by Ohimai Godwin Amaize
All Nigerian youth who truly love this country must understand that when credible and competent youth refuse to board the train of politics, they create room for unholy characters to infiltrate and truncate the process.
My perspective on youths getting involved in politics, received a memorable boost with my participation in the presidential campaigns of 2011. This period saw me participating actively in our nation’s politics as Nigeria’s youngest, ever, presidential Campaign Manager. The experience was an exhilarating incident; I will not substitute the value of knowledge I acquired within this period with 10 Doctorates in Harvard!
Some months shy of my Campaign Management 2nd anniversary, I have lived the two sides of the coin. I have undergone at the highest level what it is to be in the opposition; I am witnessing, right now, what it means to be a youth in my nation’s ruling party.
Given my political education, I remain an ardent believer in the principle of young people getting actively involved in politics. My case has always been that the greatest asset of any generation lies in its ability to strategically position itself and bridge perceived gaps between promise and performance.
This is only possible when we recognize the philosophy of active political participation and engagement.
It is not that simple.
There is nothing special about the youth in politics if they are not competent and credible. Indeed, when incompetent young people, lacking in honour and integrity find their way into politics and governance, we must then look to the heavens for mercy and salvation. For our fathers may have scourged us with whips but these ones will scourge us with scorpions!
What then must we do to ensure that only the very best among us make it to the apex of political leadership and governance? Our generation needs to accept that politics remains the most potent and pragmatic platform for leadership recruitment into public service and governance.
When we come to terms with this fact, we will take more interest in the process that produces our leaders. We will then begin to find our way into the political parties, ruling or opposition, participate actively within and hold the systems to excellence, transparency and accountability.
I am aware that many Nigerian youths are beginning to take interest in politics and have started registering with political parties as card-carrying members. This is a dream coming true.
But like I have mentioned in my previous essays, this is only where the battle is joined. The next stage is strategising without let to ensure that even at the very basic level of youth participation through the youth wings, youth circuits, youth vanguards or whatever we chose to call them, such youth platforms are not about powerful individuals but strong systems and structures that promote transparency and accountability.
Eagle-eyed watchfulness must be implemented to ensure that these platforms are not hijacked by greedy, corrupt and unprincipled youth who see the process only as a meal ticket to their next political picnic!
All Nigerian youth who truly love this country must understand that when credible and competent youth refuse to board the train of politics, they create room for unholy characters to infiltrate and truncate the process. This is the grim reality even at the level of Students’ Union politics.
At this level of youth participation in politics, the battle must not be left in the hands of just a few credible youth voices in the system. If this is the reality, the sad conclusion then is that they will be defeated because they are outnumbered by the “bad guys”; politics is a game of numbers.
This is so fundamental as it is the foundation of a new future for our nation. The Nigerian youth must stay at the heart of creating that future. The process has already begun with sustainable initiatives like the PDP Youth Circuit.
Where we are today will lead us to the desired destination only when credible youth are in charge of all political platforms across the nation. It is not about what the PDP Youths alone are doing but what all Nigerian youths, whether APC, APGA, ACN or CPC youths must do.
For the Nigerian youth to be taken seriously by this nation, we must let it sink into our heads that “youth” alone is no credential for leadership. Neither is it a criterion to be taken seriously by anybody. There is nothing special about us if we are incompetent, have no character, integrity or principle.
The very best among us must be prepared to step out and stick out our necks to represent the youth in all spheres of our national life. I disagree that the youths who disgrace us when we send them to represent us in public service are in the majority. Majority of Nigerian youths are brilliant, wonderful young people with redoubtable character and integrity. We must never allow the filthy minorities besmear the rest of us.
Ohimai Godwin Amaize is popularly known as Mr. Fix Nigeria, Amaize was born on September 9, 1984. He is an alumnus of the premier University of Ibadan, Nigeria with a post-graduate certificate in “Managing for Integrity”, Central European University, Budapest, Hungary. He is a registered member, People’s Democratic Party. He tweets @MrFixNigeria.
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