Opinion

NOW THAT OBASANJO SAID YOUTHS MUST TAKE OVER IN NIGERIA, WHAT NEXT?

Obasanjo to youths in Nigeria

There are two kinds of leaders when it comes to actions that are required based on the dictates of time and its events in politics: those that follow the trends of events and respond to them per time and those that set motions and processes that form the events of time.

Some of them set this motion in place in order to exploit the situation for their own benefits while some others set this motion in place for the benefit and the overall good of others. In our clime, many leaders are not even aware of what is going on in time, they don’t know what events are likely going to come up based on some certain decisions that they have made in the past.

One of the leaders in Nigeria that still unarguably recognise events and the possible fallouts of such an event in the nearest future is former President Olusegun Obasanjo. Did you remember how he tore his PDP membership card publicly in the events leading to the 2015 presidential election? That is an action of a man who already recognises that the posture of the people towards the then incumbent President Jonathan was already in the mire. So, in order to remain relevant, he had to be seen to be on the side of the people. President Jonathan eventually became the first sitting president to lose an election.

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About a week ago, Obasanjo in an organized lecture to mark this year’s International youth day charged youths to take their destiny in their hands. He pointed to the fact that youths must now take over in Nigeria politics. He made references to when he started as a young person that it was because they (he and others of his age as at then) were willing to take leadership responsibility in the country. He then urged young men and women to persistently seek power, and contest for elective posts in the polls.

Ordinarily, this is a welcome idea if not overdue already; and a timely speech like this from Obasanjo should have attracted applause. But can we really say that his speech came out of goodwill or out of a good heart? While he can be counted as one of the leaders who understands the events of time as he relates to the needs of the people, the question of whether the needs are met or not is a question that is begging for an answer. The situations of both dispensations during his military when he was young and his civilian rule when he was older showed that he was not up to scratch.

For what it’s worth, Obasanjo is trying to set up motions to bring up a new phase of leadership in Nigeria. But that doesn’t mean that he is honest about his move, it doesn’t mean that his opinion about youthful leadership was coming from a good heart. As far as I am concerned, it’s just another ploy by him to make himself relevant in Nigeria politics for the rest of his days. Not much relevance has he enjoyed since after his denunciation of PDP in 2015.

Now it is true that there is no better time than now when young men and women must emerge as leaders to take us as a people to our destined place in the comity of nations, no doubt. The signs are everywhere. It is the time for us to stand up and take back our country because there has been gross mismanagement on the part of our leaders which has messed up our people so much especially since the 4th republic.

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The youth are already aware of what Obasanjo was trying to echo and their voice is very loud. Obasanjo must have been hearing the voices of the people. The challenge of this new age is voice; people want to be heard and when anyone or government deliberately wants to stiffen their voice there will be chaos and anarchy. A new age leader is the one that must be heard and also give the people their voice back. This is a new thinking that many leaders in Nigeria lack and the one that Obasanjo happens to know.

Because of this knowledge, Obasanjo feels the onus is on him as an elder statesman to be the leading voice in support of the youth. This will pitch him as a total leader that we need. No doubt, the man has done his bit to the best of his understanding and he has had his own shortfalls.

The truth is, the reason why Obasanjo is putting his mouth in support of the youth revolution is rather mischievous. It is his way to make himself feel relevant and to make him endeared to the youth and those who are sympathetic to the youth movement. This is a man that likes to take an advantage of time and events, and that is exactly what he is doing at the moment.

Let’s pause on Obasanjo and consider the recent passage of the not-too-young-to-rule bill at the National Assembly. This bill was passed some few weeks ago and signed to law. In the bill, the ages of eligible Nigerians to contest for elective posts have been significantly reduced to accommodate younger people in elective offices than we currently have. Now you can have a 25 year old as a contester for Governorship post of any state in the country.

This is another precept to usher in the new age expectation of young people and upon the passage of the bill went into the streets and social media platforms to jubilate. The lawmakers by the passage of this bill appeared to be on the side of the people because it would appear as if they had listened to the voices and cry of the people.

But let me ask you, have they passed the bill because of the good of the people. I tell you; it is of my personal opinion as well that that bill was passed for selfish reasons. The manner with which the bill was speedily passed after the agitation from the not-too-young-to-rule movement makes anyone with the prior knowledge of our lawmakers to question the integrity of the bill process. It makes you to want to question the motive of the lawmakers toward the passage of the bill. That bill is almost the only bill that was not constrained by any opposition before its passage and that should make any political follower in Nigeria to be curious.

The man at the helms of the National Assembly, Senator Bukola Saraki is famous as a grand master at working of schemes. In his native state of kwara, the news is all over that he wants to produce the first youngest Governor in Nigeria from his family. His own son, ‘Seeni Saraki is reportedly being groomed to succeed the incumbent Kwara state Governor. The young man is close to 25 years old and by the next Kwara gubernatorial election in 2019, it would be the time to present him. So we can see that the passage of the not-too-young-to-run bill makes a perfect timing to suit the selfish purpose of the senate and his players.

Let me ask you, how many 25 year old in Nigeria is capable to contest a gubernatorial election in Nigeria safe the children of the politicians? Looking at the humongous financial extractions of political processes in the country, it is very expensive to aspire to any political office. It does mean that it is only the politicians and the sons and daughters of politicians that reserve the financial muscle to contest for elective posts in the country with the looted funds by their fathers. So we can then affirm that such politicians like those in the National assembly, with the example of the described orchestration by the senate president; are the type of leaders that set motion in place in order to exploit the situation for their own benefits.

I want to implore the Nigeria youths to halt their jubilation about the not-too-young-to-run bill at the moment. There is work to do.

In truth and in theory, the bill is an advantage to us as young people but that is only if we follow it with the next right steps. While the bill was sponsored and passed to fulfil their own purpose, we as ordinary young Nigerians have our voter powers intact. We have our voter’s right intact, and it is our responsibility to use it to our own advantage. The elites always have their grand schemes but it is the voting power of the people that mostly power their ambition. The good news is that we can use and withdraw that power as we so desire.

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Our millions of votes is (really) the key to the doors of political offices for a few. Why can’t we then use it, going forward to sack these self-serving and people-deceiving politicians from our polity? We should use the power of our voting population to install a new order and a new age leadership that is separate and unconnected with all these polluters of our country, Nigeria.

Now that Obasanjo said youths should take over and the National assembly has inadvertently passed the not-too-young-to-rule-bill, there is the need for young men and women to identify and support other young people that are competent and who have shown interest to run in political offices. We may not have the money like the Obasanjos, the Sarakis or the Tinubus but we have our voices and our voting power.

We need to support young Nigerians that are credible, competent and in our own class, not in the class of the elites, not in the class of their sons, not in the class of their daughters, not in the class of their families. This is not to say that there are no eligible young men and women in the clan and family of our politicians. But because they are from such inherited principalities that have altogether failed this country, they cannot be trusted. Looking at where Nigeria has found herself, looking at how Nigeria has faired in the hands of our politicians, it will be precarious for us as a people to continue to support or aid their children to power with our votes any more.

Yes, the passage of the bill is timely and the input of Obasanjo’s lecture added a needed fuel to the youth revolution cause. But we should not be unwary of the devices of the devil. Don’t be surprised if in some couple of months from now, Obasanjo begins to align his posture with some young persons and begin to pitch them for elective purposes in the country. He has done it before. It is all in a bid to remain relevant. However, we serve a God that confounds the wise with foolish things of this world. So even when he or any politicians decides to exploit this situation, everything is working for good for those that love the Lord. The cause of youth revolution in Nigeria is God ordained and no one can run across a swinging two-edged sword.

As young revolutionary men and women desirous of a true change in our country, we must come to the understanding that we must support aspiring youths from our own class, people who are competent but not necessarily in the circle of our politicians. What we are creating must be created around the people and not around any singular sponsor or godfather. Our agenda must be involved in the popular will of the people, something that will give power back to the people.

When we see youths contesting elective posts in our various states and at the federal level, let us find out about them; let us ask questions to ascertain their stand and sincerity of purpose, once we have ascertained their commitment then we should give them our unflinching support. This is not the time for partisan support but an era of true and accountable representation.

Don’t say you will not support a young person contesting for an elective post because you are not sure of their pedigree and commitment when you have not made an attempt to find out about them. The sons and candidates of your glorified politicians have even less qualification and preparedness for office and yet you would be carrying their campaign placards all around for a paltry 5000 Naira that cannot last you two days. And that’s all you would get from him until the next election.

We need to support young men and women in our own class contesting in the coming elections. When we support them and we are able to vote in such people into power in the face of the tyranny of our current leaders then it will send a signal that power truly belongs to the people and we will see that our leaders will start becoming responsible.

We cannot continue like this. We cannot continue to serve a few men who are feeding fat on our commonwealth while giving us crumbs or nothing and making us to drink from waters they have muddled with their feet.

It is time for us to make our voice known and we can only do that through our votes.

Youth revolution in Nigeria, it is time for us to take our stand!

 

-Victor-Doobig Alade is the publicity Secretary for Independent Democrats party in Ekiti State.

 

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