A chieftain of the People’s Democratic Party in Osun state, Mr. Olaoluwa Onifade has charged Nigerian youths to show more willingness to occupy the nation’s political space.
Onifade said doing this would take the nation to it’s Eldorado and usher tremendous growth to the citizens.
He made this known while delivering a paper entitled: “Youth in Politics: An Appraisal of The Good, The Bad and The Ugly”, during the maiden edition of a roundtable discussion organised by a developmental group, the Centre for Sustained Dialogue (CSD, Nigeria) in Osogbo on Thursday,18th Of April, 2019.
The programme tagged: Dialogue 365 Nigeria – is a Citizen/Public engagement platform of the Centre for Sustained Dialogue (CSD,Nigeria) critically x-rayed the involvement of youth in politics and the challenges they faced in the just concluded 2019 General elections.
Onifade enumerated some ways that Nigerian youths could assume positions of authorities with a view to rebranding the nation and giving it a positive political representation.
“Every time I come across Youth in Politics, I always query if it is the right thing to say as against Youth and Politics. You wonder why I would say that. It is simple, youth is a fleeting period of our time while politics is an encompassing part of our lives. From church to office, market to business, school union and even civil societies, political manoeuvres are usually carried out. And isn’t that what politics is all about? So again, why superimpose what is fleeting over what is permanent? Either ways, our thoughts of today’s discourse shall not be affected by the syntax or word arrangement.
“Just like every aspect of our lives, we cannot have a perfect outlook or system. Even our technological innovations are yet to attain perfection; that is why they keep churning out updates every now and then.
“As a believer in youth led organisations and youth centric societies, the question remains, if we are to be sincere, are the youth ready?
“To deal with the topic properly, find a solution to the anomaly we have digressed from and answer this last question, we must understand that youth and politics are not mutually made for one another.
” It is only in Nigeria that a 50 year old will take the role of a youth leader. This is also common with student bodies where graduates hold on to positions that are meant for the students all because they intend to make it cash spinning rather than working for the real people that the office should represent.
“So, what is the fuss about youth and politics when the youth are yet to set their affairs right in terms of that which concerns them directly within their own defined constituency? Why do we then continue to say that we must retire the current set of leaders we have when the youth have not shown that they are willing to let go of what they have and take over what is ahead of them.
“Again, it must be emphasised that politics is all about perception. It is about what the people think of you and not what you really represent. It is so much about how the people visualise you and what you represent rather what you bring to the table.
And when one’s situation is like this, one cannot but suffer what Nigerian youth suffer in the political arena.
“The #NotTooYoungToRun Bill then took centre stage and moved the discussion away from being accessories to actual players in the political main bowl. This long drawn battle, which many young Nigerians felt didn’t fight for what they think was most important is not even an end in itself. It was and remains just one out of the many battles that we need to win before saying the stage is set for us to take over.
“Through the participation in the 2015 elections, the subsequent passage of the #NotTooYoungToRun bill, advancement in technology, increase in political consciousness, electoral education and cheap mode of information dissemination, the Nigerian youth moved a notch higher in 2019.
“For many, like Saraf’deen Olatunji-Muhammed, Adewumi Adeyemi, Pelumi Olajengbesi, Akin Alabi, Tajudeen Aderinsoye, Rinsola Abiola, Banky W and my humble self to mention a few, the terrain became one that we can tread in. One that is not without its pitfalls, thorns, dangers and life threatening risks. These risks, I believe, everyone I mentioned earlier were willing to take in the battle for the soul of our dear country, Nigeria and our local communities.
“For those that were lucky to pick party nominations, the internal politics had dealt them huge blows before compensating them. Many had to switch platforms to ensure that their dreams didn’t die and many, like me, obeyed party directives.
“It must be emphasised that neither of us, on any divide, wanted anything less than the development of our constituents. But guess what, to a large extent, our constituents are not bothered about our mission.
“The lackadaisical attitude of our people, notwithstanding, does not reduce our desire to see them come out of the political enslavement that we all are but one which reinforces our resolution to help them become truly politically independent.
“While we may want to condemn our people, we must be bold enough to interrogate, why they have treated us in such manner. Else, we would pass unfair judgment on them.
“The 2019 general election was a good build-up for us from the 2015 experience. Young people won elections into legislative offices and I am certain that many more will pick up appointments in government where they will be able to serve the people better.