Home Opinion Take Back Your Country: A Clarion Call to Nigerian Youths

Take Back Your Country: A Clarion Call to Nigerian Youths

by Isiyaku Ahmed
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Take back - youths

Emmanuel Gandu

There is enough evidence of a gloomy outlook towards a bleak future for Nigeria since the Nigerian youth is not bold enough by stepping forward to take back their rightful inheritance – the Nigerian project from their aging grandparents if contemporary happenings in the country are anything to go by.

While the growth trend in the youth population is on the increase (60% of Nigeria’s 200 million population), there is no commensurate rise in opportunities for them.

Regrettably,

✓ the total collapse of the education system in a country with the largest number of over 20 million out-of-school children ( UNICEF 2022) in the world is unacceptable;

✓ Nigeria is globally notorious for being the 3rd most terrorized country in the world ( World Terrorism Index 2020) for three years running;

✓ Nigeria is shamelessly the poverty capital of the world (2021);

✓ Nigeria is the 7th largest world oil producer with no functional refinery for decades and is spending trillions of naira for oil subsidy payment due to importation;

✓ Nigeria is the only country in Africa that borrows money to service foreign debts;

✓ Nigerian Universities have remained closed for the past 7 to 8 months and still counting.

Consequently, these negatively contrived vices have given rise to a regime of criminality, an angry, frustrated, and hopeless youthful population who have been vulnerably exposed to the selfish and evil machinations of the religious, tribal, regional, and fantastically corrupt forces of the political class who keep beating drums of division and war.

By their actions and inactions, this aging class of grandparents has put a knife on the things that held us together and we’ve fallen apart.

Now that the 2023 elections are at the corner, it, therefore, remains to be seen whether the Nigerian youths who make up over 60% of the country’s 200 million population (2022) will step forward with their PVC franchise and take back their country from the brink or allow Nigeria to go into extinction.

Politics is generally defined as the set of ideas and activities by people associated with making decisions in groups for the purposes of influence and power relations for the governance and distribution of resources over a particular area, group, or place.

Youth is a person between late childhood of 14 years to about 40 years of age.

According to statistical figures from the National Population Commission, Nigeria’s youths make up over 60% of the country’s 200 million population (2022).

Ultimately, the Nigerian ever-growing youthful population forms the bulk of the active population in the country.

While the growth trend in the youth population is on the increase, there is no commensurate growth in opportunities for them.

Regrettably, the lackadaisical attitude of the youths to the total collapse of the education system in a country with the largest number (20 million) out-of-school children in the World is unacceptable, as this is an impediment to national progress.

Other negative vices impeding a stable future for Nigeria are the escalation of the increasing rate of youth unemployment, rising inflation, the collapse of manufacturing industries, decaying infrastructure, a jaundiced economy, a high level of insecurity, and a selfishly reckless set of the political class.

Consequently, these negatively imposed indices have not only given rise to, but wickedly imposed on Nigeria a regime of the angry, frustrated, and hopeless youthful population who have been vulnerably exposed to religious, tribal, regional, ideological,  corruption, and the ignobly beats of drums of division and war.

Therefore, this discourse is an attempt to highlight some of the potentials of the youths with a desire to reawaken their consciousness towards positive participation in the political engineering of Nigeria – a consciousness that ought to be driven by a desire to assume their rightful place in positive nation building for a better tomorrow.

Youth’s apathy towards politics

Nigeria’s youth nonparticipation in politics is rather a sad commentary, as is generally seen to be more cosmetics and rhetorical than having a stake.

The majority of the youths can be best described as a pack of thugs to political godfathers/parties.

A good number of them do not register to vote. The few of them that register do not collect their PVC. Some of them that managed to collect their PVC do not go out to vote on election day.

Inadvertently, this apathy may be attributed to the prevalent political system – a system of injustice, unequally leveled playing field, deliberate programs for youth exclusion, and a repressive, and highly monetized polity.

These and many other forces have no doubt combined to become a cog on the youths’ wheel of progress.

A comparative analysis of votes cast for 2019 big brother Naija (BBNaija) and votes cast for the 2019 presidential election

(a) Voting figure Implication:

During the 2019 presidential election, Muhammadu Buhari got elected with 15 million votes (15,191,847), while Atiku Abubakar came second with 11 million votes (11,262,978).

This makes up a total of 26 million votes (26,454,825) for that year’s presidential election.

On the other hand, the 2019 BBNaija votes by the Nigerian youths were extraordinarily higher than the entire national votes for the 2019 Presidential elections.

According to figures released in 2019 by Pay Porte, the Nigerian youths gave a total of 240 million votes for the season out of which over 50 million votes were cast in the finale of that season 4 ‘Pepper Dem’ 2019 episode of the Big Brother Naija reality show.

It then means that should the Nigerian youths come out to vote in any elections, and for that matter the 2023 elections, they can swing the votes in favor of their desired candidate.

(b) Finance/economic implication of the Voting trend :

The youths’ performance in that 2019 BBNaija also revealed them spending a whopping N7.2 billion on votes alone.

According to Pay Porte, over # 1.5 billion was spent in the finale – an amount higher than a month’s allocation to 3 states of Nigeria put together. This indicates that Nigerian youths are not only talented but are also enterprising, innovative, resilient, creative, resourceful, and capable of holding their own any day and anywhere. 

Despite the gloomy outlook of a bleak future, the Nigerian youth have the potential for a brighter future to rise above any challenges.

If Anthony Enahoro, then a member of parliament moved the motion for the Independence of Nigeria in 1953 at the age of 30 years;

If Yakubu Gowon became Nigeria’s Military Head of State in 1966 at the age of 31;

If Col. Odumegwu Ojukwu became the head of the failed Biafran dream country at the age of 33;

If Murtala Mohammed became Nigeria’s Military Head of State in 1975 at the age of 37;

If T.Y Danjuma became the Chief of Army Staff of Nigeria at the age of 38;

If Emmanuel Macron became the president of France at the age of 40;

Surely, the Nigerian youth have nothing to lose by getting involved in the politics of Nigeria.

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