OPINION: Nigerian Youth And The Need For Political Engagement

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(File photo) A cross section of beneficiaries of Youth Empowerment and Skill Acquisition Programme, YESAP 8th Edtion by Kaduna Refining and Petrochemical Company. KRPC taking oath during opening ceremony held at Eletric Eletronic Department, Kaduna Polytechnic Friday 2nd December. 2016.
File photo: A cross section of beneficiaries of Youth Empowerment and Skill Acquisition Programme, YESAP 8th Edtion by Kaduna Refining and Petrochemical Company. KRPC taking oath during opening ceremony held at Eletric Eletronic Department, Kaduna Polytechnic Friday 2nd December. 2016.

By; SANI ALIYU

The dynamism of modern politics is  further excited by the reality of the internet and a consequent increased participation of the youth in political and civic matters.

But the place of the youths in our democratic space is jeopardized when the elite in our states decided to model our government after a gerontocracy, a government by the old and for the elderly. Ours is a system in which new and modern ideas are denied a change to grow and mature.

The tragedy of Nigerian democracy is that it is one in which the yearnings of the youths are stamped downtown in order to perpetuate a tyranny of interest. Tyranny it is when the agents of change are left on the cliffs of unemployment, poverty, insecurity, substandard education and worse still, policies destroyed by our heritage of corruption.

It is, however, understandable that our youth have lost hope in the leadership of this great nation, a sane society is known by the opportunities it provides for the youth, but, youths should not allow themselves to be drawn into any campaign that will attempt to colour the internal borders of our nation.

We are doomed as a nation the moment the youths get hoodwinked by the bickering of bitter politicians who ride to relevance on sentiments that only inspired, distrust among citizens.

So far, age does not guarantee maturity to responsibly play the role of a patriot in an atmosphere of tensed political antagonisms. Thankfully, this is the age of internet, borderless interactions in and out of cyberspace have opened a new door of social and political influences for the youth and the oppressed.

This age of information has revealed that no people can ever be entirely wrong at the same time, but the evil among us are so because of certain disorders in their education or even mental state.

There is no country in this world whose borders are simply surrounded by a people of the same identities, wishes and desires, our ability, in spite of the divides, to come to a consensus or sacrifice a case or compromise a stance, is what makes us a nation.

We have chosen to play the politics of exclusion where trust of the people is first for their kinsmen or religion before alignment with the nation. This dangerous departure from patriotisms, which saw to rise in ethnic advocacy, nepotism, bigotry and militancy has been used by enemies of change to subdue and destroy and quest for the Nigeria of our dreams a country where we abandon our bloodline in our service to the nation.

Mostly, unfamiliar and unrelated citizens in who lie the same purpose, in who life the hunger for a functional society, in who lie the dream of a new Nigeria.

Change, in this time of political anarchy, is the wisdom to see through the propagandas designed to destabilize our dear nation, change in this trying time, is the strength to stand together despite the distrust.

In this era of internet evolution and revolution is the maximization of the privileges offered by the internet in which everyman with laptop, tablet or mobile phone has a valid voice that must be heard.

The debate has always been that online representations of Nigeria in cyberspace do not capture our social realistic in the actual world. While I agree that cyber-Nigeria is not our absolute portrait since our non-literate fellow Nigerians in their teaming millions have been left out of its political exchanges and struggle of the nation.

Democracy loses its allure when it is perceived as a forte of the rich through oligarchic eyes, with such a mindset, the people themselves makes democracy expensive and destroys it. The moment you task your candidates with paying to earn your votes, you have lose your moral right to question his excesses.

To democratic Nigeria, we must understand the powers we refuse to explore, the ‘tyrants’ in democracy are actually individuals from amongst the people, but when they become agents of electoral malpractices and political dishonesty, the dice turns up against the people from which they have come.

The electoral officers who comply to rig a fair election abuse their chance of creating a saner nation while damaging the trust and hopes of an oppressed people of whom they are members, politics is not magic, it is a calculation of the good and the wrongs we do in the quest of power.

My commonsense understanding of engagement in a democratic polity is the realization of one’s rights, having studied and understood the deficiencies inherent in a system from which expectation of satisfaction have been unsatisfied.

Political engagement is inspired or justified by one’s decision to discharge his/her constitutional responsibilities in an attempt to either read to an unpopular reform or policy or merely embark on a personal quest to contribute one’s quota to a government found wanting.

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