FEATURE ARTICLE

Friday, July 20, 2018
[email protected]
Pikesville, Maryland, USA
NIGERIA'S FUTURE LEADERS: ARE YOUTHS BRACING UP?

y future leaders I refer to Nigerians from day old to the average of 50 Years by which time most Nigerians and indeed everywhere in the world might not realistically be able to double their age. We also are able to refer to this youthful group as those in the prime of their ages and supposedly energetic and dynamic. Today, many of our young Nigerians within this bracket are showing their excellence, capabilities, as they are signaling their willingness and readiness to take over the reigns of leadership in Nigeria. My question, however, is 'are they really serious or ready?' Are they bracing up for the onerous task? The answers to these loaded questions are very complex and multi-facetted. This article will open them up to a few of the 'needful' as they try to navigate through the difficult Nigerian political terrain. Until you get to the terrain head on, you can never know what you have gotten into.

As one looks at the wave of 'carpet crossings' from Party A to Party B and vice versa in Nigeria, one cannot but be sorry for the future of our great nation Nigeria. It is very embarrassing that it does not seem that people move from one party to another, based on any sound ideology or political philosophy. Once any party member has an issue or is in disagreement or caught in corrupt practice, their only recourse is to defect to the party in power, for shelter and needed protection. Many of them are looking for political umbrella to be able to receive favours to evade punishment for corruption, alleged or real. The Nigeria politics is bedeviled with too many political prostitution of all shades and colours. Indeed, many politicians have attained the degree named AGIP - Any Government In Power!

The bottom line in the current political practice in Nigeria is (MONEY and not SERVICE) the Jumbo Salaries, Allowances, Benefits and corruption galore! You don't need serious qualifications in Nigeria to be a Law Maker. A Vulcaniser or a Roadside Mechanic can easily emerge as a politician with lots of money to make his/her polished and well educated neighbour to look like a worthless poor citizen of the same nation. This is just one of the paradoxes of our nation Nigeria. No wonder our Law-Making Chambers at the Federal and State levels have been turned into rowdy fighting Arenas or Napping Joints for those who need a short nap during legislative sessions! Who says that a Legislator cannot sleep and snore during plenary sessions and debates? Whether we like it or not that is what we pay then fat salaries to go and do in our various Legislatures.

If the last paragraph is true, as a fair representation of our Legislature at all levels, we definitely need a new look and new generation to redeem our image and earn us the needed respect as a nation of honour. In recent times, many of our youths have indicated their willingness and readiness to salvage the damning situation for us. If we are going to be faced with same 'business as usual' posture of the past, then Nigeria will be in for another four years of the same old shenanigans. It is interesting to note that there are over a dozen or more of the youths who are indicating the desire to lead Nigeria out of the present political quandary. These include; Fela Durotoye (46), Mathias Tsado (41), Omoyeni Sowore (47), Perry Brimah (45), Thomas Nelson Ikubuese (47), Maryam Laushi (27), Ahmed Buhari (40), Enyinname Nnaemeka Nwosu (40), Charles Udeogananya (46), Eniola Ojajuni (39), Olu James Omosule (48), and Tope Fasua (47). Many other Aspirants are also looking for the opportunity to have a shot at the office of the Presidency, but they are beyond the age bracket below fifty years and have been excluded from this listing on account of their ages. All we can do is to wish all aspirants at different levels the best of luck, whether they are below or above fifty years of age. Only one person can be President at any given time.

Nigerians have been besieged with the rumblings of Youths wanting to take over from the analogue politicians. Why had it been difficult to see them come together to sing in unison? Selfishness, Tribalism, Greed, Corruption, etc. might be responsible for why there had not been any coalescence by the 'Youths' on the issue of presenting a formidable and strong candidate. Could this be one of their strategies? There is need for fusion of the various subgroups to allow a formidable candidate to emerge and challenge the status quo. This kind of fusion will allow different tribal, ethnic and religious sub-groups to come together and convince Nigerians that our youths are indeed de-tribalised and ready for One Nigeria. If at this time, they are not ready or willing to sacrifice and compromise on the emergence of a strong candidate, then the older Nigerians will find it easy to dismiss and rubbish their efforts so far. The precious time expended, the colossal amount of money spent, the emotional drainage trying to sell your image at home and abroad, as potential candidates should not be allowed to go down the drain. Most importantly, the risks on the ugly Nigerian roads, flying from one location in Nigeria and abroad to another, going by boats or Okada to be able to catch up with appointments would have all been in VAIN if you fail on this trial at governance. Youth groups will all need to come up with a strong Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) which will spell out the grounds of coalescence and youth survival in the turbulent political terrain of Nigeria. This is not going to be easy but it is achievable if the will is there. They must coalesce for needed synergy in the next democratic dispensation in Nigeria.

What happened in 2015 in Nigeria was a people's revolution, to have been able to unseat an incumbent government. This is again a youth revolution very much like the 2015 edition. A careful study of that unique strategy devised by the APC then was that they successfully embarked on a serious coalescence campaign and fusion of mega-parties. That fusion did not also lead to a land slide victory. The difference was however, substantial enough to entitle APC to win that election. If the aspiring Digital Youths do not borrow a leaf from that experience, they will be taking a great risk which may set them back for many years. You also have to note that ALL POILITICAL PARTIES have started to field youths as their candidates for many legislative positions. If these new youth groups fail this time around, it means that they need more tutelage from the analogue politicians to better understand the difficult Nigerian political terrain they are about to plunge into.

Time is of essence and it is clear that these youths are already handicapped in terms of the needed infrastructures to give the necessary good fight. They should in fact take advantage of the (current) wrangling within parties to reach out to Nigerians and convince them that they are ready to bring Nigeria out of darkness to greatness, fame and glory like never before. If they want to rely on social media, they may be heading for big surprises with the infrastructural limitations in Nigeria. The networks and power supplies are grossly unreliable. Besides, the prevalent wave of vote buying and stomach infrastructure are there waiting for these youths. They should know by now that money and politics in Nigeria go together like the Siamese twins! Poverty and severe impoverishment are all over the place and anyone who can dangle a few Naira notes wins the race. The recent Ekiti State Governorship election is still very fresh on our minds. It was reported that one Party was giving away N4000.00 while the other gave between N5-7000.00 and more to woo voters. One can imagine how many millions would have been expended in this Vote Buying Enterprise of the existing political parties. Many of the hungry, angry and impoverished masses, may not be easy to convince that they would be mortgaging the future of the next generation, with the stomach-infrastructure carrots being dangled on them. The new 'see and buy' for N10K may just be too tempting for the poor civil servants and our illiterate voters. What can you do? What will you do? The ball is in your court now, brace up!

From the look of things in Nigeria today, our new breed of politicians (the youths) must device unique strategies to be able to combat and counter the current wave of antidemocratic practice and indulgence of the electorates and our shameless politicians. The battles ahead of these youths are many, vicious and complex. Youths will need to coalesce, compromise, sacrifice, be selfless and not greedy if they want to overcome and lead our great nation Nigeria. Only a concerted, collaborative effort from our youths can see them through and the battle is not over until it is over. Governance in a multi-ethnic illiterate society like Nigeria is not a child's play. Youths must get real and face their political ordeals with utmost seriousness. They should stop dissipating energy fighting one another. It is not easy to effect change anywhere in the world, however, with God all things are possible. The sky is your limit once you do not quit, you will win. Let us all join hands in making Nigeria greater. Go Nigerian youths! It is well with you.


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