Over the years, there have been calls for youth to be able to pertake in politics with the hope that the Nigerian youth will bring the needed change to Nigeria as a nation. At last the voices of the youths was heard when the Senate approved the “not too young to run bill” and which President Muhammadu Buhari later gave his assent. It was seen as a triumph but however there is still much to be done for such dream to become a reality. As there are obstacles which will still prevent the youths from achieving its goal of occupying political positions with the aim of bringing the much needed change Nigeria needs as a country.
First and foremost, all of the political parties in Nigeria don’t have any system in place that will groom the youths on how to run for office and how to be a good leader. This can be achieved but there are so many greedy politicians that don’t want this to happen. This is because as with the rest of the continent, Nigeria politicians have this desire to rule till they die and they are not interested in giving the youths the opportunity to bring new ideas as to how the country will develop. For any youth in Nigeria to be ready to lead, they first need to be groomed within the various political parties. As the so called ‘Giant of Africa’ it will be best if we set the trend and the rest of the continent follow.
Secondly, the youth lack a sense of cohesion, trust and cooperation. Even in our environment, when a group of youths come together to achieve a particular goal, there is always this issue of individualism in decision making which creates splits decisions among the youth. So with this lack of unity and co-operation, it will be very difficult for the youth to challenge the establishment or even change the status quo. Even with the ‘Not too young to run’ legislation, there is still a lot to do as regards what is our vision as youths, how to achieve this vision and the will to achieve it. For the youths to be successful, there should be co-operation, unity and trust. Also, we should try to put our ethnic and religious sentiments aside and fight for our future.
Since the ‘Not too young to run’ was made an Act, there have been calls for establishment of a political party for the youth which is a good idea since main stream political parties do not pick any youth for any political position in Nigeria. However, the issue here is that it is expensive to run a political party, which means the youth will need a group of political elites who will sponsor and support their agenda. This is a big task but nothing is impossible as there are politicians who believe in the potentials of the youth moving this country forward.
Another issue is that you hardly see youths holding any political office in Nigeria, this is evident in the Southern Nigeria but though in Northern Nigeria, efforts have already been made by some states to reserve some political positions in order for the youths to gather valuable leadership experience. Personally I think there should be a legislation to reserve some political positions such as the position of a Ward Councillor and Local Government Chairman. Doing this will give the Nigerian youth the much needed experience of being a good leader and this will prepare the youths for bigger political positions in the future.
Most importantly, the youth should have a central public figure who can represent the youths in positive way, display good character and unite the youths across Nigeria and should be seen as someone the youth can look up to as a source of inspiration and hope for a better Nigeria.
As youths we shouldn’t continue to make the same mistakes our fathers made but rather seek to correct them and we should stop using ourselves as a tool for dubious politicians to achieve their selfish political agenda. We should start seeing ourselves as the solution to our current problems. We should have a united goal and show great character in achieving them. The revolution we seek must come from us by discussing our problems and look for ways to find solutions rather than thinking how to forcefully topple the government. If we want to take over from our current set of leaders then we must be ready to offer something better. We should first channel our energy to use our creative minds to look for solutions to 21st century problems.