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Nigerian youths and onerous task of rescuing the nation from undemocratic politicians

As the world celebrated the 2022 International Youth Day on August 12, the Nigerian youths were busy mobilizing and strategizing to rescue their embattled nation from undemocratic and geriatrics politicians. They have resolved to prove to those who believe that their “Obidient Movement” is only a social media event and urged them to begin to think again because the youths are very much awake and not asleep at the wheel.

By Anthony Isibor

On Friday, August 12, 2022, the Nigerian youths joined millions of their counterparts globally to celebrate the annual International Youth Day, which according to the United Nation, is to, among other things, raise voices against any injustice or discrimination happening in the world with the youth.

And ahead of the 2023 general elections and the increasing profile of the Nigerian youths and their population that can cause a swing in the polls, several organisations and politicians have sent goodwill messages to the youth in commemoration of the international Youth Day with the theme: ‘Intergenerational solidarity: Creating a world for all ages’, to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.                                       

In its message, the Nigerian Copyright Commission, NCC,  acknowledged that the Nigerian youths represent the resilience, ingenuity, creativity and hope for a better Nigeria. “With the recent exploits of athletes like the unstoppable Tobi Amusan at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, the country is again reminded that its strength and most valuable assets are in its youth population,” the NCC said in a statement signed by Vincent  Oyefeso, Director, Public Affairs Department of the Commission.

According to the NCC, since its inception on August 12, 2000, the International Youth Day has served to focus attention on and increase the quality and quantity of opportunities available to the youth to actively participate in society. “Fortunately, Nigerian youths have excelled in every field, particularly in the areas of education, sports, entertainment, innovation and the creative industry. The theme of this year’s celebration: Intergenerational Solidarity: Creating a World for All Ages, draws attention to the need for an all-inclusive action to integrate the old and the young in a nation’s pursuit of the Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs, and national development.

It also points to the need to eliminate traditional barriers so as to allow society benefit from the wisdom of elders while at the same time harnessing the immense potential of its younger population.

“For Nigeria, there is no better time to call on all to arise and serve the country with love, strength and faith, believing that the labour of heroes shall not be in vain, while praying that our youth will not only know the truth but, more importantly, grow in honesty, live just and true, striving always to lofty heights to build a nation where peace and justice shall reign; a nation bound always in freedom, peace and unity.

“The place of Nigerian youths as major players in the copyright ecosystem is immeasurable and more than ever before, the Commission will, in the next few months, pay more attention to the promotion of youth participation in the copyright system for the advancement of their needs in the areas of education, employment, wealth creation and productivity. To this end, appropriate policy and legal frameworks will be developed to encourage youth empowerment, enhanced creativity, and exploitation of their rich talents,” it added.

For the former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, and the presidential candidate of the PDP, the survival of humanity rests largely on the youth and pledged to offer his shoulders for the youth to climb as “leaders of today.

“The theme of this year’s celebration “Youth Engagement for Global Action” gives a critical picture of what the world perceives about the stake of young people globally.

“This global picture, which has been on my mind, informed my decision of 40% youth inclusion in my 2019 presidential campaign; a promise I am committed to keeping for the futuristic benefit of our great nation,” he said.

In the same vein, the former Lagos State governor, Bola Tinubu, the presidential candidate of the APC, shared a video on his official handle, hailing the creativity of the country’s young people in several facets of life. According to Tinubu, the ingenuity of Nigerian youths is why the country’s music “is moving people and making them dance in major venues across the world”. 

Nigeria is blessed with the inexhaustible energies and brilliance of young people. Every day, they keep breaking boundaries and records in almost every human endeavour. The creativity that lives in the heart of the average Nigerian youth shines bright like the sun,” he said.

He reiterated that it is the duty of the government to create an environment that will lead to harness of the country’s youthful talent, noting that their “success might bring pride, joy, and excitement to our people”.

But the Nigerian youths are already looking beyond these routine goodwill messages and pledges as the promises made in the past by Nigerian leaders had never been fulfilled. It will be recalled that in 2019, President Muhammadu Buhari assured the youths of the appointment of youths in his cabinet and the signing of the ‘Not Too Young To Run’ bill into law. Unfortunately, no cabinet minister in the current administer is below 35 years in age, when the new youth policy in Nigeria regard citizens aged 18 to 29 years as youths, while  the African youth charter recognises youth as people between 18 and 35.

And unlike their counterparts in other climes, the Nigerian youths have been excluded from governance, which has been dominated by old politicians, with average age of above 65. They have severally been branded as lazy and unskilled and not matured to hold political offices. Despite enacting and signing into law of the “Not too young to Rule Act by the present APC-led federal government, the Nigerian youths have never been treated so shabbily in more than two decades.

Apart from the high youth unemployment rate, which according to the National Bureau of Statistics was 34.9 percent among young people (15-34 years old) in the second quarter of this year, while the rate of underemployment for the same age group rose to 28.2% from 25.7% in Q3, 2018. The NBS explained that these rates were the highest when compared to other age groupings and that Nigeria’s youth population eligible to work is about 40 million out of which only 14.7 million are fully employed and another 11.2 million are unemployed.

Besides the high unemployment rate and its implications on widespread insecurity in the country, other issues affecting the Nigerian youths include the extra-judicial killings, which have claimed hundreds of the youths, the shut down of federal universities for about seven months and the harassment of youths by the law enforcement agencies, especially the police, which led to the #EndSARS protests across the country that resulted in the killing of   youths, security officers and destruction of vehicles and some public institutions and facilities in 2021.

With these obvious challenges facing the Nigerian youths, they have resolved to take drastic steps to improve their stakes and rescue their country, which has over the last seven years been on the downward slide. They also believe that with the renewed interests of the youths in the electoral process, it will be easy to achieve their goals in 2023. For instance, the records from the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, in the just concluded Continuous Voter Registration exercise showed that youths within the ages of 18-43, and the ages of 35-49 years accounted for 71.4%, and 19.7% of the total new registrants. According to the INEC report at the end of the exercise, a total of 12.29 million registrations had been completed. This means that over 12 million new eligible voters have been added to the country’s voters list which stood at 84 million in 2019.  

In order to achieve their aim of rescuing the nation, the youths have embarked on nationwide mobilisation to effect this positive change by voting out the two leading political parties, the ruling All Progressives Congress and the Peoples Democratic Party, which, according to them, have been responsible for the misrule and poor and ineffective leadership that have stunted economic growth of the country and the worsening security challenges as well as daily killings of Nigerians by bandits and insurgents.

The current movement of the Nigerian youths, which has identified with the aspirations of the presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Petre Obi, has attracted mixed reactions from segments of the Nigerian society. For instance, YIAGA Africa, a civil society organisation and a popular comedian, Chucks D General, said recently that they would jointly mobilise 60 percent of Nigerian youths to vote in the 2023 general elections.

Mr Michael Agada, Senior Research Officer, Yiaga Africa, stated this at a programme by Chucks D General at the Kubwa Orientation Camp of the National Youth Service Corps, NYSC in Abuja.

Agada said that Yiaga Africa was supporting Chucks D General, who is using entertainment to drive the participation of youths in politics ahead of the 2023 polls.

This, he said, was in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme, UNDP.

“We are supporting this programme … What that aims to achieve is that we want to see 60 percent of youths to come out and vote in the 2023 elections.

“Right now, we are talking to the NYSC management because we know that some of them (corps members) are going to be used as presiding officers on election days. Part of the reasons we have low turnout on election days is because people do not have confidence in the electoral process. We want to tell the youth corps members that some of them are going to be used as ad hoc staff and they need to show integrity and be accountable so that the results can count from the polling units,” he said.

Youths have continued to show their readiness to fully participate in the determination of who, and how political leaders emerge come 2023. According to online reports, other factors responsible for the large turn of events include continuous voters education, the signing into law of the amended Federal Electoral Act; which allows for the electronic transmission of electoral results and the understanding that votes can now count. The  youths now believe that they can now have a candidate who is capable of representing their interests and who they can relate with. Known as the ‘Obedients’, the Nigerian youths have continued to express their choice of the Labour Party presidential candidate as their preferred candidate, especially through the obedient movement on social media.

They have always kept vigil on the social media to defend their preferred candidates when the need arises. Hence, they did nor spare Sam Omatseye, a columnist with the Nation newspaper over his offensive article against Peter Obi.

But some Nigerians, who belong to the order where impunity, tribal and religious politics hold sway, have expressed their reservations that the popularity of the Labour Party and its presidential candidate on the social media may not translate to electoral victory in 2023.

Reacting to the popularity of Obi and the Labour Party on the social media, Adams Oshiomole, former Edo state governor, said during an interview on The Morning Show of Arise News that only time would tell “if the Obi-dients are really obedient in the political process of Nigeria”. But Godwin Obaseki, the current Edo State governor, did not share the same opinion as Oshiomole, when raised an alarm earlier in July that the impact of the ‘Obidient’ movement on the polity and its negative effect on the two leading political parties in the country ahead of the 2023 polls.

In her reaction, Aisha Yesufu, a sociopolitical activist in one of her Tweets in June stated that Nigerian youths have the power to decide the winners of the upcoming 2023 presidential election. “My primary assignment at the moment is to ginger, support and encourage the Nigerian Youth.

 “To ensure they stay focused and not bother with those telling them they can’t or their candidate cannot win. They have the power to decide the winners of the 2023 election. They, taking the centre stage is all that matters to me. Nigerian youths can be the game changers; I’ll continue to hype and give them support till the election is done. We need so many people to know they have the power to make the difference and for me that’s everything,” Yesufu said.

Also, Victor Laka, State Southern Zonal Chairman of Peter Obi Candidacy Movement had in June explained that the youths in Nasarawa state would stand behind Obi because of his leadership qualities.

Their determination was expressed in the mammoth of crowd that came out in the One-million-man march on Saturday, August 6, 2022 in support for Obi’s candidacy and to prove that their love for Obi was not just a social media sensation as widely speculated.

Speaking to newsmen in Lafia after the March, the state Chairman of the Party, Alexander Emmanuel, said the One-million-man march was to sensitise and concertize the people of the state on the need to elect credible leaders in the 2023 as well as sending signal to other political parties that claim that Labour Party does not have a structure.

It is also worthy of note that 15 political parties deregistered by INEC under the aegis of Coalition for Good Governance, have also declared their support for Peter Obi. The organisation said that only Obi out of the candidates contesting for the 2023 presidential race can stop Nigeria from disintegrating.

According to a statement by its national chairman, Okey Chikwendu, and Publicity Secretary, Don Anthony Harmattan, the deregistered parties decided after carefully studying each presidential candidate to know the most reliable and credible among them.

The resounding clamor by the youth for obi’s presidency has also gone beyond the shores of Nigeria. In early July this year, a Nigerian Youths Movement Diaspora Organisation, NYMDO, South East Asia Chapter, had called on Nigerians, especially the youths, to support the Labour Party candidate, to achieve the dream of restoring the country’s glory.

NYMDO Coordinator, Kingsley Nwankwo, had noted that Obi “appears to be the best candidate to bring about sustainable development needed to lift Nigeria out of her current pathetic and unfathomable condition”.

Nwankwo, in a statement titled, ‘The sound of 2023 trumpet: Nigerians in Asia back Peter Obi’s presidential ambition’, made available in Ado Ekiti from Malaysia, stated that the socio-economic group had been championing the agitation for good governance in Nigeria and Africa in general. The NYMDO coordinator said that the group settled for Obi because he towered above other presidential candidates in the results of research on them in these areas.

As the Nigerian youths have over the years been dubbed, and rightly so, as the future leaders of the nation, they should largely hold the future of Nigeria in their hands and should not be distracted in their current drive to rescue this nation in 2023.


Sourced From Nigerian Music

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