Youth Participation In Delta State Politics
Speaking, yesterday, at Wellington Hotel, in a one-day town hall meeting organized by the African Centre for Leadership, Strategy and Development (Center LSD) in collaboration with Ford Foundation.
A youth—by some authorities—is an individual who is 35 years and below.
David Easton defined politics as “Authoritative allocation of resources”. Harold Laswell defines politics thus, “Politics is the process of determination of who gets what, when and how”.
Politics, therefore, involves the determination of who exercises authority over others and resources.
It can clearly be seen from the above definition that politics is about the allocation of resources and who will allocate them; remember, it is not who owns them but who allocates them. You can have resources in your locality but they might not be allocated to you. It is no longer news that there is hardly anybody from Delta State who owns an oil block. Most of those who own the oil blocks don’t have oil in their places of origin.
Politics also determines who gets what. This means that if you are not involved in politics, you don’t complain if you don’t get what you are entitled to. It also determines when; this involves timing. It also involves how you will get what and how much you can get relative to others.
Charles de Gaulle, former Prime Minister of France, said, “I have come to the conclusion that politics are too serious a matter to be left to the politicians”.
PARTICIPATION IN POLITICS
There are age brackets that constitutionally allows you to vote and be voted for. In Nigeria it is 18 years. However, participation in politics is beyond casting of votes or contesting elections.
It involves the following:
You must not be partisan to participate in politics, but it is best you belong to a party. Your voice must be heard in politics for your interest to be considered. The not-too-young-to-run bill was as a result of youths who persistently demanded for opportunities to participate in contesting for electoral positions.
The recent reorganization of SARS, the anti-robbery arm of the Nigerian Police Force was as a result of online protests and legal cases by young men who were targets of undue harassment by police officers. The recent prominence of the LGBT segment of society is as a result of the strategic and long-term advocacy by these groups.
In Europe, there is a growing number of nationalists and far-right parties who are against immigration and foreigners. Many of these parties are now winning seats in parliament.
There is a strong contest between the conservative values of the Republicans and the liberals in the Democratic party in the United States. Pro-abortion right groups have suddenly started to push for legalized abortions in very conservative nations like Ireland.
Youths in Delta State and Nigeria must participate in Politics for issues that affect them to be heard and attended to.
There are issues that affect youths in Delta State, like any other state in Nigeria, that youth pressure groups can bring on to the front burner of political parties.
Some body rightly said that “A shut mouth is a shut destiny”.
Youths can be involved in mobilizing people for voters’ registration and recruitment of new members to their political parties.
Youths can, and should, be involved in the organisation of party systems, strategies, structures, manifestos, media, and policy formulation.
5. Contesting for electoral positions.
My son’s classmate is contesting for House of Representatives in Abia State. She is a medical doctor like my son. She is about 32 years old.
In the next post, we’ll be looking at issues in Delta State Politics and suggestions on how they can be solved.
God Bless You.