By Abu Mahmud Ahmad
At all levels, power is supposed to transfer to youths. This campaign is supposed to be on a wider range and not only borne via social media or by mere dreams.
It is supposed to be on the political turf and either way by demanding for a ‘Not Too Young to Run,’ ideology.
The youths in the nation should do something about their destiny now. This is the time for them to take advantage of their numerical strength and queue behind a candidate that will make a difference in their lives.
That is one of the ways they can make progressive change in this country. In spite youths in the country are not a minority: they represent more than half of its population, but still are lagging behind in decision-making concerning them.
Even though this is an important area of action for every youth irrespective of religious and tribal background, it is a win-win situation for them, which must be tackled headlong.
The tasks ahead of the country’s youths is for them to be proactive toward making themselves more important in pursuing their common goal by organizing themselves around positive core values, becoming ideological in the sense of nationalism and patriotism in their quest for a generational shift in political leadership of the country.
The emergence of youths in positions of power in the country is not new as in those yester years; its youth took centre stage in its politics, like Nnamdi Azikiwe, Obafemi Awolowo, Ahmadu Bello and Abubakar Tabawa Belewa who were at 40 years of age respectively.
They began active roles as pioneers of the nation’s political leaders. Also even military leaders, like Gen. Ironsi, Gen. Gowon, Gen. Murtala, Gen. Obasanjo, Gen. Buhari and Gen. Babangida were youths when they took over as military Heads of State.
So the present generation of the nation’s youths can change decades-long problems considering their exposure and educational background as they constitute the larger percentage of the voting population.
They should not be denied access to elective offices through age restriction. Therefore, the nation’s youths should not be treated as a mere launch pack by older generation leaders as their interests are not better understood and served by them.
The country’s youths have witnessed the wave of them emerging as leaders across the world where the electorates vote youths to change the older generation in governance.
Most of these leaders are under the age of 40, like President of Chile, Gabriel Boric, who was born in 1986 and got elected in 2022; Assimi Goïta Interim President of Mali (since 2021) was born in 1983; Mahamat Déby, Interim President of Chad, was born 1984; Jacinda Ardern, Prime Minister of New Zealand was born in 1980; Nayib Bukele, President of El Salvador was born in 1981 and Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba, Transitional President of Burkina Faso (since 2022) was born in 1981.
In 2023 elections, the nation’s youths, not only demand for their rights to be recognized, but also push that they must be allowed to take leadership positions as citizens. It is disgusting to see older generation leaders holding tight the rope of power. The current president was once a Head of State from December 31, 1983, to August 27, 1985 and was democratically elected in 2015 till date. President Muhammadu Buhari, born in 1942 and by the time he hands over to next elected president, he would be 81. Considering the ratio of voters’ percentage, literally, youths are the majority and they push older generation to ascend to power.
After all, older generation leaders and co travelers have continued to relegate them to mere political thugs.
After 23 years of democratic rule in the nation, the youths are still facing lack of greater role in decision making affecting the country as a whole in addition to underrepresentation in polity which has constituted a serious democratic deficit, and also undermines the legitimacy of the contemporary democratic ideal. Among the contemporary youths in the country since its return to democracy that was able to break the jinx of older people monopoly to power, is governor of Kogi State.
This has been achieved by Alhaji Yahaya Bello through his doggedness and determinations.
He assumed the mettle of leadership of the state in spite of certain interest within and outside who attempted to deny him the chance of governing the state, because politics there was always going hand in hand with ethnicity, where tribe strengths always played great role on who becomes what.
In addition to his feat, he came to power at the time where the state and the nation faced serious financial difficulties, but he remained resolute in education, health, infrastructure and utilities, job creation and youth empowerment, civil service and pension reforms, agriculture, internal security and human capital development proved worth of celebrations.
In spite of the financial crisis, his administration has invested heavily in the state’s internal security and has demonstrated strong capacity in neutralizing crimes and criminals in there.
Even though, most Nigerians probably do not know this, but the state went from being a place where violent crime was most endemic prior to 2015 to becoming one of the safest in the country till date.
The state’s crime rate has been one of the lowest in the country for years where terrorism, kidnapping and banditry have no safe haven. Definitely, if electorates vote for him as the President, he will not tolerate any kind of crime which has caused serious uncertainty to the nation’s citizens as he believes that crimes are inexcusable to his administration.
Whatever the case, politics is a game of numbers with common efforts by the youths generation, change of leadership is achievable – being youths are in the majority.
In view of this, there is no more excuse from the nation’s youths that older generation hold power tight and are not ready to step down.
If agitation is not matched with action by younger generation, they would remain onlookers as youths, fathers and grandfathers. They would continue to reinvent and resurface at the seat of power.
Therefore, the nation’s youths must make concerted effort to change the narration. By the 2023 general elections, it would be like maintaining the change and changing the change. For the youths of the country, the coming election is simple.
It is a choice between going forward and backward, between the new ways and old ways, between a record of visible achievements and beneficial reforms and empty promises.
Since the choice before youths is about new ways and old ways with visible achievements and beneficial reforms and empty promises, a leading youth presidential aspirant Governor Bello has in-depth understanding of the contemporary problems of the country and his ideas could build solid bridges leading the country into the future with sound economic development.
When he declared his intention to run for President of the country in the 2023 general elections, he tasked the youths to be proactive towards making themselves more significant and pursuing their common goal by organizing themselves around positive core values and becoming ideological in the sense of nationalism and patriotism in their quest for a generational shift in political leadership of the country.
As expected, 2023 election is likely going to be a bit different from the past elections as the electorates have suffered several disappointments from politicians and are daily weighed down by the burden of insecurity and economic hardship, especially in recent times.
The country’s security apparatuses are not on top of the situation because each passing day, citizens are either maimed or killed by armed bandits in manners that could only be described as brazen.
With Bello as president, he would run an administration to restore hope by providing firm guarantees of security, unity and progress to all Nigerians. He would foster cooperation and integration among citizens and make sure that progress is made steadily across all sectors and indicators.
His quest to rule the country is not about self esteem ambition or self-centred, but it is a quest for a greater country.
He would make the country to retake its rightful status in the African and world centre stage.
As the country marches toward 2023 election, there is the feeling that new approaches are needed for today’s problems. More than youth alone, these new crop of leaders offer their respective countries a renewed sense of vitality and excitement.
This country belongs to all of us (youths) – who 50 per cent of the country’s population. No youth, no nation. All what the electorate wants is to have a kind of leader that will bring hope to the nation and its people, while bridging the gaps in its body politics. This is only possible for the country to have a sense of direction with the support of youths and its people.
Bello’s Presidency would clearly pursue a defined strategy on broadening the footprint of new technology in the nation economy with a vision in economy that is open, inclusive, honest, and would foster a situation in which every citizen can maximize his or her potential as wealth creators and change agents.
He is not running for President apologetically, but on a solid record of verifiable achievements in his current assignment as governor of Kogi State, with his proven antecedents in the very areas that Nigerians crave for succour urgently, that is, security, unity and progress.
It is in these lights therefore that there is need for the youths in the country to take their population ratio advantage to effect generational power transfer to themselves considering it has become a global trend and is happening in many countries.
But in this country still older politicians are still very much involved in governing and setting the agenda for the nation.
Ahmad wrote in from Dutse, Jigawa State.