Should Leo DaSilva be allowed to walk on same street with Bola Tinubu?

Yes, we know 2023 is here already, so everyone – especially young Nigerians – is going to pretend like they are passionate about the general election and, literally, call out any popular face who wines and dines with “political demons”. The social media rumblings have started, and Leo Dasilva has just walked into the mouth of a hairdryer.

There is a summit coming up Saturday, March 26, 2021, titled “Reinventing our future: Roles of young Nigerians in national development”. The summit has Abdulmumin Jubrin, the Director-General, Bola Tinubu Support Group Council, as the Guest Speaker; Senator Ajibola Bashiru as Keynote Speaker; Hamzat Lawal, an anti-corruption activist and founder of Follow The Money, as a panellist; Maryam Laushi, a communication specialist, activist and has been one of the most vocal Northern voices raising awareness on gender equality, social justice and youth inclusion in politics, as a panellist; Leo Dasilva, an ex-housemate of the Big Brother Naija show, as a panellist, among other young Nigerians.

Ignoring the other names on the panel, Leo Dasilva has been singled out for being a celebrity – like other politics-aligning celebrities – who does not care about the people but his pocket. It is the ‘I said it’ moment when many Nigerians bring up arguments that their faves were only pretending to be someone they are not.

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Thinking like a philosopher of note, a Twitter user wrote: “On Leo Dasilva saga, it has nothing to do with making a change from the inside or any of that shit you’re talking about. It’s the thought that you can make a huge chunk of money, change your life, that of your family and guaranteed immunity that makes people choose that path!”

Another deep thinker posted images saying, “I guess you’ve gotten your own share of “Justice.”

Leo Dasilva has been an active social media user, who majorly minds his business and in an earlier tweet he wrote, “You can’t support candidates who are yet to even declare their intentions. Is it up to you to beg anyone to come and be president? These things don’t fall on anyone’s laps, you come out and be intentional.

Tinubu is intentional and Leo Dasilva has decided to support him – or not.

The summit is a panel discussion of issues that concern Nigerian politics, youth involvement and the role of Nigerian youth in national development. And, since the #EndSARS protests whose end broke almost every Nigerian youth, there has been a constant call for young Nigerians to participate actively.

Go get your PVCs” has become a national anthem, and thanks to the electoral body, INEC, a lot of Nigerians have registered. But, that is not all that defines active participation. We even had a die-hard trend on Twitter after the #EndSARS protests where Twitter users continued talking about choosing a young Nigerian, sponsoring the candidate and massively supporting same to win the 2023 Presidential election. That one is dead like many other Twitter trends.

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To ensure a change in the longer term, young people must be engaged in formal political processes and have a say in formulating today’s and tomorrow’s politics. Young people must, therefore, participate in literally everything that concerns the 2023 election, including the Tinubu-group sponsored summit. Trending hashtags may not do the work.

Signing a petition, joining a party, or casting a vote are the most commonly accepted actions deemed as political participation. Private citizens have the ability to participate in politics not just by casting votes or joining parties but through numerous other activities – like cooperative or communal activities. Participation can affect the policymaking process as well as services provided by governments, such as education or health care.

The Not Too Young To Run bill was passed in 2018, not only that young people simply join a political party, declare an intention to contest a seat and win. Besides that, it gave young Nigerians the opportunity to be part of the system. Again, there are other participation avenues for young Nigerians.

Leo Dasilva has deleted the flyer for the event and may eventually not attend the summit. But, we need to understand that his participation may not be to ‘align with Tinubu‘ to ultimately tap from the nation’s resources, but an intention to be part of a political activity that can bring about change. If he clearly declares his intention later to parley with Bola Tinubu and probably declare an intention to take up a seat on the platform of the APC, then we re-shape our thoughts to understand him.

Our energy should be directed at active participation. This…is sentimental non-participation.

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