobilize the resources and manpower to bring about the changes they need.

…Dr. Chiwuike Uba, Amaka Chiwuike- Uba Foundation (ACUF)

Young people their own problem

Commonly accepted answers about who a young person is should be a young man under 40, unmarried, free from the burdens of marriage, having the strength to perform certain functions that require physical energy, and a bridge between the old generation and young people. However, the above does not apply to politics as even some people over 40 and 50 claim to be young people and still compete for youth positions.

The biggest problem in Nigeria is that young people do not take an active interest in politics by vying for elective positions. Many of them are content to serve as thugs to politicians for allowances. It’s not supposed to be like this. Young people make up more than 60% of the population. They have the power and voting strength to effect change through the ballot box.

With your PVC as a youth, you can elect the best politicians to represent you in different political positions; that is, if you don’t want to challenge yourself. However, it is disheartening to see that many young people even set up football posts on the road on election day. Many would like to sleep and do other things on election day, but turn to blame politicians when the wrong people are elected to power.

It is not enough to complain and lament the negative developments in the country without making any effort to remedy them. We got to where we are today as a country because of the collective choice we made to elect the wrong people into politics. We said that the PDP government was corrupt and unable to curb insecurity, but where are we now as a country under APC? Has anything improved under this administration? Murders occur daily at different times, with security guards paying the ultimate price.

However, if we continue to complain, without action, nothing will change. The future is up to young people to take over. There is nothing wrong in Nigeria that cannot be fixed when young people decide enough is enough and power must change hands. It is not a question of camping on social networks to insult the government in the name of criticism, but of not knowing the real issues.

Hopefully, in the coming days, we will see more young people buying forms from different political parties to run for different elective positions, even for the presidency. We have been waiting for the leadership of the youth for a long time because the elders seem to be out of ideas and should give way to the youth to take over and ensure a good administration of the country.

…Aïcha Bello, entrepreneur

The old will continue to frustrate the young

There is no acceptable definition of who is a young person, although the United Nations defines young people as people between the ages of 15 and 24, with all United Nations statistics based on this range. The same definition can never be applied in Nigeria as even those in the aforementioned bracket are sometimes still in secondary schools while some schools of thought even claim that a person over 40 is still a youth.

That said, youth involvement in politics is always a concern in Nigeria because power is never given but taken. The competition for young people to take over government from the older generation of politicians did not start today and I cannot see it ending without the older generation of politicians fighting tooth and nail to stay in able. The Nigerian system has caused the generation of politicians to continue to frustrate the youth, especially those interested in political positions.

Young people have been so disenfranchised economically that they are better off as thugs, servants and ‘yes’ to politicians. To begin with, when a child is born into a poor family, he begins to struggle with his parents on how to survive in Nigeria. He attended public schools and faced various teacher strikes. At the university or higher education institution, he is forced to spend more years than necessary as a result of the ASUP or ASUU strikes which always disrupt university activities.

After successfully graduating from school, the supposed youngster is forced to face the job market, where he will be forced to lower his age to fit into job descriptions, starting with NYSC. Therefore, while his friends abroad are already established in life, the average young Nigerian spends his youth trying to find his feet in the country and seeking jobs just to feed himself and his family members. enlarged.

Is this the person who will be interested in politics? The problem is not the youth but the system we find ourselves in in Nigeria. It is so discouraging that young people are perpetually dependent on the decisions made by the older generation. On the other hand, the older generations are perpetually in power and will continue to seek ways to stay in power, to the detriment of the youth.

…Isarel Adebayo, civil servant

Power is gained through active participation

Young people do not have time to take an active interest in politics. The various political parties that dominate the political space will never stand still and watch young people displace them from what they have come to consider their birthright.

Power is achieved through struggle and active participation in politics, not wishful thinking. When I look at the political evolution of the country, I sincerely believe that young people are not ready to assume their role as leaders of tomorrow. A visit to social media will tell you all you need to know as those who are supposed to take over from the older generation are more careful about insulting each other.

For example, daily we read news of politicians claiming to run for different political countries in different states, but how many of them are young people? Out of 100 people, you will only see five young people, but they are still sponsored by the older generation and have no interest even in the election, besides being used against serious suitors.

In addition, the amounts that political parties set for their forms are rather exorbitant and unsuitable for young people. The main opposition party, the PDP, has set its price for the presidential form at 40 million naira. What youngster has 40 million naira to pay for forms alone when there is still a campaign to run and candidates are not even sure of making it to the primaries let alone winning the election.

In a nutshell, we have a long way to go in this country if the young people are truly determined to take power over the older generation. This can be done by redefining strategies, with political parties playing their own role in ensuring forms are affordable for young people. Anything other than that will be a waste of time.

…Monday Okon, teacher

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