It is quite reasonable and commendable that youth relegation in today’s politics is gradually becoming a thing of the past, particularly in the developed world (G7 nations) where so much confidence is now being place in the active youth participation in politics. Couple of days ago, I stumbled on a story about a Nigerian who might just end up becoming the first Black British Prime Minister. He is called Chuka Umuna. He is of Igbo Descent from Eastern Part of Nigeria and Irish mother. Although, being a mixed race must have been an added advantage no doubt, his age could have been used to ruin his political ambition which according to him, has been nurtured by so much admiration and respect for Tony Blair. Chuka who was born in 1978 says his interest in politics was shaped by seeing extreme poverty while visiting his father’s relatives in Nigeria and the social divide in his own Streatham constituency in the UK. He says that he is “not super-religious” but that his soft-left values are “rooted in my Christianity.” He has been rumoured to be Tony Blair’s anointed Candidate and has also been seen as a threat to Cameron’s second term ambition.
Taking a cue from this development, I believe youth participation in the politics should not only be encouraged, but should be seen as an avenue to effect change in the developing countries. It must be taken as a top priority. Continents such as Africa, Asia and Latin America that are synonymous with poverty, political instability and corruption should emulate such a great development and create a better platform for youth participation in political leadership in governance and decision making.
The recent ’30 percent or Nothing’ was a ‘Tweet-a-thon’ that I actually participated in, as all Nigerian Youths tweeted to support the notion to have 30 percent representation in governance and policy making in the country. I believe this agitation is not only restricted to Nigeria alone but most Third World youths would love to take their destinies in their hands by doing what is right for their nations. Nevertheless, one major reason youths have not been allowed to enjoy top political leadership roles in the polity thereby relegated to the background politically in the third world countries is greed and selfish motive of political godfathers who feel threatened and insecure seeing young ambitious politicians demanding a change in the ways things are being done in the political system as well as in governance.
I was motivated to blog about this topic after engaging in a discussion with a friend, a great young Nigerian, Ahmed Bachaka, who desires to see change in the political terrain in Nigeria. He has been a Youth Parliamentarian for sometimes now. He is a top member of Y-CAEV stands for Youth Campaign Against Election Violence. The campaign aimed at sensitising young people against being used as political thugs during election and channel their energies towards positive participation in Nigerian politics so as to make a difference that we all desire.
Come 2015, Ahmed Bachaka intend to grab a political seat under the umbrella of the most powerful political party in Africa and Nigeria’s rulling Party (PDP). His gut as a young Nigerian who has boldly stepped out of that stereotype against all odds and stay focused is what I could refer to as a ‘step in the right direction’ I do not intend to use this medium to incite any youth or young person to go into politics or start a political campaign but I would like us to know that we may not be a full fledged politicians but we are all political beings. Additionally, as a democratic setting, we, the electorates, are at the receiving end, whenever wrong decisions are being made by our elected leaders, therefore we are all part of politics, indirectly or directly.
Countries like Philippines, India, and Cuba have had their fair share of youth relegation in political leadership and policy making, they equally paid huge price for it as they witnessed unprecedented corruption and economic downturn in the past. Nigeria also been a country with history of political instability must wake up and adopt this 30 percent or Nothing that all the Nigerian youths are agitating for. It is not intended to highjack the government but to enable us contribute our quota and to effect the change that we have longed for in the polity.
God bless Naija