Opinion

It’s time for Nigerian youths to take power from the ruling elite

youth

According to Webster’s dictionary, a youth is a person between childhood and maturity. The United Nations define youths as those persons between the ages of 15 and 24 while the African Youth Charter defines youths as persons between the ages of 15 and 35. For this particular piece I will go with the African Youth Charter definition.

It’s fascinating to me when I hear people over 35 in Nigeria still label themselves as youths, beyond fascinating. The National Youth Leader of the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) in Nigeria is over 45, APC is supposed to be a party of progressives. The just elected People’s Democratic Party (PDP) National Youth Leader is going to be 40 next year. Our Minister of Youth is over 50 and the majority of our youth groups in Nigeria have members who are over 40 within their association.

Why do people over 35 still want to belong in the youth demographic in Nigeria? Why? It’s time for youth groups in Nigeria to kick out people over 35 from their associations.

Nigerian youths and young professionals between the ages of 18 and 35 don’t even realize the power they possess. This group can single handedly elect the President of Nigeria in every election cycle. The number of Nigerians between the ages of 18 and 35 are over 40 million today. In 2015, only 28 million Nigerians voted in our presidential elections. Nigerian youths and young professionals have to step up their game. Just imagine if young Nigerians were united and organized.

The ruling elite have shown that they will not concede power to young Nigerians willingly, that’s why we still have people in their 40’s and 50’s holding onto youth leadership positions. Majority of the ruling elite are over 55 years old and the population of that demographic is about 13 million, only one third of the 18-35 demographic. Young Nigerians have to get organized and use their numerical strength to take power away from the ruling elite democratically.

I am a staunch supporter of the “Not Too Young To Run” bill that seeks to alter Section 65, 106, 131 and 177 of our constitution to reduce the age qualification for the office of the President from 40 to 30, Governor from 35 to 30, Senate from 35 to 30, House of Representatives from 30 to 25 and State House of Assembly from 30 to 25 but the group pushing for the quick passage of this bill “Youth Initiative for Advocacy, Growth & Advancement (YIAGA)” and all other Nigerian youth groups or young professional groups need to really focus on educating the youths and young professionals on voter registration, the constitution, governance, politics and the elective position that are available to them today in Nigeria. We have an election coming up in 2019, it time for young Nigerians to change the status quo.

Currently, anyone with a sound mind and no criminal record 18 and over can contest to become a Councillor or Local Government Chairperson and anybody with a sound mind and no criminal record 30 and over can contest in a House of Assembly or House of Representative election, most young people don’t know this. Young Nigerians need to be informed, information is power. Any young Nigerian seeking elective office should start at the Local Government level.

Incredible impact can be made at the Local Government tier than any other in Nigeria. Local Government Councils in Nigeria are responsible for economic development, the provision and maintenance of primary, adult and vocational schools, the development of agriculture, the provision and maintenance of health services, the establishment and maintenance of markets, motor parks and public conveniences, the construction and maintenance of roads, streets, street lightings, drains, gardens and parks among others.

Young professionals really need to challenge the current leadership at the Local Government and State level come 2019 because most lack empathy, innovation, mental maturity, foresight and ideas that will improve the lives and living conditions of the people they serve.

Nigerian youths, it’s your go, it’s time to get organized, it’s time to make power act in the manner you desire, it’s time for you to take power away from the ruling elite democratically, you have the numbers. The ruling elite are not more innovative, smarter, technologically driven, more audacious or mentally mature than you, they are not.

Written by Nosa Eweka

Nosa Eweka is an Entrepreneur and a Member of the Benin Royal Family, he can be reached via E-mail at nosaeweka@yahoo.com or through Twitter @nosaeweka.

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Ihesiulo Grace

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