By Comrade Ola, Lukman Olanrewaju — Global Pan-Africanism Network (GPAN), Nigeria Chapter Country Coordinator
It’s crystal clear that #EndSARS is just a slogan, the mission is for a better Nigeria, the reason for the nationwide protest is because our teeming youths discovered that we neither have a country nor a nation. A country speaks to efficiencies in governance, things would be working properly. A country speaks to one’s image as well. That green passport is not supposed to devalue us at international borders, it supposed to be our pride but reverse is the case.
Our youths realised that the political office holders in Nigeria does not have a vision for this nation and the young ones. Vision ought to be the starting point. What exactly do we want to become as a nation? The “Not Too Young To Run” bill does not have much value to the old politicians we have in Nigeria because they already put some obstacles in line that won’t allow the youths take over the economic and political administration of this nation like outrageous nomination form for elective positions, hijacking of party tickets through bribery, huge capital involved during campaigns etc. The bill reduced constitutional age limits for presidency from 40 to 35years, from 35 to 30years for governors and from 30 to 25years for members of the house of representatives, but the failure of youth participation in Nigeria politics due to above-mentioned barricades did not give room for many brilliant and charismatic youth full involvement.
Aparty-build up in response to decades of government corruption and failed leadership over the years. The youth have lost hope in the entire electoral process. When they vote, they know it will not be reflected in the system. Therefore, they decided to stay away instead of making a contribution to a system that mocks their efforts.
In the colonial era, young Nigerians led in the struggle for independence but today, youth movements and civil society organizations like Global Pan-Africanism Network (GPAN) calling for electoral reform and respect for human rights were forcibly clamped down.
When Nigeria returned to multi-party democracy in 1999, there was optimism that the new system would prove more inclusive. But while youths hoped to be at the new vanguard of political progress, they were more often drafted to serve as thugs and henchmen for the same older political class, the result of which we are all witnessing today.
Young people’s significance in Nigeria politics diminished, and apathy grew. Today, the youngest member of the parliament at the national level is 43 years of age. This is why the youths decided to take the bull by the horn and demand for real inclusion in governance and the federal government needs to be proactive this time, for the ongoing protest not to degenerate to civil unrest.
Young Nigerians critically observed that older politicians are no more productive and are not helping the nation’s economy as well as the standard of living of an average Nigerian, then the need to troop out for a protest to demand for real economic liberation.
God bless Nigeria!
Originally Published viaThe Gazette Nigeria