May 23, 2024

On Saturday, March 10, 2018, I was honoured by an indigenous student leadership, for what was captured as a recognition of my selfless commitment to improved governance and remarkable public service record.

I had tried to turn down the award for two reasons, foremost, I have a conscious awareness that all of us in government, specifically the political elites, have not done enough to deserve such ovation. Secondly, because I am not a fan of the limelight, adulation, eulogy and encomium. I have a strong conviction that leadership is a call to relentless and perhaps unrewarding service,  as a public servant you are just a mere custodian of the will of the people!

We all have to admit that there is a fracture in the polity. More than ever before, there is a dire need to change the subsisting narrative and the Nigerian Youths have a prime responsibility to drive the new narrative. Sadly, The Nigerian Youth demography is stained by intolerance to others, indifference and apathy to electoral process which is akin to leadership selection.

In the Nigerian context, the youth constitute the vast majority of the entire population, which gives us the power to influence numbers. The UN Department for economics and social affairs puts Nigeria’s current population slightly under 200 million. With a projected increase in population by 2025, hence it is likely that we would surpass the 400 million mark to become the 4th most populated country in the world. Alarming isn’t it?

But on the flip side of it, of the 103,316,947 eligible voters in 2017, 63,299,945 of these voters representing about 61 percent of the voters are youths. The demographics present an incontrovertible and valid indicator of the enormous capabilities vested in the Nigerian youth. The power to radically transform Nigeria and imprint our era permanently in the sands of time.

But are the Nigerian Youth positioned as the vanguard? We need to identify our current position, in order to adequately chart a viable course towards attaining a vanguard position in politics and nation building.

We do not need aid and grant in Nigeria, what we need is unity of purpose and tenacity of spirit across the country to meaningfully turn around our abundant natural resources into prosperity for our people. This can be achieved by a deliberate attempt by the government and the people, especially the young minded.

To compare an army group positioned at the forefront of the battle the contemporary Nigerian youth considerably falls short in fitting this description, as most youths are fatalistic and complacent to engage with the process of power, they believe that political change little and staying aloof is more rewarding.

To equally do a quick juxtaposition of the activities and disposition of peers from across the world, it appears Nigerian youths have been unable to organize, and make a move on power, often times because of debility of imagination, and recourse mostly to superstition.

What we need to be positioned in the vanguard?

Spiritual and Ethnic balance as the basis of tolerance and empathy is accepting our collective diversity in belief, thought the system, religious inclination and ethnic leaning as our greatest strength will be a big first step. Social Regeneration is the willingness to embrace others to work towards a nationalist renaissance of shared values for peace and prosperity.

Economic determinism is the charge to rise from dependency at both the micro and macro levels, at the level of self and at the national scale.  Mental emancipation is the necessity to be free of the slavery of the mind brought about by all kinds of fanaticisms – religious and ethnic.

It is imperative that the youth of this land must rise to their historical responsibility and re-define the politics of Nigeria from 2019. We must retire the over recycled crop of old and exhausted men and women from politics!

This we can achieve by networking, organizing at the crucial local and community levels. We must raise money to volunteer, lead and fund campaign of candidates of our own choice and defend the ballots with our lives against any attempt to steal or revise it.

Ultimately, we must grow into a conscious awareness, that none of us has all the answers and no one person can fix our problems alone!

Moshood Bakare is a member of the Kwara State House of Assembly, representing Omupo constituency, and the chairman, House committee on finance and appropriation.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *