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Monday, May 18, 2020



By: Adeyefa Tolulope(Elite).

The political space in contemporary Nigeria has been conspicuously dominated over the years by our old men and women with little consideration for the younger generations, but with constant empty promises and vain hope in tomorrow that is not feasible. It is with this intuition that the youths are deceived despite the avalanche of their great potentials and latent talents that their chance and prosperity are attached to the tomorrow that never come. Today, in Nigeria , it is very common to hear that, "the youth are the leaders of tomorrow "  or slogan like "the young shall grow".

This topic is therefore very timely, and of great importance to our national discourse.

It is with this understanding that this subject matter is very necessary as our nation, which has completely and ignorantly abandoned her invaluable assets, here, the youths must be reminded to gainfully engage her treasures of human capacity juveniles in the emerging political evolution so as to birth a greater and  more prosperous Nigeria all of us shall be proud to call our own.

It's therefore very necessary to investigate why the youths despite their large numbers (about 75 millions) and their untapped potentials are relegated to the background in the political and overall development initiatives of our people and government at all levels. This neglect and abandonment have seriously impeded growth and progress, as many stakeholders beyond the shores of our nation are now extremely worried by the terrible waves of crimes in Nigeria and the fact that our nation is alarmingly and daily becoming a theatre of war and a hot bed of crimes where lives are nasty, brutish and short. This is a serious food for thought!

Is the age of Methuselah by any means superior to the wisdom of King Solomon? Can we conveniently say that our elders who now dominate leadership pedestals feel that our youths are derelicts and eggheads that are useless and needless in the business of nation building? Or are our youths not prepared for leadership, and think that leadership is the exclusive right of the elders? These and many other posers and concepts shall dominate our further discussion.

One biased distinction however that is  obviously set on Nigeria's political terrain today as against what is obtainable elsewhere in modern democracy is age disparity without considering it  incongruously with wisdom. Although the legal frameworks in our country's constitution has made a tenable position in favour of modern democracy; nevertheless the hallmark is less in reality.

Today, our society has detained our youths in perpetual inferiority complex to the extent that they now believe that there is a particular age set for real political engagement and involvement. This incidentally has  negatively  made accelerated growth of the society impossible.

Even if the constitution of Nigeria clearly stipulates eighteen(18) years for maturity and sets various age limits  for seeking elective political offices, it is very imperative for our so-called leaders and elders with their supposedly maturity, exposure and experience to realize the fact that there is higher discernibility in the minds of our millennium youths  who, to them, are politically immature, and who by that reason(s) are passed for political derelicts. Therefore, the non-inclusion of our youths with talents and potentials in policy making processes and critical stages in nation building has greatly widened the gap between analogue mentality and digital sophistry. The underlying point here is that this young and fertile minds are made to wait until they attain specific ages before they are permitted by laws and constitutional provisions to aspire for and attain most elective positions (even when the chances are not there; and even when available, are very slim in a country of recycling old politicians without great visions). So, the possibility of learning and experience gathering which they can directly influenced are shortchanged and prohibited. This also means that competence, capacity and ability are also mortgaged ignorantly on the altar of ignorance and dogmatism.

Giving our youths therefore a voice at all round-table discussions or national conferences whose outcomes will not just be discarded in the dustbins of history but built into the policies and programmes of governments will  greatly contribute to the overall growth of the country socially culturally, politically and economically. This step if taken shall help in harnessing their potentials and latent talents for industry and usefulness.

Intuitively, we would have consciously  positioned our country by quality participation of her youths for the required leap into  her rightful place on the pedestal of honour and greatness. This truly shall make all and sundry politically relevant  and conscious, and in particular, deepen the political consciousness of our young talents thereby encouraging them to become patriotic citizens and self-reliant agents. 

Theoretically, participatory democracy or participative democracy therefore emphasizes the broader involvement and inclusion of the constituents(the people) in the direction and operation of political systems. Etymological roots of democracy (Greek demos and kratos) implies that the people are the true owners of power; and thus that all democracies are participatory in nature. In fact, the concept of representation in the Contemporary Democratic Theory embraces the concept that mechanisms or structures should be put in place to ensure that some measures of responsibleness and responsiveness of political parties to the people by the representatives who speak and act on their names are guaranteed. We must allow our youths to see this in operation!

Contemporary democracy also encourages a new appreciation that participation and representation are complementary forms of citizenship. This underscores the need to build a strong communication link to cover the gap between the government and the governed. Most especially, our elected representatives should bury their egos and fetch ideas from the sound young minds who they deliberately neglected and assumes to be immature politically. This is the ideal thing to do in any thriving democracy .

The proverbial caption of this article is premised on two colossus and historical human specimens: Methuselah and King Solomon. Methuselah was a biblical patriarch believed to have lived and died at the age of 969. He lived the longest of all figures in human history as it is recorded in the book of Genesis. He's exceptionally known for nothing in spectacular except his old age. He is the oldest man to have ever lived. King Solomon, a young man with great visions, missions, finesse and traits was the second son of King David who ascended the throne of Israel after the death of his father(King David). He was a young king who was blessed with great wisdom, knowledge and understanding beyond his contemporaries till this day . He was said to have reigned for 40 years with fine and great accomplishments historically before he passed on. Symbolically, Methuselah represents old age without honours while Solomon represents youthful age with feats and wisdom.

This stoic juxtaposition of notes and graphic  illustration of triumphs and failures shows that wisdom is independent of age; age on the other hand does not  necessitate wisdom. They are mutually exclusive. Therefore, we should admit that it is a fundamental thing to always ensure that ideas, innovations and initiatives are  fetched from all strata of people especially among the youth irrespective of their age.

Nigeria is richly blessed with both human and material resources enough to bring the country to limelight and also attain her deserved apogee in the envy-eyes of other countries of the world; but the Elitism Democratic System of our leaders has made this practically impossible. We must therefore start appreciating our youths who are professionals with great skills having spent 4-6 years learning engineering, science and technology behind the four walls of classrooms by regularly bringing them into  developmental strategies of our industries  for technological advancement.

In the same vein, we must start appreciating our social scientists and the likes who spent years in higher institutions studying the development of other countries' cultures, customs and traditions and their people by giving them the chance to share those ideas for humanitarian and developmental purposes. Again, let us start appreciating those who for years gathered knowledge in addition to local and international  experience in Agriculture and relevant fields of human endeavours by considering them in the masterplan of  developmental policies, programmes and projects in the Agricultural sector of our economy.  What about those one in Art s and Humanities? We must develop their potentials and fire up their passion for our  cultural values and heritages. Our educational sector seriously needs total revamping and  to reshape the system, we need our bright minds who are  within  the youth age  brackets. In law particularly, we have good products that are now brilliant lawyers required to build strong judicial institutions needed for the emergence of working Nigeria. Indeed, we're blessed as a nation and as a people. We must stop turning our blessings into a  curse.

Above all and very importantly too, we need to inject sanity into our minds especially those of our teeming youth population, and strive to guarantee sanctity and dignity of our institutions. This shall encourage integrity, dignity and  fairness in our polity.

Lastly, Nigeria youths should start to see beyond their noses. Aside political discourse and other engagements, they must seriously apply these ideas and concepts to their daily lives. We often feels that there is age limit to the things we can achieve in life thereby setting age standard for ourselves,  and most often, try waiting for specific time to do what we ought to start doing now. Living your lives like you are already in the future is one of the best way to secure what the future holds for you.

To those who seeketh wisdom, in Proverb 9:10, Solomon writes: "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom".

ADEYEFA, Tolulope Michael (Elite),
A Prospective Scribe Of Adekunle Ajasin University Akungba Akoko Students' Union (AAUASU).

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