NLNG Corporate Caring banner FirstGem 3rd anniversay lecture Fidelity bank card banner Emerald Energy Institute Camano banner

Kenyan youths winning elections, Nigerian mates daydreaming, By ’Fisayo Soyombo

By News Express on 14/08/2017

Gmail icon

Views: 1,390


This is a story of two popular but dissimilar Cynthias. One recently earned her fame, the other has been around for a while. One is a politician, the other a musician. One symbolises intellect and strength of character, the other is unmistakably a sex symbol. One is Kenyan, the other Nigerian. One is Cynthia Muge, the other Cynthia Morgan. Each name could possibly be mistaken for the other, but surely not their stories.

Cynthia Morgan, 25, burst onto the Nigerian music scene in 2010, aged just 19, after featuring in Jhybo’s Ejo le fe ro. The daughter of an Edo State-based gospel artiste, Morgan’s music is anything but gospel. Her musical videos are x-rated, replete with raunchy acts, salacious dancing and nude bathtub scenes: offering very little for moral, intellectual or societal regeneration. A vain mind, like the majority of her music-industry peers, Morgan once boasted of owning a N12 million wristwatch.

Unlike Morgan, Cynthia Muge does not have N12 million in her bank account, much less own a N12 million item. But she shot to limelight last week, all the same. The 24-year-old, running as an independent candidate, because she lacked the funds to obtain the Jubilee Party’s nomination form, defeated five men to secure the Member of Country Assembly (MCA) seat in Kilibwoni Ward, Nandi County.

Muge’s chances looked so slim that even her own mother advised her against running. Without the funds, the University of Nairobi graduate devised a social media and house-to-house campaign strategy. She polled 8,760 votes, while her closest competitor, Wilson Kiptanui of Jubilee Party, garnered 8,354 votes. She joins five other women in taking six of the 30 assembly seats available in Nandi.

From granary to parliament

If Muge’s story is enthralling, another’s is simply intriguing. John John-Paul Mwirigi, 23, 'broke', jobless and an orphan, ran without a party, against veteran politicians boasting membership of established political parties. He emerged victor, polling 18, 867 against Jubilee Party’s Rufus Miriti, who had 15, 411 votes. Three other seasoned politicians - Mwenda Mzalendo (7,695 votes), Kubai Mutuma (6,331 votes) and Raphael Muriungi, a deputy-governor, two-time ex-MP and former assistant minister (2,278 votes) - placed nowhere near him.

 The sixth child of eight children from his parents, Mwirigi still lives in his family home — a local granary in the community. He printed no campaign posters, and prosecuted his door-to-door campaign on foot, until his former colleagues bought him a motorcycle.

False hopes in Nigeria

Given the recent passage of the Not too young to run bill by the National Assembly, Mwirigi and Morgan have raised hopes, particularly on the social media, that 20-olds could soon be winning elections in Nigeria. Not only is that impossible, even the older youth can only dream of elective public office. For the youth, there is at least one more secondary obstacle, and many primary ones. The Not too young to run bill seeks to give the Nigerian youth the kind of opportunity available to Kenyans; it wants the Constitution to lower the age requirement for occupying the office of the president to 30 years, from 40 years; governor, 30 years, from 35; Senate, 30 years, from 35; House of Representatives, 25 years, from 30; and State House of Assembly, 25 years, from 30. The bill also seeks to allow independent candidates in the country’s electoral process. For the amendment to become final, 24 state houses of assembly must approve the bill and the President must assent to it.

Although the green chamber favoured the bill from scratch, the red chamber despised it and, indeed, threw it out in November 2016, following opposition from majority of its constitution review committee members. Last month’s positive about-turn was triggered only by agitation from a coalition of youth groups, most prominent of which was Samson Itodo’s Youth Initiative for Advocacy Growth and Advancement (YIAGA). That initial resistance of 2016 is likely to be the true position of the legislature and possible indication that the state houses of assembly could pass up the bill. Should this happen, YIAGA and co have a real battle on their hands. One-stop protest at the National Assembly is hard enough, but travelling round a minimum of 24 states on a lobbying/protest mission is surely not the simplest of tasks.

Nigeria isn’t Kenya

Mwirigi and Muge didn’t win in Kenya simply because the young could run or because the poor did not necessarily need to join a political party. As confirmed by Fatu Ogwuche, an elections technology consultant who observed the Kenyan polls, both of them had integrated themselves into their communities. They had a deep connection to the grassroots. Mwirigi had particularly been dreaming of a legislative position since Form 3, the Nigerian equivalent of JSS3. Gradually, for well over a decade, he crept into the minds of Igembe South people by sitting and dining with them, and “helping them whenever” he could. When he rose to contest, they saw him as the product of their struggles, an aggregation of their individual parts. His campaign was as good as theirs; if he won, they won. That’s why they all keyed in.

Here in Nigeria, politically conscious youth cannot lay claim to physical connection to the grassroots. The leading lights are all Twitter superstars and “social-media influencers”. Unfortunately, Twitter superstardom won’t deliver votes. Kenya proved that already with the defeat of its Twitter god, Boniface Mwangi, at the polls. Mwangi, a popular activist, currently has 738,000 followers on Twitter, but he had only secured 11,714 votes as of the time he conceded defeat, while a candidate had double his votes and another had almost quadruple. This is not to say Mwangi is not loved both home and abroad. For example, his recent book, Mwangi UnBounded, was endorsed by the biggest names in literature and international politics, from Ngugi wa Thiong’o to Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Still, he lost.

If we managed to find a Nigerian youth with the grassroots appeal who could contest as a stand-alone candidate to circumvent the huge financial burden of party politicking, he may not be alive to witness the end of his door-to-door campaign. That’s a hyperbole, but Nigeria’s population is nearly four times that of Kenya; any candidate who springs up a door-to-door campaign on foot or with an Mwirigi-like motorcycle is on a suicide mission, and will be bogged down in exhaustion.

In all, money will continue to dominate Nigerian politics for the foreseeable future. Youths, who are without godfathers and are not moneybags, may run; but will predictably lose. If Nigerian youths do not get off the social media and properly set about the process of connecting with the grassroots, the Not too young to run bill will yield not-too-young-to-lose and still-too-young-to-win results. It will be fantastic for the bill to become law; opening up the political space to the youth is great progress, but securing victories is distant prospect still.

Soyombo, Editor of the International Centre for Investigative Reporting (ICIR), tweets @ fisayosoyomb.

Source News Express

Posted 14/08/2017 8:22:15 PM

 

 

CLASSIFIED ADS

 

You may also like...
Southern elders vote for restructuring

DSS declares war on kidnap syndicates, arrests over...

Experts call for sanitisation of seaports

National Youth Council denies endorsing Buhari for re-elections...

Fear grips Lagos community as four children disappear...

Lagos APC governorship primary faces fresh hurdle

Support rises for 48-Team World Cup proposal

Power Minister to address post-privatisation challenges at WNEPC...

Anambra community leaders express shock over relocation of...

Andy Uba bemoans Nigeria’s N6trn loss to fire...

10,000 Nigerians die of cancer annually: Health Minister...

Blasphemy latest: EL-RUFAI MAKES ANOTHER SATANIC TWEET

 

Latest News Prepare for four more years of Buhari dictatorship — Adegboruwa •Warns that bad leadership may kill Nigeria 24 soldiers killed in surprise attack Jonathan faces suspension over PDP’s defeat in Bayelsa Oshiomhole didn’t pay salaries, pension of workers in 18 LGs — Edo SSG Bayelsa Guber: Gov. Dickson made victory for APC much easier ― Minister Muslim lawyers condemn arrest, detention of Sharia Court judge, others over alleged illegal marriage I won Bayelsa guber poll, PDP’s Diri insists •Asks INEC to declare him Governor-Elect Kogi Guber Poll: 16 candidates accept results, congratulate Bello Boko Haram fighters kill five villagers Malabu: FG to extradite ex-AGF, Adoke, over N288.6bn oil deal Ebonyi Building Collapse: Lawmaker offsets victims’ hospital bills NBA decries high spate of violence during Bayelsa, Kogi guber elections

 

Most Read NUDE PHOTO OF OMOTOLA JALADE-EKEINDE surfaces online (563,813 views) Nigerian female sex addict opens up, says ‘I like it with both men and women’ (452,772 views) Shameless Genevieve Nnaji exposes breasts in public (402,038 views) Finally named: The full list of friends of Nigerian female sex addict who prowled Facebook (336,485 views) OLUMBA OLUMBA OBU (the one who called himself God) IS DEAD (304,080 views) 10 cars more expensive than Jets (282,326 views) Igbo scholar disgraces Femi Fani-Kayode •Demolishes claims on Igbo/Yoruba history with facts and figures (259,140 views) Breaking News: POPULAR REVEREND CONVERTS TO ISLAM in Kaduna (Nigeria) (257,361 views) OBJ’s son reported dead in Lagos plane crash •Names of more victims emerge (238,892 views) My wasted years in Olumba Olumba Obu’s Evil Brotherhood (225,289 views) Lagos plane crash: Journalist releases victims’ names (201,718 views) THE FINAL DISGRACE: Igbo scholar unleashes more facts about Igbo/Yoruba history, finishes off Femi Fani-Kayode with second article (198,341 views)

 

CBN milk production

CBN banner advert

UBA Wise Savers Promo

 

Categories Advertorials (3) African Press Organisation (81) Art & Literature (110) Business & Economy (4,576) Business Verdict (86) Columnists (1,144) Complaints & Requests (97) Enterprise & Opportunities (219) Entertainment (704) Features (845) Global Business Monitor (493) ICT Monitor (67) International (4,221) Interview (211) Live Commentary (30) Love Matters (176) Maggie's Blog (490) News (54,121) Opinion (1,421) Pidgin (17) Politics (11,773) Religion (1,121) Sports (2,227) Stock Watch (40) AMA & Al Jazeera Global Update

 

 

 

 

 

 

APO Group Partner

 

 

CLASSIFIED ADS

GOCOP Accredited Member

GOCOP Accredited member

 

 

Africa Media Agency and Al Jazeera