Before we begin the North vs the South divide, we must understand the political parties plus ruling elites have the same ideology of remaining in power till they die; they don’t see young Nigerians with equal rights to lead this nation.
What caught my attention this past weekend is a subtle message being sent out by the ruling elites across Nigeria, the idea that we are equals and there is no space within the polity for young people except being appendages to their ego. In particular, three different events caught my attention during the week.
The much awaited The Future Awards Symposium for Young & Emerging Leaders kicked off on March 19, 2012, and Twitter kept us updated where the expected live stream was barely audible. Then on Sunday afternoon, a one hour summary of the symposium was aired on Channels TV using the regular #RubbinMinds slot, which is a youth platform affiliated to the project.
Governor Rotimi Amaechi’s comments about young people wanting to participate in governance caught my attention; it was very obvious he was not buying the idea nor giving it a second thought. Hold on, the Rivers State governor was emphatic about how having a younger generation in government would end up in continued mismanagement of the treasury, so they should rather tag along and put pressure on people like him in government to perform.
It would interest you to know that the same Rotimi Amaechi became Special Assistant to the Deputy Governor of Rivers state in 1992 at age 26, was elected to the Rivers State House of Assembly, was the speaker for 8 years from 1999 at age 34 and was elected governor of Rivers State in 2007 at age 42.
Then this tweet from the former Minister of FCT and certified ruffler of feathers popped up on my timeline:
@elrufai: [email protected]: u criticized Gen. Buhari as too old for president, y do u now support him ?”…the younger ones are not as good, or honest!”
I supported General Buhari in the last elections and his credibility was one of the reasons why I decided to campaign for him. Nasir el-Rufai served as an adviser in the transition government of General Abdulsalami Abubakar at age 38 in 1998, became Director General of the Bureau of Public Enterprises and the Secretary of the National Council of Privatisation where he spearheaded the privatisation of many government-owned companies at the age of 39 in 1999 and he became the minister of Abuja FCT at age 43 in 2003.
Then the news of the young Special Adviser (advocacy) to the Minister of Youth Development joining the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) filtered in. I was elated to hear about young people joining political parties to participate in the polity though I have my reservations about PDP as a party (13 years in power with little or no opposition yet the ruling cannot give concrete account of its leadership, continuity and stability).
Just as I was savouring the news, I got to hear about PDP electing a new national youth leader in person of Mala Umar Garba, age 60. What the heck? By the way, was this not the same man who claimed he was 57 years old in a newspaper interview in 2008? My next series of tweets were:
“PDP CHANGE: Umar Garba Chiza, 60 years old, becomes PDP National Youth Leader. Bamanga Tukur the National Chair is 77 years old”
“If the PDP national Youth leader is 60 years old, I wonder what Ohimai will be in PDP #justcurious”
“PDP BOT Chairman OBJ is officially 75”
“Bisi Akande the chairman of ACN is 73years old”
“Muhammadu Buhari the CPC leader is 70years old”
“The PDP National Youth leader is the same age with Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. Imagine Tinubu leading twales at Ojota”
The new PDP national Chairman, Bamanga Tukur is 77years old, he became the general manager of the Nigerian Ports Authority at about the age of 37.
Then it dawned on me that the series of events that happened weeklong was a coded message from the ruling elites. I tweeted again:
“My father is 64 years old, PDP National Youth leader is 60years old. what am I?”
“You are all calling me a toddler cos PDP National Youth Leader is 60, my father is 64 years old. My son is 9 years old. What am I?”
Before we continue with the North vs the South divide and other false dichotomies, we must understand the political parties plus ruling elites have the same ideology of remaining in power till they die: they don’t see young Nigerians with equal rights to lead this nation.
In the same week when The Future Awards symposium held to engage future youth leaders, the message subtly put across from the ruling elites, who at our age where opportune to serve this nation, is that they will not avail our generations the opportunity to participate in deciding the future of this country – a future they will surely not be part of.
I may be wrong or just worried but I leave you to connect the 3 events, and more you may know of. If you pay more attention to the ruling elites, you will get the coded message.
The race for 2015 has surely begun, and it does not include you and me – unless we have our own plans.
Twitter Handle @rosanwo