Sunday, 16 January 2022

Opinion: Political Participation, Governance And The Nigerian Youth – Rt. Hon. Daniel Asuquo

I still recall with nostalgia my entrant into politics especially when I contested for the position of Local Government Chairman in Akamkpa. Many had written us off, as they considered us greenhorns that have nothing to offer. Their position did not deter us as we push against all odds and surmounted all the challenges. I still have fond memories of my time as Chairman and how we the young people made a difference.

What has changed since then? It was when I listened to the discussions a few days ago in the political talk show on FAD FM, Hardline and the discussants did justice to the topic, Youth in politics that I sat back and traveled memory lane on my political journey. Yes! It was indeed a humble beginning that I can't let go of with ease.

Then the question of what has changed played back in my memory? Well! A lot has changed within this period. But if I am to make an honest assessment, I will say, the concept of survival of the fittest has wrongly been applied to the wrong set of people. what we see play out in the youth is indeed a damning indictment of the elite leadership that our youth have been consistently consigned to the backwaters of national planning and action.

To summarise the situation, the youth have been subjected to a benign disposition fashioned in a national morality by a myopic selfish and self-centred leadership, paucity of time and attention, etc.

I am saying this because this has been the situation from time past. The discussion on FAD FM left a positive imprint, hence my position. If I am to continue the blame game, it will leave very little to be desired.

Hence, one of the things I have earmarked for positive radical once I man Government House is changed, by bringing youth inclusiveness especially in the boardroom., political participation and making their voices to be heard. One of the key components of my discussions has always been a partnership. And to secure this participation by the youth, our potentially focused youth-oriented/participation will be developed within the same ambit of our blueprint and not fractured up and taken for granted but with effective representation and to make a meaningful contribution in all the programmes affecting the youth".

These youths will be adults someday charged with running the affairs of this country. Their voices need to be heard either individually or as organized youth opinions. If you listen to the various programmes and campaigns ongoing by aspirants and politicians alike, very little is mentioned about the youth. It's rather reflective of the fact that we don't have what to offer the youth which is politically not correct. For me, I think we look at the big picture so much when the youths are the big picture here. This is because we have a creation in our minds of what the big picture is outside the youth.

What we see in the youth today is a reflection of what our country is. They constitute a large part of our population. We have lost it and we need to retrace our steps and give relevance to the youth population instead of using them as cannon fodders in the perpetration and entrenchment of the sundry elements of a national death wish that sums up our social engineering of ineptitude, political banditry, and economic profligacy.

The event of the END SARS protest is still very fresh in our minds about the strength and unity of the youth. We saw the first-class, the rape of the society that denied them the opportunity to find a future. We saw the enterprising youth population in the game of mischief that carried out disruptive social upheavals with such mastery and sophistication that makes a mockery of the revered Italian mafia. We saw transferred aggression and sundry forms of secondary violence.

These were just a little manifestation of the unwholesome tutelage that a decadent national culture was inculcating in what will become tomorrow's Nigeria. We doubt if the future is truly bright going by these sad realities. Our flight into escapism by the continued abuse and neglect of our youth will assuredly bequeath a potentially explosive national environment that will not be safe for anyone.

We have taught the wrong moral lesson too long and its time to effectively mobilize and cultivate in our youth an investment of purpose, an investment of deconstruction for reconstruction, an investment of peace, social justice, equality, transparency, commitment, trust, participation, an investment of stability and prosperity. This is what I am offering to the youth, and the time starts now.