Chairman, Senate Committee on Information and Communications Technology (ICT) and Cyber Crime, Dr. Abdulfatai Buhari has declared that the only possibility for Nigerians youth to take over mantle of leadership from the present crop of old politicians is for them to shun political apathy.
Buhari noted that if youths get involved actively in politics and participate in government activities, there will be chances for them to contest for elective positions in order to reposition the country for better.
He spoke on Monday while delivering the Federation of Oyo State Students’ Union (FOSSU), Independence Anniversary lecture held in Ibadan, the state capital.
Buhari who spoke on the topic “The not too young to rule movement: Issues, challenges and prospects in view”, noted that the time had finally come for the youths to swing to action and break the jinx of the long awaited tomorrow, which may never come and start leading from today.
He, however, noted that for the youths to actualise the dream, “The Nigeria youths must shun apathy and actively participate and involve in politics at all levels. This will allow them contest party primaries and increase their chances of emerging.”
While speaking, Buhari declared that clamour for the younger generation to vie for elective offices in Nigeria got a major boost few months ago when a bill to amend the age requirements to run for office (Not too young to run bill) was laid on the floor of the Senate on July 20th, 2017 by the Chairman of the Constitution Review Committee, Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu and was passed into law by the Senate on 26th July, 2017 and 27th July, 2017 by the House of Representatives, respectively.
He noted that “Government should holistically tackle the issue of poverty and youth empowerment in the country. This will no doubt get the youths engaged and make them shun thuggery and other vices.
“Government should set up leadership training institute or include compulsory leadership courses in the curriculum of schools starting from secondary schools. This will prepare future identified or interested talents in leadership know how and qualities.
“Government policies and programmes on politics should be directed towards encouraging the youth and they should be carried along in policies that will directly affect them.”
The All Progressives Congress (APC) chieftain also challenged political parties to encourage youth participation in their activities.
He said “Political parties must encourage the youths to participate in politics by involving them in decision making and stop imposition and selection of candidates by fiat. They need to encourage open, free and fair party primaries for popular candidates to emerge.
“In order to attain leadership position Nigeria youths must put aside religious and ethnic sentiments and see the development of the country as their project and ideology.
“They are advised to unite, speak with one voice and work as a team if they want to attain the leadership position in our beloved country.
“They also need to equip themselves intellectually through training and retraining because leadership position requires sound education and a lot of experience.
“Nigeria youth are also advised to take more and meaningful advantage of the internet and social media other than their present arrogance, uncoordinated and unproductive usage. Therefore they should use their power and knowledge of ICT as a strength to develop our democracy.
“Also the youth must not stand akimbo, they should show the leadership qualities in them. In most developed countries they head hunt talents. Obama, Macron and other young leaders were headhunted in their respective countries.
“Therefore, the youths must be ready to take advantage of this numerical strength and move to the fore front of governance in the country.
“In spite of all these important role of the youth in the development of the country and their numerical strength, the readiness and the level of political participation of the Nigerian youth is still questionable and insufficient.
“In contrast today Nigeria youths have lost focus and been relegated to ordinary internet warriors, e – rats, fraudsters and political thugs arguing subjectively, illogically and irrationally in support of their pay masters, ethnic and religious colouration. Instead of using internet as strength, they have turned it to triviality and use it to blackmail, defraud and all sort of immoralities. As chairman of senate committee on ICT & cybercrime I know the report I receive on daily basis.
“It is quite alarming and disturbing that Africa generally is excluded from this present trend of younger generation of leaders as there is presently no current African leader that is below 40 years of age.
“Sadly the average age of present crop of African leaders is 70 years, as we have more than 20 African leaders that are aged above 70 years. Mugabe in Zimbabwe is 92 years, Biya in Cameroun is 83 years, Mutharika in Malawi is 76 years, Sirleaf in Liberia 78 years, Zuma in South Africa is 74 years, Koffo in Ghana is 72 years and Buhari in Nigeria is 73 years of age and we call the youths the leaders of tomorrow, when will the tomorrow comes?, it is only in Africa that you will see a president ruling for more than 30 years and still want to contest an election. Unfortunately, these crops of leaders having been in power even before some of you guys were born.
“Notwithstanding the bulk of the blame shouldn’t only be put on the tables of the younger generation but our political space also seems unfavourable and not encouraging for the emergence of a youthful candidate even in party primaries not to talk of winning in general election. The complex and clumsy nature of our political terrain makes emergence of youthful candidates an herculean task and a utopian ideal because of money politics that will play in this part of the world”.