By Adedotun Ajayi
Youths in Nigeria have a crucial role to play in the development and growth of the country, and one of the most important ways they can contribute to this development is by performing their civic responsibilities.
Civic responsibilities are duties and obligations that citizens owe their country and the society as a whole. In Nigeria, some of the civic responsibilities of youths include voting, paying taxes, community service, reporting crime and corruption and obeying the law.
Nigerian youths are energetic, resilient, vibrant, indefatigable and creative with the restless spirit and determination to excel in their various fields of endeavour.
Thus, the young men and women, by diligently exploring the technology world, have contributed immensely to job creation, revamping the economy and building related systems that have ultimately culminated in building a strong and virile economy and nation building by extension.
It is in recognition of the vital roles that youths play in nation building that this article serves as a wakeup call and obligatory charge to Nigerian youths to massively step up and take over the wheels of governance at all levels, in order to turn the wheel of the Nigeria State off the roads of decline and eventual collapse.
The youth are individuals between the ages of 18 and 35 they represent a significant portion of the population. This age group still makes up about 40 percent of the registered voters and, if properly mobilised, it can tilt the balance of political election outcome to whom it chooses. This group of people have the potential to shape the political landscape in significant ways.
It’s 2023 and the general elections are around the corner. The Nigerian youths have woken up from their political slumber to salvage our darling country from these social maladies, as well as the satanic gerontocratic hegemony rocking the nation from eon.
During the Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) collection, great turnout was recorded in different parts of the country.
As the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) commenced the distribution of PVCs to registrants at the ward level last month, prospective voters, especially youths, besieged the various wards in Akure to collect their PVCs.
A visit round the wards in Akure South Local Government Area of the state witnessed a good turnout of prospective voters who were out to collect their PVCs.
The youths have woken up from their slumber, and are ready to vote for their respective candidates.
Voting gives youths the power to influence decisions. Youth disenchantment with governance in Nigeria will become an empty threat if a critical mass does not vote and does not express a clear preference for a secured future. Disjointed participation by Nigerian youths will dash the hopes of those who wish to see fundamental changes in the landscape.
Nigerian youths can significantly impact the outcome of the 2023 elections if they are intentional about what the future means to them. There are instances in other climes when youths influenced electoral outcomes. Perhaps the most well-known is former US President Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign and election, which was driven by young people. In another example, the term “youth quake” was used in the United Kingdom after young voters saw British Labour Party deny the Conservative Party an expected majority win in 2017. Since it worked elsewhere, we hope it will work in Nigeria too.
Bukun Phil, business developer and a youth, in his submission, said this coming election won’t be like the previous ones because majority of the youths are actively involved and they are ready to come out in large numbers to vote.
According to him “Gone are the days when the youths participated less in the most critical aspect of the electoral process itself, which is voting. Some politicians mobilise youths into dangerous and sinister teams ready to die in doing their bidding of scattering the electoral process, but not anymore. The youths know better now, ready to vote not fight” he added
Omolola Adewumi, an entrepreneur, said times are different and the youths can clearly see now.
She said “The readiness of Nigerian youths to vote in this 2023 general elections depends on several factors, including voters’ education, access to information, voters’ registration, and civic engagement. All these things I’ve mentioned are not new to Nigerian youths. That is the major reason why I’m so sure Nigerian youths will vote and make sure it’s a free and fair one,” she reacted.
Ayomide Olupona, a political scientist from the Federal University, Oye Ekiti, said in recent times experts have cautioned that youth participation in this forthcoming election could be a recipe for violence or a potential risk factor for thwarting the process, if not properly managed by the political stakeholders.
According to him; “Nigerian youths are a double-edged sword that can be deployed for violence as well as peacebuilding in the electoral process. The marginalisation of the youth in governance, frustration and weak engagement by the government makes them available tools of violence during the election. There is a need to engage the youth through various means, including strategic communication to dissuade them from violence and deepen their role in promoting peace in the electoral process” he added.
Goke Adebiyi, a political analyst, said one of the leading discussions with broad interest is when Nigerian youths will have their chance. He said the youths have always been involved in politics and leadership, but there is little information about those in leadership positions. It will also be good if these youths showcase their tangible contributions to the country. Nonetheless, the 2023 elections have made the topic relevant because the potential winners understand that getting the youths’ votes is necessary.
He said “To ensure victory for the youths, they must vote, be united, and demand a vibrant economy from the next government.”
Leave a Reply