I am elated to see so many young bold Nigerians declaring to run for elective offices of the President and Gubernatorial Offices. I can mention a few; Tope Fasua, Fela Durotoye, Daniel Young, Yele Sowore and Kingsley Muoghalu. There are more. Yul Edochie again.
I’m excited! Very excited that the young people have come out boldly the say
“Enough is Enough. How come France can have Emmanuel Macron, the Americans had Barrack Obama, Sebastian Kurz is the Chancellor of Austria, Kim Joung-un is of North Korea, Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, Emir of Qatar and Jacinda Ardern Prime Minister of New Zealand, just to mention a few.
This is because we have seen a few examples of States in Nigeria led by young people who excelled, such as the former Governor of Cross River State, Mr. Donald Duke, former Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Obong Godswill Akpabio, current Governors of Ekiti, Rivers, Akwa Ibom and Lagos States are all excelling because they are youthful, enlightened, they have the drive, vision and it is trendy in this 21st century to have articulate leaders who can have good bilateral trade relations with third party nations and strike good deals for their countries.
Just so that the enthusiasm of the young people does not get dampened and they get frustrated and dissipate energy if they do not have their say or way come the 2019 elections, the aspiring young people need to all come together in a forum by way of strategy sessions to brain storm and to have a common front or forum to work with. In the absence of this, the young people may end up splitting the votes and sharing it to the young aspirants and they will all just have a name tag of “Presidential Aspirant” after the deed has been done and the power remains repository in the hands of those they aimed at trying to wrestle it from, whether or not the “Not Too Young To Run” Bill\ Act is in place or not.
What’s my point? Imagine all these young aspirants pitching their tents against each other in the 2019 election from various camps and political parties. Even though the youth/ young people are over 70% of the population, their votes will be split to all the aspirants, while the incumbent would just stroll into victory because their votes would not be split in any form amongst the young people.
I imagine this isn’t the intention of the young aspirants, but this is what their solo efforts and runs indicate. There’s just 8 months to February 2018. I watched “Seriously Speaking” on sunday and one of the aspirants was canvassing an argument that the platform didn’t matter. That Nigerians should take it or leave it in the area of new dawn and new leadership. I sensed a problem there immediately.
Let me give an example from the 2015 Presidential Elections. APGA didn’t have any Presidential Candidate as they endorsed, I think it was APC. In spite of the sensitization that their supporters should vote APC for President, over 20% of the votes were nullified because the people simply went to the polls and voted their party APGA! You have to deal with it! So how much time do these candidates have to create awareness for the electorates to discern and know other parties other than APC and PDD or APGA?
If these issues are not factored in, the young people may just have had good tries and efforts and receive a pat on the back/shoulder as atta boy! And they go back to their professional callings. I heard Olisa Agbakoba SAN once say that if the enabling environment and platform and the stage is set he can run. In other wards if APC or PDP adopt him as a consensus candidate and the Nigerian people support him, he can do a better job. We are not that advanced yet. The young people need to infiltrate the ranks from the Counsellor to LG Chairman, Ward Levels and all the way up!. Become card carrying members of the ruling parties. Attend meetings and make contributions. Disrupt the status quo and become a force to be reckoned with. Imagine if the young aspirants contend and contest for primaries in these parties with the over 70% youth supporting them.
The alternative is a have a collation of young people to form a political party and all the young aspirants come together and agree of designations/ offices to run for. So instead of having 5-6 young people running to be president of different platforms the coalition should agree on one person who can sweep across the entire nation. The other aspirants can run for other offices still using thr coalition platform. This way the 70% youth population know their candidates and who to vote for.
The time for this is now, if meaning must be made of these lovely and bold moves by our young people.