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The Need for more Young People in Politics

Posted on: August 15th, 2016 by The Moderator No Comments

Banks: I strongly agree with Otega that you don’t have to be elected to make a difference. You can work your way up but it is very easy to get consumed.

Ishan: I believe the biggest turn off to the younger ones is the fact that they feel their voices are not heard. Most feel it’s a waste of time advocating for anything because nothing ever changes. Which is truly as a result of lack of education and knowledge on our system of government and how to go about registering grievances and following up. Secondly, I think we as a people not just in Nigeria but around the world, have become SELFISH. Less and less people understand the concept of sacrifice. More of today’s youth are more interested in what job they can get, how much they can make etc. Very few people are willing to make the sacrifices it truly takes to serve the people.

Tega: It’s more of a mind thing and as @Ishan rightly said, selfishness. The average young person is not interested in driving change from the community level – I doubt they even know where the Local Governments of their residences are.

Kingsley: Ishan, I think part of the problem you highlight is the fact that Nigerian politics has no ideological underpinning. We’re in the heat of the US elections for instance and there is a palpable ideological distinction between the two major candidates  (also one happens to be clinically insane but I digress). In Nigeria, the truth is there is no ideological difference among our parties. It’s a contest of personalities.

Banks: There needs to be a clear definition of youth. During the last election, I remember why a candidate emerged as youth leader was mainly because they said he could relate with the young folks and the argument was age wasn’t a clear definition of youth.

Also, with the present NotTooYoungToRun Bill in house of Rep sponsored by Tony Nwulu of PDP in Lagos, if passed we will be able to clearly define age requirements for different posts and in most cases reduce the age to contest for different elective post.

Independent candidate is definitely another important hurdle we do need to cross, I read a copy of the Bill by Stella Oduah who is seeking to amend that portion of electoral act, If at all we will get more young people into active politics then we need to find ways of getting these two critical bills passed and assented to.

Yes finance is key, and campaign and election finance reform is key but more importantly we need to find ways to get our elections to be ideology driven instead of money driven, then we can have more young people run for office while other young folks with same ideology can join forces to raise funds to get them elected.

Dare: We as youth also need to find a way to come together. We are all over the place. We need a rally point or a rally person (eg the Ribadu example).

Ishan: I don’t completely agree with finance being a key issue, simply because there is a starting point for every politician. The big money is spent in the presidential and governorship electioneering process. But most of the other guys holding office were “broke” before they got into office. Most borrowed funds to execute their elections. So funding is not a hindrance because there is always a way to solve that problem irrespective of age or class as the Nigerian polity have taught us. Infact anybody vying for office that can’t raise funds to execute his plans is useless to the electorate.

Kingsley: Ishan, it’s not about raising funds. It’s what the funds are used for. Only a few people have money to pay for a mass rice distribution in exchange for votes. An act which is illegal in sane climes. Most of funds raised are for political patronage not actual campaign expenditure. That’s a huge barrier.

Ishan: I see what you mean Kingsley. Although I see no difference between a Nigerian politician handing out rice during Sallah and an American one giving out jackets to homeless folk in winter or free turkeys at thanksgiving.

Kingsley: Ishan, Turkeys and the like are given to registered charities not the average man on the street.

Gbenga: We missed the opportunity to do this when oil was selling at high prices. We need a campaign that rewards hard work and ingenuity. Our media must shift its focus from celebrating leaders to celebrating the small miracles everyday people perform.

Seun: Well, the NottoYoungtoRun is our first chance.

Banks: There is nothing stopping young folks from having a strong group to lobby to get anything we want done in Nigeria. If truly we have the numbers. Then if we can agree principles that A and B is standard regardless of political affiliation. Even before campaign, we need to be able to influence process of selecting candidates.

Ishan: Banks is right. But finding people with the same ideological beliefs and values is key. In Nigeria for example. The same guys in the PDP went over to the APC and were elected to office and vice versa in past elections. What does that tell you? There is no clear-cut difference in ideology and thinking. There really are no choices. A republican can’t become a Democrat overnight and vice versa.

Dare: And finding people whose only compass isn’t their stomach or bank balance.

Banks: Last election, we sampled opinions on different candidates for elections in Kwara and I’m as much as most will follow the leadership structure of the state, the leadership knew the importance of having popular candidates so non politicians like myself were commissioned to gather details of popular candidates. To me that made ALL the difference. We won EVERY single position.

Tega: If only we could genuinely collaborate in a selfless manner for a greater good. If you have a movement and message that is strong enough, the funds will come  – either from those who truly believe in the vision or those who thing they can piggyback to influence you later.

Gbenga: Our national awards must be used to celebrate community heroes, not exalt thieves in power. I don’t see a problem with the way we select candidates. Probably the presidential, yes, but others – No. I met a man in his mid thirties about 6 years ago in Ojo, Lagos. He was the Community Secretary and had lived all his life in that area. Everyone knew him. He had no car when I met him while doing a story in that area. He was educated and exalted in that area. Nothing happened without his knowledge. When I heard the name Tajudeen Obasa announced as the House of Representatives member representing Ojo, I wasn’t surprised. He contested and won on the PDP platform. He went the hard route, bid his time and ran a solid campaign. Young people should do the same and not expect to be handed power simple because they are young. Power is never served A La Carte.

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