Opinion: Youth Participation in Politics and Thuggery

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Over a decades of Nigeria’s democratic dispensation, it is almost unperceived or unheard of; that someone a bit below a septuagenarian is hardly entrusted with an important public service position or political leadership mantle.
The arguments concerning the need to have Nigerian youths as Leaders in modern government seem to be endless. After all, as the cliche posits, we are the leaders of today, not tomorrow, because we have waited for a long time, and this ‘tomorrow’ still remains elusive. But, if the recent events of the past years are any indication, the youths will have to wait because the present dispensation of leaders are yet to get tired of Governing because we are still operating a re-cycled system of governance
Well, this write-up is not intended through the lens of any political divide. It is about the geographical space of Kogi State and Nigeria at large. It is about the Nigerian youths who are busy discussing Football clubs at all the time, while our Leaders continue to sing the same rhythms (songs)in in a different tune. It is about Nigerian youths who are busy with all sorts of things that has no ideological cum economical value to an extent that they have lost political consciousness. We have given up on ourselves and on our country thinking that this is not our business. Anyway, political participation is not a must but remember that whatever you are doing today, you are still under politician and can equally be influenced by politics.
We must refresh our brains and always remember that Government is everyone’s business. A great philosopher named Aristotle in the time past affirmed that “man is by nature a Political Animal, that is, politically inclined” . Most of we the youths are apolitical. Yet, we crave for change. Where will the change come from? Certainly not in our sitting rooms! We’re not Camel or Horses. We must not allow our Leaders to continue to ride on our backs. They do not really care about us. To them, we are just pawns to be used for their mind games thus, we’re always useful during election years.
Juxtaposing comparatively past political events will show you the level of disconnection between the Government and the “Youths”. This trend, if allowed to continue, will see many of us the youths in the sidelines of political Governance for a very long time, while most of  our Ministers will be collecting both their pensions and allowances as former statesmen, talk about one eating his cake and still having it. In a country with abject unemployment, this is the height of selfishness, insensitivity and wickedness from our Leaders down from the nineteen hundreds to this moment.
There’s this old adage  meaning ” an elder cannot be in the marketplace and watch the head of the child go down.” hence, not only have our Leaders allowed the head of the child to go down, they have also trampled on that head. They have refused to fund youth projects, education, sponsorship etc. They send their families Abroad. They refuse to make our roads motorable while they move around in exotic bulletproof cars etc. They make sure death catches up with us in our prime. It is usually the child who buries the elder, but they have turned it the other way round.
As a result of this negligence, our society is now littered with high rates of Unemployment, Kidnapping,  Hunger, Prostitution, Armed robbery not to even talk about the recent practice of gambling.
As if our woes are not enough, some party faithful youths decide to sell their blue ribbon just because they have been offered messengering dumplings. Enough is enough!
The Youths must begin to learn to show dignity of character and purpose. We must tell our Leaders what we expect from them, instead of carrying placards and singing praises with the hope of getting  of
Money for peanuts, instead of selling our conscience. At the end of the day, we benefit nothing from our ‘foolishness’.
We must begin to take ourselves seriously if ever we want our Leaders to respect us. We understand education in this Country because we went to schools here, so we know the challenges the sector faces.
But will the Government be reasonable with us? No. They still prefer to have someone who went to Oxford or Harvard University, instead of improving the educational sector, This is hypocrisy.
Unfortunately, even political party here in Nigeria makes no serious efforts to grant the youths any prominence. You see some of the youths making bleak arguments on social media and address themselves with political divide they belong.
Even the readiness of youths in handling responsibilities that comes with leadership in the public sector have been called to question, most prominently by some elders, who always posited that the young people of this generation are neither ready nor capable of handling important Government positions. Although, most people attributed the reason to the leadership failures,  as exhibited by some of the youths who saddled with leadership responsibilities but they have to realize that leadership is to do with the mind and as such, you can’t because of a crime committed by one man punish another who didn’t commit any. That is injustice!
Before the emergence of New Media, young people where restricted to positions like special adviser on entertainment, tourism and youth affairs. But since the advent of these new forms of media, young people have been relegated to social media propagandists masquerading as Special advisers.
This generation have effectively turned itself to what I coined a ‘NewMediaGeneration’. We campaign for the old and recycled men while secretly hoping that when they win they will be magnanimous enough to “give” us some scrums from the table.
In conclusion, as long as we continue to abstain from politics we will remain well wishers and beggars of appointments, but if we participate and contest elective positions we will be a step closer to eradicating this democratic gerontocracy
We can’t negotiate our future from the position of weakness, but from that of strength and intensity of purpose. We must realize quickly that this country ‘Nigeria’ belongs to all of us, not just to a selected few. Anyone can aspire and become whatever he or she wants to be in this country but always remember to place God first in all your doings.
God Bless Kogi state and Nigeria in general !
– Godwin Jibrin Bakwo