2019: The Political Class And The Nigerian Youths

TO think that every aphorism is applied as expressed is synonymous to believing that the lion will not charge at you just because you are a vegetarian. If not, how do we explain this age long and well established maxim ‘’the youths are the leaders of tomorrow’’ but had hardly worked in this part of the earth surface called Nigeria and in Africa as a continent. Currently, with the exception of Joseph Kabila, the president of the Democratic Republic of Congo, who is a little above 43 years of age and as such could be described as relatively youthful, no other African president presently is in the same age range or bracket as they are about or well above fifty years of age. Here in Nigeria, the story is not different, except for those that got to position of authority through undemocratic means in the time past, lt is only the incumbent governor of Kogi State, Alhaji Yahaya Adoza Bello, who is just a little above 43years of age and the immediate past Governor of Lagos State who is now the Federal Minister in charge of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN) who governed Lagos State at a relatively youthful age and a handle of others yet to be identified , others got to power as matured adults with their ages roving around fifty years and above and chances are, that they may remain in one leadership position or the other till they are well above Seventy years of age. A very good case in mind is our very own Nigeria President, Mohammadu Buhari. This very trend had earned Africa a laurel as a continent that produced the oldest serving president in the world in the person of President Robert Mugagbe of Zimbabwe who is a little above ninety three years of age and has earned
Here in Nigeria, “youths are the leaders of tomorrow’’ has become a form of sermon by our leaders that we can describe as a gospel without miracle. The reason for this opinion is understandable; The leaders preach this without taking pragmatic steps to develop or design strategies that will help it see the light of the day. The youths in particular are also beginning to view it as a one sided narrative especially when it is coming from our present crop of leaders. It has become an epigrammatic tales that revolves round a particular plot construed around the electioneering campaign, with the sole aim of achieving electoral victory. In most cases , this particular adage becomes more of a slogan or anthems for the political parties, it last as long as the electioneering period and goes on sabbatical or extinction as soon as the winners emerge and it will remain on sabbatical till the next campaign season and no one not even the youths have expressed concern over this trend employed by our politicians. This has become a political fate and has graduated to a political burden which the
2019: The Political Class And The Nigerian Youths masses has carried right from October, 1960.
But with recent happenings round the world political space and most especially, with the emergence of some young/youthful bloods such as Emmanuel Macron, 39, as the president of France and others into exulted positions in their lands, has suddenly awaken the political and leadership consciousness among Nigerian youths. This heightened agitation has become a very hot topic for national discourse and has taken a new dimension with the 2019 around the corner. The social media has become not just a platform for this debate but willing tools. Youths on their parts are getting unusually busy aligning and realigning politically. Proliferations of politically induced associations are becoming conspicuously visible. The accused seat tight political elders are not ready to let go power or shift political boundaries to accommodate these youths. Instead, they are perfecting their political strategies and tactics that will help them remain in power which includes but not limited to forming new alliances or floating new political parties as we have witnessed most recently. This fresh political activism on the part of the youths is viewed as a right step in the right direction and calls for celebration, even when the youths should be advised to trade with caution. The reason for the celebration of this recent development is not farfetched. Before now, the degree of silence maintained by our youths were alarming and the same time disturbing. The degree of apathy demonstrated by our youths in the time past to seeking political positions made some elderly politician who ought, based on natural factor like age to have gone on political retirement to carry on unchallenged. It recently got to a comical but worrisome stage that some political parties and their gladiators were appointing and anointing men well above sixty years of age as national youths leader of their various groups living us to wonder if being a youth has become a thing of the mind and therefore have nothing to do with age any longer. Some of these political elders recently at different gathering declared that in their views, the current crop of Nigerian youths are not politically matured enough to handle the ever dynamic , ever nascent and ever fragile political positions in Nigeria. The youths were roundly accused of not being any different from the “politically matured‘’ adults. It is publicly believed that both the adults and the youths in politics shares a very common denominator when it corruption and abuse of public office. Above all, the youths on their parts are not speaking in one voice as some have chosen to play the role of spoilers working at cross purpose with their groups thereby making the actualization of the set leadership goal difficult if not impossible.
The above scenario had generated mega watts of questions than answers about the political future and the possibility of them occupying the Nigerian political landscape in the nearest future. Victoria Ibezim-Ohaeri, a Harvard trained Lawyer and doubles as the Executive Director, Spaces for Change, while commenting on this topical issue viewed it in this form; “The inability of the youths to occupy political or leadership positions in the country, be it elective or appointment should be blamed on the nation’s inglorious departure from politics of ideas to money politics or what is currently referred to as the politics of the highest bidder which the youths has no financial muscles to partake in and therefore settled for the easiest option at their disposal which is praise singing or what is referred to as ‘’Otinkpu’’ in Igbo local palace” .On corruption allegation against the youths, the Legal luminary said that the allegation has no basics as corruption knows no age, gender or tribe and is not limited to the youths but cuts across all spectrum. She added that the youths are clueless because they have not been given the opportunity to participate and learn what leadership is all about like the Obasanjo’s and Gowon’s of this world that had that opportunity at their very youthful stage.
To support the critical issues raised by Ohaeri, I have had the unfortunate opportunity of chatting with some youths on this topic, and the outcome of the conversation revealed that they, the youths have been fed with and exposed to fundamentally wrong rituals, tradition and superstition of seeking instant gratification, wealth without work and pleasure without conscience.