By Arogbonlo Israel
The Vice President of West Africa, Pan-African Youth Union, PYU, Oladele Nihi has called on the Nigerian youth to make conscious efforts at “hijacking” power from the elders in order to assume the mantle of the country’s leadership in 2023.
Oladele made the call when featuring on Vanguard’s LunchTime Discourse on Tuesday.
According to him, the Nigerian youth are ready to take over power come 2023, saying it is time for “Youth O’clock”.
“Of course the Nigerian youth are ready to take over power. Although, the leaders that we have (both in the past and present) seem to have not prepared the youth for leadership positions.
“When you look at the situation of 1960 till date, you will see that those ruling us today are still the same set of people who even championed the independence of Nigeria. The same young people piloted the affairs of this country during the military regime.
“Being ready means we must rally round ourselves (youth candidates) by pooling resources together to ensure that we produce a youth candidate come 2023. Take for instance, the EndSARS protest in 2020 showed that the Nigerian youth have now woken up from their sleep and began to checkmate our leaders.
“My campaign for the Nigerian youths is to take this clarion call from the social media by getting involved politically through voter registration and getting party membership of registered political parties and start filing for political positions. You can start from counsellor or chairmanship, not necessarily contesting for the presidential seat. From there, you can now aim for higher positions like Governorship, House of Rep and Senatorial seats,” he said.
When asked if Nigeria is ready to accept youth leadership, the 33-year-old youth ambassador said; “The country itself cannot exist in a vacuum. Invariably, the question is being thrown at us (Nigerian youth) if actually we are ready. You may want to say that the cost of running for election in Nigeria is still difficult to an extent for a young person to contest for elective positions in the country.”
He added; “For instance, in a country where you have political nomination and expression form for N40 million, indirectly, they are sidelining the younger generation from participating in the electioneering.
“To address this, we must come up with a political party to suit us whereby if 7o0% of the Nigerian youth population rally round on their own, obviously, we force ourselves in because nobody gives us power, we must fight for it.”
In his closing remarks, the PYU Vice President urged Nigerian youths to be active in terms of electioneering and stop hiding under the shadow of “our votes do not count” while “the old people who ought to be in the village reading newspapers and acting as counsellors continue to pilot the affairs of the country”.