As we join the rest of the world to mark the world youth day, an annual celebration of the role of young women and men as essential partners in change, it is an opportunity to raise awareness of challenges and problems facing the world’s youth.
This year’s “Safe Spaces for Youth” theme emphasizes on the need to grant safe spaces where youths can come together to engage in activities relating to their diverse needs and interests, as well as participate in decision-making processes. With the theme, the nation should reflect on whether we are not far off the track or not, that’s the only way we can be true to ourselves.
In truth, it has been signed to law, the Not Too Young To Run bill and we were glad it passed the hurdles despite several attempts in some quarters to sniff the living out of the bill. That is history now.
It is not Uhuru yet, because as it stands, some persons among the political elite still hide under a baseless fact that youths are inexperienced to take up elective positions. I beg to differ on this; our forefathers were between age bracket of 30 and 45 when they emancipated our nation. Professor Pat Utomi was between 27 and 30 years when he became the special assistant to former President Shehu Shagari. The annoying thing is that most youths in this generation who are between ages 27 and 33 are either still in schools after being held by various industrial actions, or not even having a plan for themselves or still living and depending on their parents for daily bread. What a pity to our generation!
Another is the financial muscle needed to contest and win elections in this part of the world no youth can contest and win; in fact the youth has been discouraged. Lest electoral stakeholders in the country ensure that Nigeria’s politics is not necessarily about the person with biggest pockets, it will be difficult to have people with biggest ideas coming into power. The youth will never find their way into an elective position in the country.
In the words of UN Secretary-General António Guterres, “The hopes of the world rest on young people. Peace, economic dynamism, social justice, tolerance — all this and more, today and tomorrow, depends on tapping into the power of youth.”
So, it’s high time a Nigerian youth became a top political leader. We are the leaders of today not tomorrow!
- Ibrahim Qudus, Osogbo, State of Osun