Politics through the eye of a Gen-Z
Politics, a field abhorred by many and thought of as a controversial career path where people go to make blood money without consequence. A path that very few understand but controls our everyday life.
It is the engine manipulated by few and yet, it dictates our very existence as humans governed by the machinery of the state. Understanding this shrouded path is the career I chose.
This is the story of a young Nigerian female trying to uncover the mysteries that drive our country’s decisions; the concept known as Politics.
I first gained an interest in the Nigerian political sphere in 2017, during the Anambra State 2017 gubernatorial elections. Before then, like other young Nigerians, I maintained a passive interest in the affairs of the state. But that election changed my perspective.
In 2017, I worked as an ad-hoc electoral observer for the Centre of Democracy and Development (CDD) West Africa. I was assigned to some polling units, where as expected, there were clear cases of electoral malpractices.
Vote trading, stomach infrastructure, lobbying and downright threats were happening openly both to the electorates and the electoral officers.
All these were contained in the reports I submitted, but the statistics will later come to show that that election was one of the “freest and fairest” elections ever conducted.
This blew my mind. My curiosity was piqued and my mind engaged. I wanted to understand how this election that was obviously bought by the then incumbent governor could be considered free and fair “within a margin of error.” The answer I got was “this is politics, one side played it better.” That statement led me to my current self.
After that incident, I approached the then head of the political department at my Campus Radio, understudied him and took over from him after he left. I anchored political programmes and at the core of every programme, I kept trying to understand what drove politicians and their thought-process.
Following my graduation, I returned to Abuja and worked for an NGO that was interested in grooming the next generation of political leaders. There, I started as a volunteer personal assistant to the executive director and was retained as the Programmes Officer.
I later moved back to the East to work as a media aide to a 2021 gubernatorial aspirant. Due to personal reasons, he withdrew from the race and I went back to being a broadcast journalist for an online television station. Now, I have worked for two gubernatorial aspirants, and most recently, a Federal House of Representative aspirant.
I am giving all this background information to explain what led me to this column. One thing I have noticed through my very minimal exposure is that there is a serious problem. But of course, you knew this. Everybody in Nigeria knows this. But let me explain a bit.
In all my previous experiences, one thought kept resounding in my head; “I cannot do this. I cannot be an active politician”.
Because the politicking I witnessed is not something I think anybody in my generation has the patience for. You will agree with me that times are changing and it is causing a ripple effect across all fields: tech, hospitality, entertainment, social welfare, communication, etc.
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The times are changing, yet, politics seems unaffected by this change. On the surface, this is probably because the younger generation maintains a very vague or disinterested attitude towards anything relating to politics.
This may be because the average Nigerian is so self-reliant that problems that should be fixed by the government are solved by the common Nigerian, causing the disconnect between the people and the government.
Now, if politics is seemingly unaffected by this change and the Gen-Z generation continues to ignore the important role politics play in our existence, what is to become of politics in a few years? I agree that the future will somehow take care of itself and it is that process this column seeks to document.
I fall under the category of a “Gen-Z” and I am deeply interested in politics. I am still unsure if I want to be an active politician or if I want to maintain a backseat while helping to shape Nigeria’s political future. While I am on this journey, I invite you to join me in analysing and unshrouding politics from the perspective of a Gen-Z.
Just like we have brought innovation to various fields, let us do the same to the core that can literally make or mar us as a country. If nothing else, you will see politics like never before; That, I can promise you.
Nneka, a journalist and political enthusiast, writes from Awka