by Jude Feranmi
At the New Media and Governance Conference a few weeks ago, (That event where Bobrisky was invited to speak), one take-away for me that has literally shaped my engagements politically with young Nigerians since then was a question asked by Japheth Omojuwa in another panel he was moderating. That panel had Seun Onigbinde of BudgIT, Yemi Adamolekun of EiE, Aisha Yesufu of BBOG and a fine lady from Kenya who was a popular blogger focusing on mental illness.
The question was directed at Yemi of EiE and even though I can’t really remember how Japheth shaped the question, I’ll try to paraphrase that question here.
At the last elections, it was obvious how much contribution young people brought to elect the incumbent administration, when the time came to share power, we were nowhere to be found. What must we do to ensure that this doesn’t repeat itself in the next elections?
Now, Yemi went on to rehash the objectives of EiE and how there would always be a need for an organisation to hold the government accountable other than the National Assembly and how that was her focus right from the beginning.
Having volunteered actively for EiE (I still do, now passively), I could say I knew what Yemi’s answer was going to be and could have even bet on the words she was going to use.
Seun towed more or less the same path and that question never got answered. I hope this article is an answer to that.
Power is the ability to do work. Without political power, young Nigerians can do little about this country!
From all indications, the most popular and influential young Nigerians are yet to mature to this level of engagement. We are still locked up in the box of Civil Society, New Media, Business and ICT.
We think that we can change our country, chart a new path and choose a new, different life for our kids by focusing on these sectors outside politics.
No, we can’t.
While some of us have to stay in these sectors, some of us have to engage actively in politics. When power is gotten and ready to be shared, pawns don’t usually count. It’s like the game of chess where usually by the time there is a checkmate, there are only a few pawns left. This accounts for the Special Assistant and Personal Assistant roles that some few then get.
This is the dynamics of power.
People continue to ask me how we can change this country and usually in the most ironic pattern find a way to convince themselves to stay off politics after.
Politics is the only way, the only truth and the only formula to social and political change.
We must birth a new political order.
Major political parties will ask you to stay on a queue. The situation is even worse for females. Those who currently lead the youth caucus of these parties are next to figure-heads. Their challenges are known as are unbelievable but that doesn’t stop the packaging and their way of seeming while they keep being disappointed.
Things won’t change anytime soon. A new path must be forged.
We must break away from the pseudo-comfort that these current patronage systems offer, take the bold step of aligning forces and challenging for political influence for that is the only way we get to decide how the power formula is shared.
There is a tendency to want to shelve these thoughts in the same category as young people just wanting power for power sake. But the strategies of taking power have never changed no matter what the motive for taking power is.
The quest for this political influence cannot start after an election cycle. we will fail if we wait. It must start before elections and via political parties.
I’ll address this in the next article on this series. Before then, let this sink in.
Power, political power is not served a la carte
~ Asiwaju Bola Tinubu
Op–ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija
Jude ‘Feranmi is the National Youth Caucus leader of KOWA PARTY