As I wear my comradeship ‘attire’ and scan through more than a hundred million Nigerian youths, what I saw wasn’t encouraging.
Nigeria was led by youth in the past, but as the country gets older, so also its leaders. Youth are statistically more than 50% of our population but ruled by their grandparents who still live in the past.
Why are youths of today so reluctant to be led by some people old enough to be their grandparents? The answer is not far-fetched.
Though age and experience matter in leadership, old age has its own predicaments too. This might have contributed to the bad condition we have found ourselves today in this country
Nature of the Nigerian Youth
Nigerian youths are enthusiastic and possess many good qualities for becoming leaders except one. They have the intellectual capability, dexterity, and sagacity, but as obstinate, tenacious, and adept as they are, their thrust to lead is dastardly retarded by their ill and malevolent intentions.
Many of them want to cling to the mantle of leadership not to build a society of our dream, but to build their own personal palaces; to amass wealth; show off and live a luxuriant and flamboyant life, etc. We have practical examples to cite here, but I don’t want to sound too political, after all some may consider it an attack on their political career. Because of this, youth have obviously betrayed the confidence of many Nigerians and don’t have their support anymore.
For the few best youth who refused to tread on the same path as the first category, there’s another dangerous bridge to cross. The existing political system and institutions do not support youths’ ambition to lead.
Political godfatherism is killing youths’ ambition. God-fathers are highly placed individuals who have money and influence; they most a times ‘own’ the political parties which operate on their whims. If one is not extremely loyal and ready to dance to their tune when clinging to power, they will use every means possible to stop that person. In most cases, the godfathers succeed in doing so. Youths who have genuine and pure intentions to cause the needed change are thrown overboard, and their dreams died prematurely.
Characteristics of African Politics
African Politics, especially Nigerian politics is characterized by vote-buying; using money to influence voters during elections, or ‘buying’ delegates during party primaries. This is undeniable as we are all witnesses of how these atrocities keep happening as if they are part of electioneering procedures. The millions one needs to buy form, give to delegate as ‘incentives’, give to voters to convince them that you are a ‘good and generous man’, etc are all too much for youth. It is obvious that the political system, structure, and institutions are set up in such a way that youth hardly passed through the sharp corners and bends of a political tussle to succeed in their quest.
To change the narratives, therefore, youth needs to unite, purify their intentions, and push for the amendment of any structural hindrance. The youths should be grassroots mobilizers and have a clear plan to achieve their ambition through rigorous and well-coordinated actions. If youths are not ready to do these, then they should accept their fate of being ruled by senile septuagenarians and even octogenarians.