Thursday the 31st of May 2018 marks a milestone in Nigeria’s democratic journey and experiment, which no doubt has rekindled the flames of hope in the hearts of every Nigerian youth.
The announcement on that day by President Muhammadu Buhari on his decision to sign the ‘Not Too Young to Run’ bill was not only a victory for young Nigerians as a critical mass but for the Nation as a whole. This is indeed a victory for the young generation and Nigeria as a nation and many Nigerians are without doubt proud to stand with this decision.
For Nigeria to witness modern, visionary, inclusive and effective leadership, young people must rise to the occasion to realign the political space in favor of more people-centric and inclusive governance models. Nigeria is a proud nation of hardworking citizens who are in the majority youths who traverse the globe making massive accomplishments and impact in numerous sectors of human endeavor.
Therefore when given the right opportunity, the youths can replicate such feats in every strata of the society especially in the area of political leadership and public administration which is unanimously adjudged to require urgent transformation.
Today more than ever, young people in Nigeria are in a particularly unstable position: there are real inequalities within their generation as well as between them and older cohorts. They suffer from numerous untoward hardships, deprivation, neglect and marginalization and abuses of all sorts characterized by the inability of successive governments run by older politicians to prioritize actions and policies capable of addressing the real issues militating against human development such as acute poverty, poor educational systems, unemployment, insecurity, unfavorable business environment, lack of basic amenities to mention just a few but rather prefer to spend the scarce resources on superfluous matters of prime importance to them and their cronies at the expense of the masses.
Young people in Nigeria are at a critical point in their lives where the only thing they stand to inherit from this system of governance if they don’t take urgent actions today is a set of chronic social, economic and political challenges in addition to a huge debt burden and sharply divided polity. It is obvious that they have entrusted their lives into the hands of the older generation for far too long and unfortunately have nothing to show for that experience other than misery and hardship.
Gratefully, they have since realized that to make this country work, young people must rise to take their destinies into their hands, they must move out of their comfort zones, they must eschew their indifference to politics, they must make united action obligatory and join the mainstream political process from all fronts to rescue their dear country from its present crop of leaders with a view to provide a better alternative for its people.
It is also believed that power is not ceded willingly anywhere in the world and if young Nigerians want a better Nigeria, then they must resolutely stand for it by participating genuinely and doggedly in the entire cycle of the political process.
It is worthy to commend the conveners of the Not Too Young to Run campaign, all civil society organizations, the sponsors of the bill at both chambers of the national assembly, the leadership and members of the parliament at the federal and state levels who voted Yes to the bill and most importantly every Nigerian youth who worked assiduously towards the realization of this goal.
It is therefore a moment for Nigerian youths to increase its determination to stay awake all through the struggle, as the signing of this bill is not yet Uhuru for them but just the beginning of the journey.
For young people in the country to tap into the immense potentials and opportunities of this accomplishment, they would need to make concerted efforts to unite themselves and create a commonality of their voices and action to achieve a critical mass. Herein lies the challenge of the moment. If they work hard enough and fight long enough, they can finally bring change to Nigeria and the entire continent of Africa.