Permutations for 2019 political year are beginning to be rife no doubt. I’ve seen it, read it and written about it! Sounds interesting, isn’t it? Major and minor players have started testing strength, making surreptitious moves and exploring different options to realize their political dreams. They do so with the hope of achieving victory regardless of the many odds associated with politics. Principally, it’s no longer news that the kind of politics manifesting itself in Nigeria is largely characterized by the influence of old folks in high places. It is justifiable to say that those in the helm of affairs today are those who were in power in ages past. On the one hand, their interest is anchored on perpetuating themselves in power thereby having the leeway to loot public treasury and wield enormous power for protection and influence. On the other hand, some are still holding sway as public leaders to groom the younger generation for smooth transfer of power. No matter how it may look and sound, the truth of the matter is simple, nothing more, nothing less! In the year 2019, young people must mobilize themselves across party, religious and ethnic lines to be a credible voice of change and play leading role in the political permutations. It is not about being involved directly in politics but about changing mindsets and representing the promise of a better future. It is heart breaking to know that youths are only used and dumped after elections. They’re used as thugs to bring anarchy upon the land and help some politicians achieve their evil machinations at the expense of democracy. How sad! I make bold to say that quite a number of politicians in Nigeria have nothing to offer, only a few. This is regrettable. Many of them came to power through the barrels of gun, rigging, electoral fraud and other diabolical means. In this spirit, how can there be true change? How can Nigeria heave a sigh of relief and be taken to another dimension of prosperity and freedom? As I write this piece, I do so with a heavy heart because the youths have been cheated and betrayed beyond measure. They have been thrown out of the scheme of things and rendered almost useless. When election comes, their services would be sought for. What manner of hypocrisy! Have you ever asked why a politician sends his children abroad for better education and health care as the case may be while you his foot soldier who always fight on his behalf rot and achieve nothing in your country? Think about that. We are only known during elections and completely forgotten afterwards. I weep for my people.
In advanced democracies, youths are engaged for the purpose of achieving quality and purposeful leadership. They are equally engaged because they have what it takes to build a better society where everybody is a direct beneficiary. In such an atmosphere, everybody enjoys the dividends of democracy and tap from the wealth of those countries to overcome pressing economic challenges. The youths form a major part of the population of any given country thus; their potentials must be harnessed for the good of society. There can’t be meaningful development when youths are classified as second class citizens. During campaigns, regrettably, we hear of amazing promises and plans for the youths. What then happens when the politicians clinch victory? Nothing, but unfulfilled promises and having the hopes and aspirations of young people dashed. For how long shall these continue to happen? We must seek wisdom and protect our future. our integrity must not be dragged in the mud of dirty politics.

In his address to the youths of Kenya in 2015, former president Barack Obama made it clear that ‘’It is a revolutionary world we live in and it is the youths who must take the lead.’’ It is just fascinating to know that some leaders are working with the youths to turn things around. This is true in the context of Plateau state political leadership. Some capable youthful hands are part of the governance process and principally, they have demonstrated a dogged determination to add value in the leadership process. Truly, the ball is in our court to contribute overwhelmingly to nation building. Let us do so by putting aside our differences and burying all forms of primordial and pecuniary interests. We have the potentials to lead and deliver Nigeria out of the woods. The key is when we are given a chance. God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.


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2019: why youths must play leading role in politics – Satmak Dapar

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