By Luminous Jannamike and Ezra Ukanwa, Abuja
Ahead of the 2023 presidential election, members of the Nigerian Youth Union, NYU, on Wednesday, advised Nigerians on the qualities to look out for before adopting or voting for any politician to become Nigeria’s next president.
The youths also vowed to reject any presidential candidate who is above 60 years of age.
NYU President, Mr Chinonso Obasi, who made this known during the first national non-elective convention of the organisation in Abuja, said that the people must search for the very best, without mundane considerations in picking the country’s next leader.
According to him, such a leader must be below 60 years of age and should be prepared to show his antecedents in the area of youth inclusiveness.
Speaking on the theme of the programme, ‘Towards Effective Youth Inclusion in Nigeria’s Governance’, Obasi said: “In exactly 12 months’ time, another opportunity will beckon for Nigerians to elect their leaders. The 2023 general election is therefore a golden opportunity for Nigerian youths to take a stand and reclaim the country. 2023 is our time to make it or mar our chances of engendering inclusive and purposeful governance.
“As minimum criteria, we expect and declare that the next President of Nigeria must be below 60 years of age and should be prepared to show by his antecedents how far he has reflected or factored youths in his leadership vision and accomplishments.
“Recent events have shown that same dimensions to the 2015 and 2019 are being propagated. Grandfathers are fighting for space with their grandsons because they believe Nigerians are suicidal in their choice of leadership.
“Be it known that 2023 would witness the infusion of youth energy as demonstrated in the #EndSARS protest into active political participation of young people in the affairs of Nigeria.
“We shall in the next few weeks begin an aggressive voter registration campaign such that same way Nigerian youths waved the national flag as its symbol of resistance and call for renewal during the #EndSARS protest, every of our member should arm him/herself with a Permanent Voter Card.
“This march for Freedom From Political Oppression (FFPO) campaign would get down to all the 774 LGAs of the country. We shall task aspiring leaders on their blueprint for addressing insecurity, hunger, lack of educational and health facilities in the country.
“We shall demand interface with aspiring leaders and subject them to debates and discussions aimed at bringing out the best and de-marketing the old,” he said.
While bemoaning the present socio-economic state in the country, Obasi blamed the situation on alleged attempts to solve today’s problems with old strategies.
He said: “A lot has been happening in our beloved country in recent times and you can all agree with me that Nigerians youths are the worst hit by the very unflattering socio-economic challenges in the country.
“Having been systematically excluded from governance, Nigerian youths have put on their creative energies in music, entertainment, sports, information and communication technology in a bold attempt to take their destiny into their own hands.
“Others have taken to crime, internet fraud, armed banditry, prostitution and various anti-social practices all in a bid to solve the pervading economic hardship that has become Nigeria’s national anthem.
“There is no doubt that Nigerian youths are badly affected by this era of declining hope, but it should be noted that the lack of clear programmes to channel the creative energies of young people by the government has made life very chaotic, brutish and uninteresting in the country.”