One fundamental question keeps echoing with subtle resonance in my mind. Have the Nigerian youth gotten any hope of being liberated from the shackles of political marginalization, even in the face this seemingly gerontocratic system of government?
Over the years, since 1999 to be precise, we have seen the elders hold the strategic berth in the political arena, hence, placing the able and vibrant youth on the sidelines. These youth are only useful in mobilizing for them other youths, as well as eliciting for them the support of other youths only for an incentive of filthy lucre. Even few of them who are into politics are down the pecking order in their respective political parties.
President Muhammadu Buhari, in 1983 when he was the head of states stated it flagrantly that “the youths are leaders of tomorrow,” suffices it to say that this is the height of whimsicality as the same man later became the president, three decades after. He blatantly made a travesty of that assertion (the youths are the leaders of tomorrow).
There are a plethora of other similar cases which shall, by this rhetorical medium, be accentuated by having recourse to historical facts.
In 1979 Bamanga Tukur was the governor of the defunct Gongola (now Adamawa and Taraba) and three decades after he became the chairman of a former ruling party; Dr Bello Halliru was commissioner in the old Sokoto state (now Sokoto, Kebbi and Zamfara) and three decades after he became the minister of defence; also Major General David Mark was the military governor of Niger state in 1984 and twenty eight years after he became the senate president; Governor Mutala Nyako was the governor of Niger state in 1976 and thirty six years after he became the governor of Adamawa state; General Obasanjo was the military head of states in 1979 and twenty years later he became the president of Nigeria from 1999-2007; also Ogbonnaya Onu was the governor of Abia in 1992 and twenty years later he became the national chairman of ANPP; David Jonah Jang was the governor of Benue state in 1985 and twenty seven years later he became the governor plateau state; also Martin Elechi the governor of Ebonyi state is over eighty years old. This atrocious acts perpetrated by these selfish aged individuals, who care not about the country and it denizens but only care about perpetuating themselves in power calls for a reform that will purge the country of every smudge of this grave impropriety .
In view of the aforementioned facts it is logical to imply that the assertion that the youth are the leaders of tomorrow lacks verisimilitude in Nigeria even though it has a constitutional backing. For instance, section 65 of the constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria as amended states in subsection 1 that a person shall be qualified for election as a member of -
The senate, if he is a citizen of Nigeria and has attained the age of thirty-five years; and
The House of Representatives, if he is a citizen of Nigeria and has attained the age of thirty-five years.
The above constitutional provision underscores the criteria for qualification as a member of the Nigerian national assembly. but how unfortunate that the above provisions have been practically defenestrated in Nigeria. Are we saying we cannot have a president below 40 years of age? I am earnestly waiting for the time to come when youthfulness shall no longer be a barrier to one’s political pursuit.
It is diametrically different in France as their new president Emmanuel Macron won the election and assume the position at 39yrs.
Macron, born in 1977 was an investment banker. He worked as an inspector of Finance in the Inspectorate General of Finance (IGF), then became an investment banker. He was appointed Deputy Secretary-General in Francois Hollande’s first government in 2012 and was later appointed Minister of Economy, Industry and Digital Affairs in 2014 under the Second Valls Government, where he pushed through business friendly reforms.
With the emergence of Macron as the president, the consciousness of the Nigerian youth have been ignited. Their minds have been adverted to the fact that they too can actively play a role in the governing process, that they too have the intellectual acumen and initiative to rule a society. It is high time we resorted to the youth to govern our society and replace the senescent individuals who have been barricaded by ineptitude. The emergence of Macron is of a very grave effect as it has succeeded in bringing a new birth of hope to the youths not only in Nigeria but beyond geographical boundaries.
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