By Muhammad Sagir Bauchi
In August 2020, the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria declared 1st November, of every year as a day to celebrate Youth Day.
As we all know, youth are the vehicle of every societal development, for, the future of any given society largely lies on their hands, their action and how they are being brewed is what will predict the future to which that society may appeared in the future.
We have been lured with a notion of “We are the leaders of tomorrow” but that tomorrow either haven’t yet arrived or refused to come.
We have it in the history lane that, youth of the age between 25-35 had immensely contributed toward nation building and they’ve performed their task efficiently and effectively.
Nigeria is a country blessed with many young intellectuals that have the capacity and competency of taking the state to the promised land, if opportunity is given.
If we move back to history of the Companions of the Holy Prophet of Islam, Muhammad (PBUH) we’ll learn about the gigantic effort youths contributed to the spread of Islam in the Arabian Peninsula and other Non Arabian societies.
Youths are not left in every angle of life, they could play every part in nation building. What is only needed is to nurture them with the necessary skills and knowledge that could be use to exhibit their God given talent.
But a lot of youths are misusing or missing this great stage of their life, into a journey that at the end would take them to the land of regret and being of no value. In every joint of drug abuse youths are the leading figures. Gambling tables, thuggery, cultism, internet fraud, armed robbery/banditry, boy/girl relationships that are ending up in outside wedlock pregnancies, etc are platforms dominated by youths: youths that are supposed to be in the forefront to address the menace are now its agents!
I was overjoyed and excited when I learnt that President Muhammadu Buhari, has spoken about the “Not too Young to Rule” bill in his Youth Day Speech. It’s indeed a great joyful to witness such a moment that, youths are given the opportunity to dived into politics, to play their part in nation building and their continent at large.
Although, in the speech, the president addressed so many issues that has to do with youths, including numerous intervention programs initiated by his administration in order to assist the youths in the area of job creation, but my greatest concern is the issue of “Not too Young to run” because it is the issue that has to do with the nation at large. Since that, being in a political position is a chance given to one to represent the society.
Signing this bill into law will encourage a lot of youths that are optimistic and has the desire to indulge into politics to tie their belt.
Given them this opportunity, would bring an end to so many political and economic crises in the state!
But aloud question that is well entranced in the minds of many Nigerians that are eager to see the affairs of this country is being piloted by young Nigerians is that, after the success, probably what, how and where is that route to the overtly song of ‘ Young to rule ‘ is going to be recited?
Nigeria’s political status quo is the most complex one; it is only in Nigeria that no matter how unquestionably you are, in as far as you are monetary poor, then all your credibility will earned you nothing. People are being subjected into untold poverty in every day life, thereby denying people the basic life necessities. And this triggered some angry citizens to be selling their civic right for a token.
The problem shall not be heavily link to the masses alone who’re measuring the performance of politicians with the amount of money politician distributed. The problem lies also in how the elites deliberately and collectively enjoy our suffering.
My point of observation and contention is the high cost of political seat form by almost all the political parties, which pragmatically is unbearable to majority youth politicians. So, without any a drastic change to the cost of party forms and mandatory regulating of campaign funds that are to be sourced from parties fund raising committees, that bill may be death on arrival.
My fear is that youths are still going to be bench warmers, puppets, errand boys, political thugs and dreamers with an unknown fate in this political dispensation.
As I earlier stated, a lot of Nigerian youths are craving to join politics, but only handful of are in a sound financial position to acquire the form without the helping hands of family, friends and well wishers. Here, my fear is that one of two things may likely come into play, these are:
– When their family and friends assist them in any way to the power, they’ll do all they can to repay them with double of what they helped them with. In this scenario, there’ll be looting public funds beyond the one done by their predecessors.
– Old Hyenas would continue to be stairing the young leaders from behind the scene, as continuation of enriching their wards (their immediate families or political puppets) with all the necessary things to campaign and be in the power at our mercy. Youths will be disarmed of ideas and opinions of their own. Their thoughts and energies would shift to compensating and satisfying their masters financial obligations/egos. In this scenario, a Hausa adage “BA TA SAUYA ZANI BA (things remain the same)” is what will happen.
Therefore, in my opinion, in order to actualize this dream, the next struggle the president should assist the youth to actualize before the end of his term is to formulate and make into law a bill of “Not Too Poor To Rule”.
Muhammad Sagir Bauchi is a Public Affairs Analyst.