In the first post, we looked at the need for youth participation in politics. In this continuing post, we’ll be looking at the challenges facing youths in participating in politics and some suggestions.
ISSUES IN DELTA STATE POLITICS
1. Delta State has several ethnic nationalities
There are cases of the trans-generational viruses of tribalism transferred to our youths. The way our youths use very derogatory remarks on each other when it comes to tribal inclinations is fast becoming a national issue. You will find those of northern extractions and those of the eastern extractions using gutter language against each other. If youths in Delta State only realize that a lot of these tribal bigots who play the tribal cards have parents from all over the State. Most Itsekiris have links with Urhobo and Ijaw tribes. It runs in both directions. Many of the present political oligarchs in Delta State and in Nigeria are married to women outside their tribal enclaves.
The terrible deceit is that when they want to steal our common wealth they unite and steal.
Most youths in Delta State are from poor families and are first-generation graduates and even car owners, if they have any. These youths become ready tools in the hands of money bags within and outside Delta State. You need to see how Delta State youths insult each other because of their so-called principals. There is a deliberate policy of impoverishment.
The office of personal assistant to a political leader seems to be the greatest desire of most our youths. Most of our youths, just like the politics of Delta State, suffer from philosophical marasmus and ideological political kwashiorkor. Once the principal loses an election, the so-called defenders of their principals can suddenly become abusers of the fingers that fed them before. It is just political involvement for nutritional purposes; that’s why there’s so much elite capture.
You can also see it in the way our politicians change parties during the “political transfer season” prior to elections.
3. Thuggery and political violence
Delta State like most of the states in the Niger Delta is prone to electoral violence and thuggery.
Because of the same issue of poverty, our youths can be used to perpetuate violence after being fed and given drinks and ‘peanuts’. They can snatch ballot boxes, kill their fellow poor youths because of members of my wicked generation.
Our children are overseas preparing to take over from us and rule you again, and you are still foolish enough to kill yourselves once you are given a branded second-hand car that is not up to return tickets for our children coming back from overseas for holidays.
The day you dare to ask the hand of the daughter of your principal in marriage, you will realise how foolish you have been.
The rich rule over the poor – Proverbs 22:7.
Please I beg our youths to realize that they cannot shed their blood for us while our children are overseas.
Your mumu don do!
4. Expensive politics
Where will a youth have money to consult party elders who eat and talk from both sides of their mouths? And they have only one vote. The forms alone for indication of interest to contest are so expensive. It is being said that even the president is saying he does not have 55 Million Naira to collect forms. This does not include the cost of elections.
5. Cultism and Delta State politics
If you have an ear to the ground in Delta State, you can easily know which cults the contestants belong to. This scares decent youths from participating in politics.
6. Idolatry and fetish practices
When youths are sponsored by money bags within and outside Delta State, they are expected to pledge their loyalty by taking oaths in shrines. One lawyer I did an interview with was asked to sleep in a coffin for three days to become a senatorial candidate of the party. He declined because he was not desperate.
7. Political puppetry
There are cases where young men, who have been sponsored by money bags within and outside Delta State, are expected to pay back with contracts, which are usually inflated, and monthly financial allocations to these sponsors. People of conscience therefore decline to participate in contesting for electoral positions. No wonder they are very many poorly executed contracts and abandoned projects littering the State.
Youth participation in politics in Delta State cannot get the desired results in isolation; the solutions must be applied from the national level to the Local Government Area level.
1. The not-too-young-to-run bill will not translate to not-too-young-to-rule reality. There must be electoral reforms to ensure free and credible elections in Nigeria, if not only our children will keep ruling.
2. There is the urgent need to reduce the cost of collecting forms in political parties and basic funds allocated to parties.
3. There should be a limit to financial expenses during campaigns.
4. The cost of running the executive and legislative branches of government in Nigeria is too high. There has to be a drastic reduction of their salaries. Paul Ryan, the speaker of the House of Representatives in the USA, sleeps in his office like other legislators. Once political office is no longer the easiest way to wealth, then people with patriotic instincts will be willing to serve. This politics of desperation will also be curtailed.
5. Nigerian youths should not expect my generation to just hand over power to them freely.
Those who fought for the independence of Africa were youths. The British people were not willing to give up power; they were forced out. The next generation of the Buhari and Obasanjo generation were youths when they took over power. Military coups are now outdated, but Julius Molema and his opposition colleague in South Africa did not get what they have by a bill; they paid their political bills. They, like their mates in Zimbabwe, and Bobi Wine in Uganda, mobilised their mates to get hold of, at least, a part of the pizza of national politics.
6. State electoral bodies are greatly compromised by governors. They must be scrapped and INEC should conduct all elections. In that way, youths can win elections at local government levels.
7. There should be independent candidature in the electoral system. It will reduce this mad decamping political disease we are seeing today. It will soon degenerate into political sokugo.
8. The youths must unite and break away from the evil chains of tribalism we have held them with over the years, take over some of these vacant political parties, and start taking over, post by post, local government by local government. Legislative seats can be won with collective efforts.
9. They can raise large sums of money from their large population; after all, they are the majority. 1,000 YOUTHS donating 1,000 Naira every month will generate 12 Million Naira in a year; if donated weekly, it will be 52 Million Naira.
10. Mentoring: There must be deliberate attempts to do programs that are aimed at mentoring our youths to grow to become great leaders of tomorrow. Courses on political leadership should be made compulsory from Secondary School levels, just like entrepreneurship studies. Political bodies should also be compelled to have leadership training programs for their youths.
If most advanced nations are electing their best brains, we cannot be left behind.
God Bless You.