Opinion: Youth leaders as change agents

By Manasseh Victor

That Nigeria is suffering from leadership crisis is stating the obvious, 56 years after independence, the country is still grappling with the basics of nationhood, beset on all sides by low productivity, social injustice, insecurity and a deficient infrastructural base inter alia. The usual suspect and probable culprit is suboptimal leadership.

When the ruling political elite are confronted with the fruit of their ways, the usual rhetoric is that leaders don’t emerge from a vacuum. Albeit the prima facie truth is that leaders wield more state resources than the average citizens and they are expected to be moral doyens; hence their actions or inactions are weightier.

Visionary leadership makes all the difference as Deng and Lee Kan Yew of China and Malaysia exemplify. Given that except for the previous President, our leadership at the national level as been borne by men directly or indirectly involved in the affairs of the nation since 1966.

A certain movement has been clamouring for a change of baton; the “not too young to run movement” is canvassing for massive youth participation in politics by sponsoring a bill for the reduction of the age required to be eligible for elective positions at the national assembly, it might not be the magic wand for solving our suboptimal leadership imbroglio, yet it is a step in the right direction.

Back home in Kogi state, the Governor at just 41 years is the poster boy of youth leadership, and his successes or failures will be used as a yardstick for or against the debate of youth participation in politics. He came into office during a challenging period, when the world and national economy are at low ebb and on the heels of an underperformed predecessor who left the state’s resources in bad shape with accumulated indebtedness and liabilities.

Being a leader myself, I know leadership is no tea party, especially in a season of constraints as currently precipitated by the slump in global oil prices, militancy in the Niger Delta, widespread insecurity, over bloated workforce teeming with ghost workers inter alia, however; a leader’s job is to keep the sails going no matter the direction of the wind. The elements might be unfair to him but he shouldn’t blame it all on that. He should re-strategise and make a difference by thinking outside the box of Nigeria’s federal feeding bottle economic system, for tomorrow belongs to the man of vision.

The people of Kogi are perishing for his lack of knowledge, the state has been on lock down for too long due to the NLC state-wide strike, and the major culprit isn’t the non-payment of salaries but rather, the directive from the state Government that all salary accounts should be domiciled at Zenith or Access banks; to complicate the stand-off, the two banks have refused to buy the liabilities of the civil servants from their previous banks. How do they expect the affected banks to recoup their losses?

Often, the only way to succeed is to first fail, for with bad decisions comes the experience to make good decisions. Governor Bello can’t afford to fail for if he fails, we youths all fail. Youths arise! Governor Bello arise as a phoenix from the ashes, for history beckons! We are change agents and trailblazers, and the Governor is our torchbearer.

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Op–ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija

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