It is barely a little over a month since new phase of leadership was established in Nigeria’s democracy, albeit its a returning government for the Buhari-led administration, likewise some state governors, federal and state lawmakers were lucky enough to return for another term.
As expected, the new government accross all level is already making various appointments and many more expected in the coming weeks. But a closer look at the political affairs of the country will reveal one thing: the continued marginalisation of youths in the affairs of government!
Constituting the largest population and the most productive segment of the country, the Nigerian youths continue be looked simply as too young to be productive.
Although since the passage of the “Not to young to rule” bill last year by the Nigerian senate, a significant number of younger people (mostly technically above youthful age) have been elected into governance at various level.
There’s news of youths elected and even gaining speakership roles in plateau and Oyo state, Benue state even produce the youngest state lawmaker in the country named Cephas Dyako Ashwa(Said to be 28). While this is a step forward, The sad reality remains that the attitude of our leaders towards the youths in Nigeria largely remains the same.
A look at the trend of political appointments accross the country would reveal a rare participation of people under the 35 years of age.
On assumption of power in 2015, president Buhari promised an all inclusive appointments for His government.
Naturally, this led many to believe that youths will also be part of his cabinet and other federal appointments. Unfortunately for some reasons only known to the president, the hope of youthful involvement in his cabinet quickly vanishes as soon as the list of ministerial nominees was published, with the youngest nominee said to be 44 or 45 years.
The same story also goes with the state governors. Fast forward to 2019 so far, the same pattern is being played out, with the stories of government lobbyist heavily pressurising the presidency and the governors to appoint their often old retired relatives, friends or associates for Juicy political positions at the expense of the youths.
Although few political aides are youths, but are political aides anything other than errand boys or girls? while i dont have any problem with a political aide(PA or SA as they are called) the position is insignificant for any meaningful development or contribution, after all, political aides are known to be greedy self-serving individuals.(who will blame them?)
In 2019, I’m afraid i still dont see any hope for the youths in terms of government appointments.
The situation is so worrisome that today if the president or any governor appoint a 41 or 45 year old man or woman, the whole country or state celebrate it as a youthful employment, shame! It is worth knowing that about 3 years ago president Donald Trump appoint a certain 27 year old lady named Hope Hicks as his white house communications director, why cant our leaders in Nigeria do same? The continued relagation of the youths out of the political space is having a psychological impact to our development leading many youths to lack self confidence.
Mali’s president, Ibrahim Boubacar Keita recently named 35 year old Kamissa Camara as his new foreign minister, also zimbabwe’s president Emerson Mnangagwa recently appoint 34-year-old Kirsty Coventry as His sports minister (a far cry from Buhari’s riddiculous appointment of Simon Dalong, as Nigeria’s youth and sports minister) but of special interest is the appointment of Botswana’s minister of Investment, Trade and industry:
In April this year, Botswana’s 30-year-old minister for Investment, Trade and Industry became an internet sensation as young people across Africa saw her as a beacon of hope for youth representation at the highest level in politics. Bogolo Joy Kenewendo, who became Botswana’s youngest ever minister, had made history as the youngest MP when she was appointed by the former president Ian Khama.
So what is wrong with us in Nigeria? Are we not having leaders in the youth section capable of handling governance? Are our leaders aware of the political the developments going on in other African countries?
We must raise our voice across all platforms and seek a greater participation in governance across all level and at the highest level! after all, this same people marginalising us saw the time when Nigeria witness her most productive period in the 60s and 70s under the leadership of people aged 25, 27, 30,35,37, 40 and 45 or have they forgetten?
As much as i agree the times are no longer the same and morallity has steadily declined among the youthful population, we still have tons of young people(under 35) of examplary character and leadership who are more than capable of handling governance.
The time to act and save the Nigerian youths is now.
As youths we must believe in ourselves. We must strive for excellence and good character, we must minimise the way we promote older politicians and begin to promote ourselves for good.
God bless the Nigerian youths.
Musa s. Ya’u