The Need for Youth Participation in Politics.
_By Hammed J. Sulaiman_
For donkey’s years, political arenae in Nigeria have been occupied by aged people to the detriment of young people who are mostly restricted to the grassroots and platforms offered by the media. In reality, youths are often used as election consultants, political thugs (for those of us who are blessed with body-fit-for-farm) and social media battalions.
No wonder however that despite all struggles and control by youths during vote cast in elections, nothing is left for them and they end up controlling nothing after politicians win elections, being left to live on streets, wandering on streets with their suffered shoes!
Authoritatively, the Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended made a room for inclusion of youths in politics and governance. Section 40 of the Constitution stated thus: “Every person shall be entitled to assemble freely and associate with other persons, and in particular he may form or belong to any political party, trade union or any other association for the protection of his interests.” It could be seen that this right is of right to peaceful assembly and association.
But in respect of political party, the proviso to the above section stated that the provision of that section shall not derogate from the powers conferred by the Constitution on the Independent National Electoral Commission with respect to political parties to which the said Commission does not accord recognition.
However, a viewpoint of politics in Nigeria will truly reveals that that the participation in politics demands those who are advanced in age but history has it all and shows how lengthy youths have participated in different areas of politics.
M.T. Mbu became a Minister at the age of 25 and Nigeria’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom at the age of 26. Maitama Sule became Oil Minister at the age of 29. Sheu Shagari became a Federal Legislator at the age of 30 and a Minister at the age of 35. Richard Akinjide became a Minister of Education at the age of 32. Audu Ogbeh was a Minister at the age of 35, just few to mention.
The story is not exactly the same in recent times, why? Because those aged people and elite class cannot just vacate the scene for youths/younger generation to come in. Or should I say we didn’t know that we can only hold those aged people accountable when we fully participate in politics? Or that we didn’t know that most of our problems can be buried somewhere amongst us youths by breaking the status quo in getting elected and create the transformation we needed for a change? Or why should those aged people not pave way for ordinary patriotic youths who are willing to contribute immensely to Nation building?
Apparently, the “NotTooYoungToRun” will not at all be practicable, though as a rightful right and a worthy campaign, if youths cannot come together to push it through.
Conclusively and in a nutshell, the cruciality of youths in political participation cannot be over-emphasized, for it is an undeniable fact that youths are more useful and instrumental to national development and democratic advancement in Nigeria, so the needful neediness of the youthful youths is weighty as Honourable (Dr.) Joseph Akinlaja, the honourable member representing Ondo West and Ondo East Federal Constituency in the National Assembly had rightly said that “it is not enough to say that youths must take over, Nigerian youths must be in charge, do the talking as well as the acting”.
Hammed J. Sulaiman.
Poet/Essayist/Writer, a Student of Law from the Most Peaceful University in Nigeria, UDUSOK. He is also an Editor, here at Winsala Muses Ltd.
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