A while ago, shortly after the Nigerian first republic fell, the military ushered in a ruling class that were all young and in their 30s to lead the country.
Today, it is almost unimaginable to see Nigeria being led by that kind of young personalities, partly because of the less concerned attitude of youths towards the political runnings of the country and mostly too, because of the greedy and power hungry attitude of the now old political elites who have refused to let go of power.
With the advent of the #EndSars protests that rocked Nigeria as a nation in recent weeks which was engineered by youths from all walks of life, the handwriting is now on the wall that the youths have been awakened to take a stand towards the political runnings of the nation.
While the odds may still be in favour of the old political elites, it doesn’t take away the fact that the youths are more invested in politics now than they’ve ever been since the early days of military rule and 2023 general election might just be where Nigeria elect a youth to be at helm of affairs. Although it would take a near perfect blueprint to oust the already occupants of Nigerian politics, it is not a totally impossible feat to achieve.
It’s worth recalling that on the 31st of May 2018, the #NotTooYoungToRun bill was signed into law where Presidential candidates can now stand for office at 35 years instead of 40, with the state government aspirants been pegged at 30 rather than 35, while 25-year-olds can now be a meneber of House of Representatives, amounting to a five year age reduction across the various political hierarchies.
While it was signed a year before the general election of 2019, the youths had no real chance of occupying the top office but 2023 has presented a golden opportunity to take full advantage of the #NotTooYoungToRun law.
Also, looking at the Nigerian population where 60% are youths, the numbers are already on the side of the youths but of course, one would need more than just a population to win an election in Nigeria. A systemic planning that starts right away is necessary.
One of the things that may be lacking in the quest for a youth President is experience. It will prove a difficult task to get an experienced personality who falls under the age bracket of what is considered youth to lead the country.
The closest there is who posses some kind of willingness and drive to lead the country are Fela Durutoye, Omoyele Sowore and so on, of which both are currently 49 years and will be in their 50s by the time the 2023 general election comes.
We also cannot overlook the two heavyweight parties dominating the political sphere of Nigeria, the APC and the PDP, both of which have showed complacent attitude in involving youths in politics and both of whom won’t give up power so easily. But the youths can create their own political party and with the right funding and creation of awareness, can take on the top job come the next election.
Surely, it they won’t be asking for too much to have a president who represents 60% of the population, or will it be asking for too much to have a president who understands the workings and the challenges the youths face in an everyday Nigerian setting, a president who can empathize with the youths genuinely and who will put efforts in seeing that the future and indeed the current Nigerian situation is made bearable.
Nigerians need a President that understands the digital age that is now, who is willing to enhance his/her government in alignment to government of the global standard . A youth president is long over due.
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