by Wilfred Okiche
As the annual #YNaijaPowerList enters its 4th year, we bring you the most influential young Nigerians under 40 who are braving the dark, often dangerous, but always exciting world of hard politics.
Politics in these parts, is an old man’s job but these bright young things have managed to make their voices heard.
From young ministers and governorship aspirants to influential special advisers and legislators, we bring you the Power 10.
Formerly accused of appointing old men to represent a virile youth population, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) back tracked and elected a then 30 year old Maibasira in 2013 as its National Youth Leader. A former speaker of the Nigerian Youth Parliament, Maibasira was widely considered a befitting candidate, on account of his age and political experience. He has spent a great deal of his tenure canvassing youth support for the Jonathan presidency’s second term bid but that is hardly surprising as he also doubles as the party’s director of youth mobilization.
39 year old Kano-born Jibrin remains one of the country’s most powerful legislators. He is chairman of the House committee on Finance, and has served as head of the joint ad-hoc HOR committee on finance, petroleum upstream and downstream and gas resources, investigating allegations of indebtedness by the NNPC to the federation account. Jibrin is also chair of the yearly joint committee that modifies the federal government’s medium term expenditure and physical strategy paper.
You know about Chinedu Ekekee, the blogger/curator of Ekekee.com, a one stop destination for daily political commentary. Now let us introduce you to Chinedu Ekekeee, the budding politician. Active on Twitter as @nedunaija, Ekekee has been based in his native Abia state for some time now where he heads the door to door mobilization campaign of Alex Otti, the former MD of Diamond Bank, currently running for governor under the APGA platform. Should Otti win as is being widely projected, expect to see a lot more of this young man.
The Nollywood heavyweight left a healthy career when he decided to throw his hat into the ring and contest for the Surulere constituency 1 seat of the Lagos state House of Assembly under the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC). Nothing surprising, as a lot of his colleagues also discovered their political sides. But Elliot would go on to unseat an incumbent at the party’s primaries and is virtually a shoo-in for the position in an APC dominated Lagos state.
Folajimi Lai Mohammed
A lot of his clout arises from his father’s influential position as publicity secretary of the APC but one takes these things where you can get them. The son of the firebrand talker, Alhaji Lai Mohammed beat out gospel singer Kenny Saint Best at the primaries to emerge party candidate for the Ikeja 01 constituency in the Lagos state house of Assembly elections. A trained Lawyer, Mohammed is managing director of Knightsbridge Limited.
Garba Abdullahi Idris
Representing Kontagora federal constituency of Niger state at the House of Representatives is the youthful lawmaker Garba Idris. Elected on the platform of the Congress for Progressives Change (CPC), Idris is one of the minority lawmakers to head a committee in the lower house. Anyone who is aware of how politics is played in these parts knows that committee leaderships are a big, big deal for our legislators. Idris’ House committee on Population may not be in the news most of the time but he definitely wields the power that he possesses.
Washima is an accomplished business transformation expert but it is her position as the Special Adviser to President Goodluck Jonathan on Job Creation that earns her a spot on this list. Ms Washima brief includes coordinating and monitoring all job creation activities nationwide as well as generating a verifiable unemployment database. Formerly of the Abuja Enterprise Agency, Washima takes some credit for the perceived success of YouWin and G-Win
For 8 years, Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos state has been quite the performer. Granted but a lot of this is made possible because of the careful, deliberate work of Moji Rhodes who functions as his deputy chief of staff. Rhodes’ office coordinates the activities and itinerary of her principal. Reportedly a privileged member of his inner circle, anyone hoping to score an audience with BRF probably has to go through her to ease out the process.
Mohammed caused quite a stir when he was nominated minister at the age of 37, thus becoming the youngest minister in Goodluck Jonathan’s cabinet. He was posted to the foreign affairs ministry as minister of state and supervised the Information ministry for a spell. He was recently announced as running mate to Aminu Ringim, the PDP flag bearer for the gubernatorial elections in his home state of Jigawa.
Young people in political circles are normally content with the token special assistant/adviser appointments, but not Uche Chuta, the 36 year old computer science graduate- formerly of the PDP,- gunning for the governorship of Abia state under the United Democratic Party (UDP). Chuta’s campaign focus is on building infrastructure to develop the commercial potential of the state. Going by @nnabros on micro blogging platform, Twitter, Chuta’s guber campaign has been accused of having a more robust online representation in the state than actual physical presence.
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