APC AND ITS PROBLEMATIC YOUTH POLICY
Recently the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) held its national convention to select its national officers who would pilot the affairs of the party on a substantive basis. But the convention, which threw up a new executive, left in its wake matters that would shape the perception and acceptability of the party or otherwise by the electorate, especially the youths.
Some of the leaders of the party have described the convention as a sham, insisting that what transpired at the convention was everything but election. Leaders like Chief Tom Ikimi and Ali Modu Sherrif have knocked the convention saying that it was held to ratify the bidding of one man, a situation they said negated the principles on which the party was founded.
Even before the outburst of Ikimi and co., there had been pockets of protest trailing the conduct of the state congresses of the party across the country. Party members in almost all the 36 states of the federation rued the way and manner former governor of Lagos State, Ahmed Bola Tinubu, has been calling the shots in a party that claims to be practising internal democracy.
This piece is, however, not meant to interrogate the morality of the party's claim as being an epitome of progressivism and democratic ideals but to look at its averment that youths are accorded a prime place in the party.
The results of the just-concluded national convention of the party showed that the party disposition to the welfare and wellbeing of the youth is out of sync with its claim.
For instance, the selection of Ibrahim Dasuki Jalo from Gombe State as the National Youth Leader of the party gives much to be desired. Jalo, in his early 50s, is certainly not a youth and should therefore not have been imposed on the party youths. Concerted efforts by the party to downplay the issue have not succeeded: the party's claim that Jalo was 49 or 43 has only weakened its position, against the backdrop of it's the provision of its constitution which spells out the age bracket of a youth as between 18 and 40 years.
A vast majority of members of the national executives of the party are in their 60s and above. The implication of this is that the party has no place for the youths in the party, and if per chance the party wins any elective position in the 2015 general election, the chances of appointing youths to strategic position in the government the party will form will be slim.
It is said that youths are the future of any nation or organization as the case may be, but APC does not seem to appreciate this, forgetting that the youths form the bulk of the voters in the forthcoming general election in the country. If the wonderful youths of this country are inconsequential to the party that claims that it has what it takes to take the country to the Promise Land, then the party is a huge joke in the bid to wrestle power from the ruling party at the centre, which was the main purpose of forming the party.
Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) National Publicity Secretary, Olisa Metuh, said that it was shocking for a party that said it stood for truth to lie over the age of its youth leader. 'If Ibrahim Dasuki Jalo was 49 years old in 2011, it naturally follows that he is 53 at present for which he should be grateful to God. It is, therefore, clear that the statement by the APC declaring him to be 43 years old is false. Whilst we concede that the APC has the right to select a person of any age for any position within their fold, including a man of 53 as a national youth leader, we are, however, shocked that they chose to lie over issue as ordinary as the age of a national officer,” Metuh said.
The newly-elected National Chairman of the party, Chief John Odigie Oyegun should note that if the youths are not well treated and accommodated, the party should forget the support of the youths in the forthcoming general elections because the youths have no future in the party as shown by its just-concluded National Convention. The scorn with which the party holds the youths is obvious in both the state and national offices of the party. And this does no credit to the self-acclaimed progressive party.
Written By Abimbola Jones