2019: Why youths may not make meaningful impact, By Jerome-Mario Utomi

Posted by News Express | 18 May 2018 | 773 times

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•Jerome-Mario Utomi

Leadership is viewed as deformed when the leader assumes self-sufficient attitude, despise others and views self as the exclusive possessor of what he has, as well as claim excellence not possessed.

Unfortunately, such characterises the leadership sphere, not just in Nigeria but Africa as a continent. A factor that’s largely responsible for the leaders’ inability to provide direction, protection, orientation, shape norms, or manage conflicts in their various places of authority and impeded the establishment of a people-centred leadership culture.

Irked by these worrying realities Nigerian youths, as observed, like their counterparts in the other parts of the world, resolved to democratically redress the situation come 2019 general election, by actively participating in the electoral process; a move that has prompted many to angle for different political positions, including that of the presidency.

However, despite the popularity of this opinion, it is of considerable significance to state that, apart from the youths’ non-possession of the financial strength to execute the electoral project, as being speculated in some quarters, there are other probable factors that may render the move fruitless, irrespective of the demographic advantage enjoyed or the glamour that graced the much-celebrated not-too-young-to run campaign recently embarked upon, to press for power-shift.

Indeed, the need for a shift in the nation’s leadership structure has become inevitable and eminently desirable to accommodate young technocrats who can take responsibility for their actions and results, be accountable where previous administrations were not, and tell the truth about their failures, without blame games. But, one fundamental obstacle that will prevent this from coming to fruition is the subjective view of the electoral process/positions by the youths as a right which must be given, even in the face of obvious inabilities, and gross absence of planned programmes and pragmatic strategies to making a positive impact by the power-seeking youths.

To Nigerians with discerning minds, electoral exercise as practised the world over is both programme- and strategy-based and a keen contest where the candidates with the best programme and realistic strategies for achieving that programme is given priority/favoured by electorates. The youths, at the moment, have neither been programme-specific nor strategy-concerned.

Again, from investigations, seeking an elective position with the aim of effecting political and socio-economic change is synonymous with fighting for emancipation from captivity, which is rarely voluntarily given, without personal sacrifice/self-denials, as the beneficiaries of the old order will do everything to thwart the moves. Very objectively, Nigerians are yet to see such sacrifice, be it ideological or material from the youths. The situation is even made worse as some of the youths, for pecuniary benefit, work at cross-purposes, while others have settled for political crumbs that fall from the masters’ table. Another contentious factor that in the interim works against the youth is the lack-lustre performance of a youthful governor in one of the states of the federation. He has become a negative emblem to the image of the Nigerian youth, prompting critical minds to wonder if there may be any appreciable difference between the youth and the elders they accuse.

Aside the below-average performance of the ‘youthful governor’, another problem standing in the way of the youths is the mirrored opinion of the vast majority of Nigerians that the character hitherto exhibited by some of these power-seeking youths have neither been impressive nor exemplary, with many shedding deep-seat fears about handing power over to them, as it could translate to a political mistake with a heavy price.

No doubt, the political globe is presently dotted with young leaders in the likes of Emmanuel Macron of France, Saleh Ali al-Sammad of Yemen, Emil Dimitriew of Macedonia, Vanessa D Ambrosio, Kim Jong Un of North Korea, and Charles Michael of Belgium, among others. The world could without much labour say what they stood for before their emergence as leaders in their respective countries.

Certainly, the need to inject youthful blood into positions of authority to ameliorate the present state of the nation – reduce rate of inflation and recession, subsidise education, health, and create employment as well as guarantee security of lives and property - has become unavoidable.

It will, however, be antithetical to support a movement based on sentiment or allow sentiment to determine our actions. What the youths currently project in views is well-intentioned but pragmatically vague and ungraspable to be taken seriously, as their actions and strategies are masked in ambiguity, with unclear vision and blurred goals. For the youths to be taken seriously, therefore, what this writer expects is a development of potentials that are politically new, something that is not yet known and not in existence, which will establish new political configurations. This is an imperative demand as their political survival should not be left to chance, just as anyone that fails to search for his potential leaves his survival to chance.

Very instructive also, the argument for a generational change from the head and the placement of our fate in our youths with integrity, energy and the drive to recognise that extraordinary conditions call for extraordinary solutions is indispensable, but must be accompanied by a reassurance from the youths. Another contentious challenge that may in the estimation of the vast majority scuttle this ambition is the belief that electoral project in Nigeria is capital intensive, whereas Nigerian youths are financially placed at the base of the pyramid. The assertion about huge financial involvement in my view is in order but may not be completely correct, as the argument was not only sophistry but antithetical to building a nation devoid of corruption and goes against the global warning on corruption.

“A precondition for an honest government is that candidate must not need large sums to get elected, or it must trigger off the circle of corruption. Having spent a lot of money to get elected, winners must recover their costs and possibly accumulate funds for the next election, as the system is self-perpetuating.”

To make an impact in the 2019 general election, therefore, what the youths urgently need is the creation of innovative ideas that electorates can buy into, building of alliances/coalitions with various pressure groups, and being ecumenical in movement with already existing coalitions or political parties.

•Jerome-Mario Utomi, Springnewsng.com, writes via;jeromeutomi@yahoo.com


Source: News Express

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