Lai Labode: A political party for Nigeria Youth: Good, bad, or ugly idea? (Y! Politico)
by Lai Labode
While we cannot and will never be able to divorce politics from money, the use of money in our political field is predominantly negative, deceiving and morally devious.
“While we pursue our vision for Nigeria within the PDP under the PDP Youth Circuit, I cannot but see the possibilities that are there for a political party for the youths even if all it does is to galvanize more youths to get involved. Who knows if the Youth Party and PDP can do the grandest merger someday that will be the envy of ACN, LP, ALGA and CPC put together!” Lai Labode, 30th Jan 2013.
I fielded a lot of questions this past week about what I thoughts about the prospects of a Youth Political Party. There were specific questions about the new Sovereign National Party (SNP) formed by some Nigeria youth.
I think we must commend the different groups and persons who have advocated this for even proffering solutions to the myriads of problems facing the youth constituency and our country.
There thought process isn’t so different from ideas we have toyed with in the past and seen its potential power, challenges and implications.
While many have condemned the idea as a tall dream, I cannot but disagree because anything is possible when it comes to politics and the potential of a visionary, consistent and competent united youth body.
If you study the Nigerian political system very deeply and dispassionately, you will realize that its successes and failures depend very largely on the ability to mobilize the youths for good, bad or selfish agendas.
Since the return of democracy in 1999 , the political class have never failed to ‘engineer’ youth organizations to push its agenda . Under the OBASANJO administration , we witnessed the birth of Grand Alliance of Nigeria led by Hon Abdul Mumuni , the group paraded men like Dino Melaye and a host of student union leaders . They were so well funded. While most Nigeria youths perceived the group as pawns for the PDP government and focused only on the monetary gains it would bring to those who ran the organization, they failed to see the opportunity the group missed by not been able to transform the structure to a sustainable platform for youths in politics.
We all remember the negative but powerful movement put together by a young man called Kanu for Abacha; Youths Earnestly Ask For Abacha. The demonstrated that a united Nigerian youth constituency could do a lot of good or bad for a country depending on its disposition. There have been many groups like that focused on a short-term agenda of one leader or the other.
The government at different times have successfully courted the infamous Nigerian Youth Council to endorse it at one time or the other to the detriment of what the organization was really meant to stand for. Many Nigerian youths know very well that the Nigerian Youth Council can easily pass for a political arm of our party. It’s structure is defective and doesn’t represent the Nigerian Youths on this planet. Urgent reforms are needed if the youth are to get any leverage from the Nigerian Youth Council.
The youth have been active tools in the hands of those who plunder and terrorize our people for too many years, there is enough evidence to show that no election has been won or lost without the full endorsement of the youth constituency whether through our actions or inaction.
While we cannot and will never be able to divorce politics from money, the use of money in our political field is predominantly negative, deceiving and morally devious. The politicians simply take advantage of the depth of desperation for survival of the youth constituency.
In a country where most of its youth are unemployed, ‘poverty’ is the surname of many; you do not need a seer to tell you that most people unfortunately care more about immediate survival than about good governance. There is pervasive poverty in the land.
While we pursue our vision for Nigeria within the PDP under the PDP Youth Circuit, I cannot but see the possibilities that are there for a political party for the youth even if all it does is to galvanize more youths to get involved. Who knows if the Youth Party and PDP can do the grandest merger someday that will be the envy of ACN, LP, ALGA and CPC put together!
There are many challenges in politics irrespective of the age of the players, the youth even has a bigger challenge; there is justifiable widespread mistrust, many can not stand the rigors of growing a political platform, many are genuinely concerned but cant fathom the need for consistency, perseverance, discipline, strategy and firm leadership.
Most are unconsciously too cynical and are too focused on the inevitable faults of the leader rather than his or her strengths, may of us are poor followers and can not stay in an organization if they don’t have the position of power they desire.
There is as much problems and obstacle for youth who lead youth groups as there are for the people who lead the political parties in Nigeria today.
The PDP Youth Circuit provides an opportunity for those young People who want learn the dynamics of politics in a bid to contribute their quota to nation building.
I remember the attacks on patriots like Tomi Araromi, Taiwo Adepoju, Onyeluka Ojugo and my friend, my younger brother, Ohimai Godwin when they decided to join the PDP, many called them all sorts of names for joining the PDP without any recourse to their legitimate reasons, drive or convictions. I am happy that they have never wavered in what they can do for the love of this country.
Take it to the bank, there will be many obstacles within our PDP Youth Circuit like any other group, however, the leadership and its members will not blink for a second until our collective dream for our nation is achieved and can be entrenched institutionally for future generations to follow.
Good luck to the advocates of A YOUTH POLITICAL PARTY, the PDP YC looks forward to robust debates on ideas on issues that affect the lives of the ordinary Nigerian.
Lai Labode is the CEO of Salt & Einstein Ltd., a visionary business logic firm with vast experience of the peculiar African emerging markets. Lai is an alumnus of the prestigious Harvard Business School where he received certificates in corporate restructuring, Mergers & Acquisitions, Negotiation and Strategic Agility. He is the Chairman of PDP Youth Circuit and President of the People’s Senate. Lai also chairs the National Youth Movement for Constitutional Review. Lai is the Author of the 20 Laws of Democracy and Constellation of Thoughts. He is married to Ijeoma and they are blessed with two boys, Salt & Einstein.
Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.