The Growing Participation Of Youths In Politics And Governance In Nigeria

Nigeria's Senate in session

In Nigeria's history, politics and government have been predominantly run by middle-aged or older individuals, including the founding fathers of indigenous politics and governance like Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe and Alhaji Tafawa Balewa to mention a few. However, after the country became self-ruling, the military took over and led the government with young leaders in the persons of Generals Yakubu Gowon and Muritala Muhammad, to name a few. While this period had significant problems, such as civil war, financial misappropriation, and suppression of the populace, it also recorded the largest investment in public infrastructure that still supports the economy today.

Since the country transitioned to civilian government in 1999, politics and government have mostly been dominated by the older generation. The participation of youths in government has declined, and recent events have shown that Nigerians are disappointed with the performance of the older generation of politicians and government officials. Economic challenges, such as unemployment, insecurity, inflation, and fuel scarcity, have made life difficult for the population, and the current government has been unable to solve them.

Nigerian youths at a political event

As a result, Nigerian youths have become increasingly involved in politics and governance. They have realised the importance of participating in this activities after experiencing the impact of incompetent leadership in government over the last few years. This realisation has led to active participation in recent political events such as voters registration, sensitisation and orientation of electorates, and contesting positions in government in general elections.

The increase in the number of youths seeking election into various positions in government this year is laudable. The political class, mostly made up of the older generation, has had to gear up and realise that they can no longer afford to be complacent in government. Incompetence will no longer be accepted, and the populace has the power to elect new leaders to occupy their positions.

Gbadebo Rhodes Vivours, gubernatorial candidate of LP in Lagos

Funke Akindele, deputy governorship candidate of PDP in Lagos

Bankole Wellington, candidate of the PDP in Federal House of Representative in Eti-osa

Olumide Oworu, candidate of the LP in the State House of Assembly in Surulere

Many of these youths have taken a bold step to become agents of good governance and redefine leadership in the country. Notable among these young leaders are Gbadebo Rhodes Vivour, an architect and ivy-league graduate who is the gubernatorial candidate of the Labour Party (LP) in Lagos State, Funke Akindele, a renowned actress and the deputy governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Lagos State, Bankole Wellington, a prominent musician and entrepreneur who is the Federal House of Representatives candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Eti-Osa Local government area, and Olumide Oworu, a successful actor and State House of Assembly candidate of the Labour Party (LP) in Surulere Local government area.

These young individuals have given reasons on why they decided to join politics and how they intend to make the country a better place for everyone. Olumide Oworu, the candidate representing the Labour Party in the State House of assembly election, explained his decision to join politics when he was invited as a guest on a TV Show. He stated that his decision was based on the ability of young people to use innovative ideas and modern problem-solving skills to overcome the challenges confronting the nation. This he believes will set the country on the trajectory of progress.

The wave of change in the country's political landscape is a good development, and the active participation of youths in government will inject new ideas and solutions into a system that appears to have failed the Nigerian populace. The combined efforts of the older and younger generations in government can bring about rapid social, economic, and political development in the country. After all, like the adage says, "Two heads are better than one".

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all image source added in photo caption