The debate over youth participation in politics will continue until Nigerian youth are given the opportunity and level playing ground to contest political office. As youth are given the opportunity, the question about readiness of young people to compete in the tedious Nigerian political terrain is gradually being laid to rest. More young people than ever before are engaging in local community advocacy and movement building amongst other political activities in preparation for 2019 General elections and beyond, taking for instance our very own alumni from the prestigious Osun State University, OGUNDEPO OLUFISAYO SIMON running as Member ,Oyo State House of Assembly Ona-Ara Constituency..
Supporting a young candidate therefore is becoming imperative considering the situation of the country and the fact that the future of young people is being decided by people other than those that will be affected by the decision. In this vein, the power of number which rules politics maybe the next daunting task to acquire but there is good news.
According to the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC, 52% of registered voters are between the ages of 18-35. “Young people aren’t leaders of tomorrow any longer, we are leaders of today”, also, Nigeria is being given one of the youngest demographics in the world.
Furthermore, while the statistics is very impressive, the quality of young Nigerians when it comes to knowledge, capacity and charisma and bringing fresh ideas, innovations and solutions to our democratic system is the reason Nigerians have to take the gamble in supporting youth candidacy in the near future. The participation of young people in governance will ensure that the issues of priority for young Nigerians are on government agendas. As a matter of fact, there is a growing interest around the world in youth and politics, young people in Africa are an enormous resource for the continents developments.
In addition, most recently and more cheering is the fact that Nigerian youth have scored a major victory towards youth participation in politics with the progress of the ” NOT TOO YOUNG TO RUN” Bill. Indeed, the exclusion of young people from elective offices robs society of their contribution to economic and political development. Young people have skills and capacities, Young people can bring vibrancy and innovative thinking to their activities.
Conclusively, though young Nigerians may still face other obstacles when it comes to equal political participation, and these must be identified and addressed.
LET THE RELEVANCE OF YOUTHS NOT BE UNDERMINED BY ANY MEANS, AVENUES SHOULD BE CREATED FOR YOUTH TO SHOWCASE THEIR UNTAPPED POTENTIAL.