By Denrele Animasuan
“The secret message communicated to most young people today by the society around them is that they are not needed, that the society will run itself quite nicely until they — at some distant point in the future — will take over the reigns.
Yet the fact is that the society is not running itself nicely… For society to attempt to solve its desperate problems without the full participation of even very young people is imbecile.” — Alvin Toffle
The news that Muhammadu Buhari will be seeking a second term in office in the coming elections next year may not have been a surprise to many. There have been speculations and innuendos across the nation for some months now, speculations are rife with constant derisions and hope that he would or he would not as the case may be. Now the gloves are off and the mudslinging has been ratcheted up several notches by those who have been eyeing the position from a distant.
Well, it is a free country and if they feel they are capable enough, then they should throw their hat into the ring. They may want to run for the office and it is up to the people to decide who in 2019 should be given the office of the presidency. I would politely remind those with such lofty ambition to do so, but please look at Trump and what is happening in America today. Not everyone is capable or suitable of the post and when people become frustrated and angry that their voice is not heard or that they are ignored, they tend to vote in anger or are taken in by some idealist maverick who promises to make the country great again!
Politicians have often taken the people that voted them in for granted. Be careful of such pipe dreams or, voting in anger as it had such serious consequences and one that cannot be changed until another election or political upheaval. Sadly, money talks and when poverty is rife mixed with an uneducated; gullible majority; the powerful tend to capitalise on their inadequacies, their fear, rational or irrational, a political Molotov devise to divide and conquer.
So, thus history continues to repeat itself. The pattern so far, too many people have been let down, too many times by politicians who promise better living conditions, improved infrastructures, access to education, employment and healthcare. Most of these promises do not materialise and once again, politicians are convincing many to once again, put their trust on them. There is a saying; fool me once shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me. It has been one too many times and it is high time for Nigerians to vote with their conscience, common sense and determination that come 2019, the right person gets their votes.
Sadly, many had hoped that PMB would come in and make sweeping changes and uproot corruption, destroy the terrorists, restore law and order in one quick swoop. That is impossibility; this mess has taken decades to permeate every stratum of institution, establishments and people. It will take years and a concerted collective mind set and, this is a tall order. Many are too comfortable clawing money by corrupted means and for them it is important to retain the status quo. So for PMB, it has not been smooth sailing for the president.
He has not been the man that many had hope; that he would put Nigeria back in order. That was then, this is now. It is unrealistic to use yester year’s yards stick to measure today. Firstly, his health and speculation of his health have been a distraction, and while reviving treatment many in the opposition have stoked the fire, that he was seriously unwell, that he was too old and unhealthy to run the country. His vice president stepped in while he recuperates and on “medical leave” in the UK for three months for an undisclosed illness, if the mischief makers were expecting a political vacuum, they did not get their wish. The Prof made sure he maintained a dignified composure until PMB returned.
PMB‘s absence open old fears; and many were concerned until his return to Nigeria which quelled many of the speculations of his early demise.
To be frank, far too many things that was promised, has not materialised, much to the disappointment of many and this was capitalised by his political opposition. His return was a disappointment to many and to return to office, was far from what expected by the political mischievous opposition. So this is not the news that they wanted to hear, this has definitely through the political spanner in the works.
Of course, the proverbial knives are out and one prominent voice of dissent is that of OBJ, Olusegun Obasanjo. In an open letter he called on PMB not to seek re-election because of his age and alleged poor health. This is disingenuous coming from OBJ. He went on to say that he was disappointed with PMB, that he handled the Nigeria economy poorly.
According to PMB’s spokesperson, the president has accepted the criticism in good faith, but it should be noted that significant progress had been made under his rule in tackling Nigeria’s problems. Now, that is up for debate. Without a doubt there have been some progress made but not enough. Ordinary Nigerians are feeling the burden of poverty, hunger and hopelessness and helplessness, most significantly, the most vulnerable and the young people have been disenfranchised and not given been given opportunities to thrive and legitimately participate in politics.
They have been side-lined and made political fodder by unscrupulous politicians to fight and agitate their oppositions for pittance and rent a mob existence. They have been denied opportunities to actively participate in an inclusive agenda that is visible and positive that would lead to sustainable growth. This has not been the case, instead, young people who should have been the backbone of working Nigerians are left to fallow and denied their future by the older people, who are unwilling to let go of power or release the reins of power.
In the meantime, PMB in his statement said that, he declared his intention to run for another term in office because the issue had dominated political discourse in the country. “I declared before leaving home because Nigerians were talking too much about whether I would run or not. So, I felt I should break the ice. We have many things to focus on, like security, agriculture, economy, anti-corruption, and many others,”
To the young people, please use your vote and do so wisely and ensure who ever becomes president has got to engage the country’s young people. The young people of Nigeria should know that they have the power and the future of Nigeria depends on them and their decisions.
Nigeria is booming.
Well, it is sort of booming, at least, if everything else is flailing, the population is swelling according to the Chairman, National Population Commission, Mr. Eze Duruiheoma, the estimated population of the country is now 198 million.
Previous data was 182 million and more than half its people under 30 years of age; this means in the present economic decline, this group have not had adequate access to education, training, health or employment for several decades. Subsequently, administrations have failed to invest and address the shortfall. The actively mobile and potential contributor to the country’s economy -the young people. Currently, Nigeria currently ranks as the 7th most populous nation in the world.
Nigeria’s urban population is growing at an average annual rate of about 6.5 per cent, teenagers, women of child-bearing age and the working age population, were more engaged in urbanisation.