By Dapo Akinrefon
DAVID Esosa Ize-Iyamu is the founder of the Youth Revolution Movement, YRM, and a firm believer in the social mobilization of Nigeria’s vibrant youth population to evolve a Nigeria where everything works.
In this interview, the National Youth Leader of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria, PFN , talks about why the Nigerian youth population should be active participants in the electoral process culminating in the 2019 general elections.
What is the Youth Revolution Movement all about?
The Youth Revolution Movement was set up to prepare Nigerian youths for leadership and governance, starting from active involvement in the electoral process; from voter registration, through standing for election, to effective leadership wherever they are. Simply put, YRM seeks to transit Nigerian youths from being passive onlookers in the electoral process to being active participants who become the change they seek.
The YRM is neither violent nor militant, but a peaceful yet firm and structured drive towards positive self-determination, national pride, social consciousness and actual measurable change.
It is no secret that the youth population is the largest subgroup in our national demography, but, unfortunately, the larger percentage of this subgroup exhibits severe apathy towards leadership, politics or governance.
I believe that the youths have to be given renewed hope in our country, they must truly believe in Nigeria again and buy into this process of national re-evolution.Nigerian youths today are well informed and aware of the leadership role their counterparts across the world are taking in driving social, political and economic change.
How do you intend to inspire the youth to wake up from political apathy?
Our youths are no longer moved by rhetoric. Their conversations on social media, on the streets and in organized forums show that they crave inspired, responsible, empathetic and credible leadership. YRM intends to inform, educate, lead and, sometimes, incentivize youths to action and participation in the political value-chain. We will show practical and dynamic approaches to achieve solutions to national problems and inspire youths to take responsibility for those solutions. Youths must be so preoccupied with finding remedies that they forget about finding faults and sitting on the fence. The truth is that youths are actually interested in the political direction of Nigeria, but that interest needs to be mobilized from being passive to being active. YRM will channel the latent interest and passion to present opportunities for involvement, ownership and social advocacy.
What are the key objectives of the YRM? What are you trying to achieve?
Our mission is clear, and it is to prepare Nigerian youths for leadership and governance. We intend to transform Nigeria into a country where youths are empowered and recognized in the corridors of power. For starters, we plan to move youths towards willing, enthusiastic and energetic participation in our electoral process. We simply cannot miss this opportunity to take back Nigeria, and cause a rebirth of this great nation.
How do you reach the youths and get them involved?
My position as the National Youth Leader of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN) puts me in the position to positively influence and provide guidance for over 17 million Pentecostal youths across the country. This existing numerical strength of the PFN Youth Wing structure gives me a strategic platform to mobilize the youths across the regions effectively.
Clearly, getting PVC is essential to their participation in the electoral process, so the YRM will be actively driving PVC registration and collection, to ensure that the greatest numbers of Nigerian youths are ready to intelligently cast their votes in 2019, and enthrone a new team of competent, capable and patriotic leaders across the nation.
Your plans seem idealistic. Will they be enough to ignite the youths’ interest in politics?
Our plans are based on strategic research and are well thought out by teams of patriotic youths who have both training and experience in the relevant fields.
Further fora and town-hall meetings, both online and offline, have been scheduled to ensure that we take on real feedback from youths, as YRM evolves and grows nationwide. Simply put, we are ready and confident of the success of YRM.
As laudable as your objectives are, critics will not spare you…
It is normal to have nay-sayers no matter what you are involved in, and the political arena is no exception. Our intentions are genuine and positive, demonstrably so too. We are committed to our cause, and we will not be distracted by criticisms from those who are unwilling to be the change, or afraid of the coming change in the political status quo. We will use those criticisms to further stay committed to our mission, and measure our progress as we go on.