So a close friend of mine posted and asked this question on his Facebook wall on the 10th of April, 2018
“It is pitiful that those talking against the Presidential ambition of young minds are young minds. Are we cursed?”
Below represents my long comment under his post (with little edit after proof-reading but exactly the same submissions) which surprisingly created different reactions positively and negatively. I have decided to also publish the comment here, first to serve as a future guide personally in the nearest future, If I ever have to do anything along this line politically and possibly to initiate further discussion with interested persons.
Here you go:
In as much as I don’t have anything against any young persons running for any political seat, I will also not vote in one just because they are young because that is the least factor I will consider for leadership and I will try to explain my reasons as short as possible.
SYSTEMs and STRUCTUREs
Since this is purely political. One of the things we lack in our political space is ideology; as a person, as a political party and largely as a society. So these so young people we are talking about, what are their ideologies on key National, State or Local Government issues? What is their understanding of the present political system and structure of the country? I know they are presently bad and unattractive, but sadly as we have it that is what is legally binding us as a country.
So how do we change these systems and structure ? from within ? from outside? I will posit that, it is as much as difficult to change it from outside, if not more than changing it from within. Most Youths want the “CHANGE” but they are not ready to work or lead GENUINELY? How do you change something you don’t understand how it works? and I am sure you will agree with me that a larger percentage of Nigerian youths don’t adequately know how the system works.
Most of the democratic Young leaders we always use as examples worldwide are products of and have worked diligently to improve their political system at one point in time. So they work with their like minds to build ideologies, share/deepen narratives and generally have a stand, whether relatively right or wrong. So, coming out to run for a political position few months to the election just to bank on the incumbent failure is nothing but wishful thinking at best and being a young person is just a narrative without a strong foundation and definitely not core to our governance as it stands. Also, I can only, at the moment point to REVOLUTION/COUP as the only way to change the system from outside and if you will agree with me, that is presently not feasible in Nigeria due to other dynamics we have amidst with we have numerous cultural, ethnic and religious standings.
Sequel to my first point, I personally rate governments or societies worldwide based on these yardsticks; LAWs, POLICIES and REFORMs. So, the younger ones running for political leadership seat need to come up with these things and how they want to achieve them. Our Education is bad, how do you want to improve it? Do we have high-rate of unemployment? how do they want to reduce it? Inflation? What reforms, laws and policies are they going to push forward to solve these problems (which hopefully they have identified), same can be said about our internal securities and healthcare systems and not just mere making noise about CHANGE !!, TRANSFORMATION !!, CHANGE THE CHANGE !! everywhere. What is the stand of these so-called young people on issues like LandUseAct, State Policing, Resource Control, state autonomy?
POLITICS and WINNING ELECTION
Also, politics is a game of numbers especially in democratic setup and same goes for winning elections. So, as regards these young people, have they personally and objectively evaluated their political weight before deciding to run for a position? Even in saner democratic societies, elections are largely won by political parties and few based on individual popularity. To be clear on political popularity which is also indirectly based on their political parties or personal political stand. You don’t expect a Bill Gates or a Mark Zuckerberg to win US presidential election just because they are wealthy, well -traveled, internationally renowned, young or old? Do you?
These young people, what political party are they representing ? to be clear again, what is the number of their political party/groups registered members in their respective Local Government of origin ? in Alimosho LG in Lagos state, UVWIE in Delta state or EGBEDA in Ibadan? I won’t be able to summarize how this helps in winning elections and I have seen and read about the same thing even in our supposed saner climes.
This can only be built based on political popularity which is based on how much of “Human Face” your supposed leadership or party has. How do people connect with your leadership? Where are these young people during the #OccupyNigeria? Where are they during the recent Fuel pump price increment? Where are they during the #OtodoGbame issue in Lagos state? where are they or what is their stand on the Boko Haram, Fulani Herdsmen issue? Because these are arguably their potential voters, so they are supposed to vote for them based on what?
It is when they show workings on issues like these that we can now start bringing in other distracting but also important factors like Age, Experience, Foreign Exposure, Wealth etc.
1. Fela Durodoye cannot win any state in Nigeria as it stands and same goes for Sowore whom I guess you are indirectly talking about and if you objectively look at my reasons as discussed above, you can deduce the position they both should be running for instead of the presidency.
2. In as much as we like it, we are not going to have a “youthful” president until we start producing competent ones at the National Assembly as well as at the state levels. Yahya Bello and Dino both of Kogi, Dimeji Bankole of Ogun, Adesina of Oyo State quickly comes to mind.
3. True political leadership is HARD WORK and yes I meant SERIOUS HARD WORK and that is why you see most intellectuals always getting selective positions instead of elective ones.
4. There are good people and potential leaders in APC, PDP, SDP etc. in as much we will agree there are, generally in Nigeria.
Let me end this by a favorite quote of mine:
Nigerians likes to speak in English but think in Vernacular – Father Kukah