FCT youths and need for violence-free elections
By Isaac David
The election fever is here again and youths in Federal Capital Territory (FCT) are not left out. They are busy on the social media landscape, hurling insults at each other and posting hate speeches on behalf of one candidate or the other.
The idea of youth as leaders of tomorrow has reduced a demographic majority to a political minority, meaning that while the youth control the majority of votes cast during elections, they end up with almost nothing after elections are won and lost. This usually happens when the political appointee in charge of youth affairs is not even a youth.
Today’s reality is a polity where Nigerian youths are used as election consultants, social media battalions, and political thugs.
Many have blamed the new trend on a conspiracy of the elite class who just cannot stand the idea of vacating the scene for the younger generation, thereby creating a system that makes it impossible for young people to emerge and succeed in politics and governance.
The politics of the political parties has turned young Nigerians who were once friends into public enemies. Political participation becomes much more meaningful when the youth are able to express their preferences, aggregate their interests, and influence public officials and public policy, using avenues and opportunities in the political system towards helping to maintain government’s accountability and demanding transparency and responsiveness in public life.
Nigeria’s democracy had for long been taken over by sit-tight corrupt political office holders who refused to give way for the youth who are leaders of tomorrow.
There is therefore the need to deepen inter-generational dialogue and knowledge transfer and promote youth participation in public governance, a model that most developing nations have adopted to spur democratic development, guarantee equal opportunity and participation of youth in the political process.
In Nigeria today, the campaign rallies, thuggery and e-thuggery, praise singing and other dirty sides of politics are being carried out by youths. This is unacceptable.
They need to recognize and nurture the strengths, interests, and abilities of young people through the provision of real opportunities for the youth to become involved in political decisions that affect them at individual and systemic levels. POWER IS NOT GIVEN. IT MUST BE GRABBED. The youth can no longer be content with being the mouthpiece of the spent gerontocrats who give them handouts.
Let the youth stop being a generation decorated and immersed in cowardice. We call on the youth of FCT to shine their eyes and act wisely and shun all acts of thuggery and violence. They should remember that after the elections, they will be consigned to the dustbin of history till another election cycle. Their only weapon now is their PVC and their ability to convince the electorate to vote for performing candidates.
We also call on the electoral institutions and the security agencies to provide a level playing field for all candidates so as not to give the youth an opportunity to vent their accumulated grievances and rupture the electoral process through violence. We therefore call on the youth to remain eternally vigilant and protect their votes.
*Commandant Isaac David sent in this piece from Abuja.