• Friday, April 12, 2024
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Stakeholders want more youths in politics

Youths advised to tap opportunities in communication industry

Experts have called for more inclusive youth participation in Nigeria’s politics to enable them to learn the ropes and become grounded in the political leadership of the country.

Nigeria has one of the largest youth populations in the world, with a median age of 18.1 years. About 70 percent of the country’s population are under 30, while 42 percent are under the age of 15. In spite of this huge youth population, the nation’s political space is dominated by old-generation politicians.

Making a case for the youth to become more politically involved, Gbenga Olurnpomi, head of media, National Youth Conference, decried the idea of inviting the youth to the table, rather than having the table themselves.

“I believe we need to move away from youth inclusiveness to building the future around the youth. The recent revelation by INEC shows that about 51 percent of registered voters are between 18 and 35 years old. That means that, as a block, they can decide the destiny of Nigeria.

“We must build the country’s development plans on the back of our youth. They must own the table, not be invited to it. Yes, they may lack experience but nobody learns to drive by sitting in the back seat. Opportunities and mentorship is the way to go. The private sector must get involved in the process of churning out good young leaders for us.

“They must be deliberate to give the youth the best tools to not only survive but to actually excel. Then, the best of the best should be encouraged to run for both legislative and executive positions. With the skills they have picked up in the private sector, and also learned from the past errors and successes of our political leaders, I believe they will do very well and give Nigeria and Africa productive leadership,” Olurnpomi said.

Read also: 2023: Progressive youth hold parley to deepen youth inclusion in politics

Friday Erhabor, the executive director of research and strategy at Markcelenz Limited, called on the Nigerian political leaders to put in place structures to accommodate more youth in line with the theme of the 2022 International Youth Day, “intergenerational solidarity: creating a world for all ages.”

“It is high time youth in Nigeria started setting a new political agenda for the country. The potential of Nigerian youth will remain a mirage if they are not allowed to be actively involved in governance, with only the analogue leaders who are bereft of ideas on how contemporary societies and economies are managed to dictate the pace.

“In fact, anyone above 70 years should not come near any executive elective post in the country, ” he said.

For Ebuka Nnaji, a youth activist in Lagos, youths are the future of any country and the future is now. Hence, he called on the youth to stir up the giants in them and go for political offices instead of asking that someone should give them the platform.

“No doubt, youths are adventurous and can be stupid at times, but that should not hinder them from taking their position in the political landscape,” he said.

According to Nnaji, “this can be achieved through proper dissemination of information to the grassroots, regular orientation and re-orientation. Moreover, specific offices and roles should be left solely for the youths. And there should be provision for subsidised nomination form fees, dues, and there should be an age ceiling in place.”

Similarly, Adebayo Olatunde, a student at the University of Lagos, stressed the need to groom the younger generation to aid the seamless transition of leadership from the old breeds.