Nigerian Youths And The Challenge Of Leadership

All over the world, the paradigm of shifting political leadership to the doorsteps of the youths who have the ability, energy, vision and courage to take democratic governance to the next level is fast gaining grounds. But, here in Nigeria, the youths are often used as errand boys, thugs and used and dumped before, during and after elections by some of our elders.

This is even more pathetic, because some of them who are in position of authority today were people who enjoyed the benevolence of the elders of their time, but, today, some of them have destroyed the ladder and the platform provided for them by our founding fathers.The Nigerian Youth is today called all sorts of names; while some said they are inexperienced and incapable of been entrusted with leadership, others said, they have not demonstrated leadership qualities. This was what the APC National Leader, Senator Ahmed Bola

Tinubu told Leo King of the Voice of America (VOA) in the interview he granted to the broadcast station but was aired on August 1st 2013. While Leo King suggested to Tinubu on the need to give younger people the chance of governance and also complained on how the youths have been sidelined by Nigerian elders, Tinubu responded by saying: “Some of the young ones have not demonstrated some qualities that will assure Nigerians that they are ready for leadership”. While I may not out rightly disagree with him in his assertion, but, I must also ask, how can the young ones be trained and where is the opportunity and the platform form for them to demonstrate their leadership qualities when some of the elders continue to use and dump them during and after elections?Nonetheless, some of the characters often displayed by some of our youths are not really encouraging! Any youth who wants to be entrusted with political power should not only have confidence in

his ideas, but must also have high sense of believe in the future of Nigeria! They must not indulge in advanced fees fraud, criminality, kidnapping for immediate gains. They must also say no to those who will want to use them as hired assassins and political thugs so as to tame their opponents. The Nigerian youths must clearly define their purpose in life and pursue it with every sense of vigor and steadfastness. They must say no to Mr. A and Mrs. B whose sons and daughters are in the Ivy League schools in Europe and America studying, but would want to use them to cause confusion and other denigrating things in the country. They must courageously look them in their eyes balls and say sir or madam, please bring your son or daughter in Harvard University or Yale University to come and lead the operation!Also, Nigerian youths should stop showing lackadaisical attitudes to our political systems. The youths cannot be living their cocoons or under the shadow

of their political indifference and wished change in to being. Today, every Nigerian youth makes reference to President Obama's ability of becoming the first African-American President; no one will want to replicate what the American youths did for Mr. Obama in Nigeria. It will be recalled that, between 2007 and 2008 when President Obama declared his Presidential intention and was first elected as President of the United States; while some of our youths were busy on the internet looking for “Oyibo man” to “Chop” his dollar, the American youths between the ages of 18—29 years came out enmass and said no to those who had been dominating and defining American politics for them. These were people who needed change and were truly committed to achieving it, and not like some of us here in Nigeria who will shout “Generational change” during campaigns, but, some days to the election would allow a bag of rice to change their position. Our youths

must understand that, where purpose is not clearly defined, abuse become inevitable, hence, we will be living in fool's paradise if we assume that our elders will approve us if we don't prove ourselves. No International Convention, no World's Youths Day Celebration can grant us our desire in the country if we continue to maintain complacency about our political system. Our elders will continue to think that we are satisfied with the current system of excluding us from governance!If the Nigerian youths are tired with the current state of roaming the streets with their CV's packed in nylon files, then 2015 elections presents a better opportunity for us to use our ballot powers to elect leaders who will listen to our cries during elections and do something about them when voted in to power. We should not be fooled by those who will pack their jeeps in their garage to enter the same “KEKE NAPEP” with us and give us their “Election phone

numbers” just to create the impression that they are accessible, but after the election, will change their numbers and make themselves inaccessible! Fellow Nigerian Youths, if we don't prove to our elders that we are ready now, their language will continue to be, the youths are incapable of been entrusted with political leadership. Hence, 2015 is the best time to say “Yes We Can” to our elders!

Comrade Edwin Ekene Uhara is an Activist and Public Affairs Commentator.

He is also the National President of Young Nigerians for Change.No. 9, Imgbi Road, Yenagoa, Bayelsa State,

Nigeria.07065862479, [email protected]

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Articles by Edwin Uhara