Nigerian youths are affected mainly by bad governance in Nigeria. The country has not tapped into the energy of the young, energetic people who make up a substantial portion of the growing population.
The Nigerian general election is in 2023; if you don’t have your Permanent Voters Card (PVC), learn how to get your’s today. If you already do, then who are you going to vote for?
For all our sakes, I hope you don’t have someone above the ‘actual age’ of 55 in mind. Anyway, I know you do, but I was hoping you didn’t. What choice do you have? The only options presented to you are the old washed-out political godfather/candidates and nothing more. There may be a few young people here and there, but are they really candidates?
In the past, Nigeria was governed by young, vibrant Nigerians below the age of 60, but sadly, that is not the case in modern Nigeria. Sadly, the people in government in the early 20th century (the 1900s) are still ruling till the present 21st century. So if I may ask, where are the young people? I mean those that are age 30 – 49 years old? Why are we not seeing young people eager for a change in a corrupt society?
So far, the youth parties I’ve noticed in Nigeria are the Youth Party, Youth Democratic Party of Nigeria, and Young Progressives Party. You may not have heard of these parties; however, they exist, but I wonder what for. They have shown no positive drive or goal towards state affairs and no interest in youth leadership or systemic change. It appears that some people were eager to own a political party with the word “youth” in it to make it look like there was a political party for young people. They are neither strong nor influential, and people don’t even know they exist. In short, they are not formidable.
The youngest candidate for the 2023 presidential election so far is Khadijah Okunnu-Lamidi, KOL, and she is not even aligned with any of these parties. Sadly, she chose another party that most people haven’t heard of, called the Social Democratic Party (SDP). Young Nigerians may be rooting for her in spirit, but I doubt they will with their voters’ cards. This stems from the reason that they don’t believe that the older generation in power will ever let young people into political positions to govern the entire country.
The Wake-Up Call
Nigerian youths woke up and united for once during the End Sars protest. It was the biggest cross-national and international protest Nigeria has ever seen in forever, and it was created and sponsored by the youths. For once, young people took to the streets to protest police brutality by speaking up on the ills done to them by the special arm of the police force called SARS.
They had been enduring the brutality and death of their peers for years until they decided to wake up and protest. This was really the first time that every youth came together despite class, sex, religion, and tribe to create something bigger than themselves. I believe that if they could orchestrate the incredible organization and planning they did across states, including the youth in the diaspora, they could do anything.
They created a radio station called Soro Soke Radio (“Speak up” in Yoruba) to create awareness of their cause and join in their fight for justice.
But What happened? Where has that youthful energy gone?
1. The ‘defeat’ at Lekki Toll Gate
The End Sars protest was going fine until October 20th, when the peaceful protest at Lekki Toll Gate in Lagos was violently reportedly repressed by the Nigerian army with live ammunition rounds. There have been controversies about what happened that day, especially about the number of people killed. This made the protest go downhill fast, ending the peaceful protest with a nightmare.
According to Amnesty International, the Nigerian authorities refused to explain the mysteries about what happened that nightmarish night. It’d not be surprising to see Nigerian youths shy away from politics today because of those. They are now scared and traumatized to come forward; after all, only a living body lives to tell the tale. No one wants to die, and no one wants to die young.
2. The Southeast suffers from myopic hooliganism, and gunmen attack
The youths in the southeast are breeding separatist factions in the name of Nnamdi Kanu and IPOB. The fight against Nigerian governance has made young boys and men pick up guns to terrorize their people.
It’s stupid, but they are doing it, threatening their people against getting their voters’ cards, imposing sit-at-home on Mondays, and every annoying, frustrating thing. These youths are not interested in conjoining to create a formidable youth Nigerian party anytime soon.
3. Those in the North are filial children
When their peers were speaking up against oppression in different parts of Nigeria, a northern youth group opposed the scrapping of the controversial Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) of the Nigeria Police.
The Northern Youth Assembly of Nigeria (NYAN) took to the streets with placards. They believed that the police unit only required reform and was only created in good faith to checkmate the illegal activities like kidnapping, banditry, and armed robbery. However, it’s a different experience for the south-west, south-east, and south-south youth groups. Asides from this betrayal, the youth in the North are too ‘respectful’ in their own ways.
Back to Sleep
We can say the Aluta Continua spirit has gone back into hibernation for now because everyone has returned to sleep. Who knows when the Soro Soke spirit will be revived again? Young Nigerians have the potential to create a powerful youth group and society for change. They have the potential to breed leaders; if they could shake Nigeria within a few days of their protest, then they can do anything. But they’ve once again gone back to sleep.
The truth is that the youths are not ready for leadership. All over the world, young people are chasing material wealth that is controlled by none other than the old wealthy people via capitalism. Sincerely speaking, young people need to be woke of what’s happening to them rather than dwell on conspiracy theories on social media.