Spending time and space defining a youth or whom the youths are is no longer necessary for by their fruits, we have known them. Right from May 1999, the Nigerian Youths have been working tirelessly performing every other political function except what they were divinely anointed and constitutionally mandated to do.
This off- point role, as performed by the Nigerian youths very seamlessly and epigrammatically, has qualified them as the biblical Moses of the old testaments.
For a clearer context of this piece, the biblical Moses was born in Egypt, here in Africa in a circumstance that space and time may not allow us to describe but at some point in his life was given a rod by God. Oblivious of the power, myth and divine purpose the rod was designed to achieve, Moses reportedly used the rod in the rearing of sheep for his father in-law until God his creator and the maker of the rod opened his eyes. From that point, the exploit performed by Moses using the same rod as documented by the holy book remains unquantifiable
The above account of the Moses biblical odyssey very concisely describes the inglorious political role our youths have been performing at every electioneering period in Nigeria right from the attainment of democracy in May 1999. The youths have very perfectly but unfortunately performed retrogressive roles while abandoning their primary responsibility as ordained by God and mandated by our constitution.
Part of these shameful roles as performed by the youths in every election includes but not limited to ballot stuffing and snatching , helping the political office seekers to rig the electoral process as well as the result , and allowing themselves to be used by their political pay masters to foment troubles before , during and after the election. While performing the above function, the youths forget completely the demographic advantage they have over the political office seekers who are supposed to be on their knees seeking the support of these youths.
The teaming number of our youths which one can safely say that is above average of our nation’s population has continually placed the youths at a vintage position to determine who becomes what at every election. But like the Moses of old, our youths have abandoned the ‘diamond which they are blessed with and in exchange, now pursue butterfly. This development I view as very unfortunate.’
Also, this population advantage which they enjoy also gave them the political upper hand and placed the youths at an epoch position to perform agenda setting function before the political office seekers. This advantage just like Moses before God’s intervention, they have not or on a very rare occasion preformed. But the irony of this narrative is that while Moses may have enjoyed both spiritual and physical closeness with God as at that material time, such may not be possible or as easy as it were during the time of Moses.
So the youths have to work out their political and leadership salvation as waiting for physical signs and wonders before they can do the needful will be synonymous to waiting till eternity. Good has used different means and various ways to visit us as a people but we have refused to acknowledge his presence or obey his directives and that informed the relegated position the youths have found themselves.
Our political problem as a people is more of physical than spiritual. It is a practical demonstration of our intellectual bankruptcy as a nation; a trend which we urgently need to reverse. But this to some extent has become a herculean task as it is the youths and no other that can use their time, talent and effort to reverse the trend. Reversing it, the youths need a very serious introspection as well as self interrogation in order to rediscover themselves and the demographic advantage that they enjoy .
This, the youths can put into use by forming political alliances, speaking on one political front most especially now that the window of opportunity to seeking elective position is about opening with the ongoing amendment of the nations constitution. If the youths fail to do this now that the 2019 is around the corner, they most likely repeat their perennial mistake. The youths can also collectively nominate a candidate of their choice and queue behind him or her as their own.
In the same vain also, as the electioneering period is fast approaching, the youths ‘desperately needs the moral force and the Spartan discipline’ to bring about a shift in paradigm. This they can do by abandoning the old other of seeking instant gratification and go for the candidates with values and can represent their interest positively irrespective his present financial muscular. Still on the way forward,, the youths needs to develop ‘intellectual elasticity’ as Possessing this quality will assist them in understanding the game of politics and all the strategies and tricks that is involved .
Our youths need reintegration of their brain power and resolve as this will in turn assist them making weighing the options and taking right decisions that will strengthen as well as deepen our democracy, O democracy. But deliberately ignoring this is synonymous to telling democracy to fail in its primary responsibility which is the underwriting of social justice. When this is done, our democracy becomes ‘democracy turned upside down and our dignity becomes dignity without strength’.
To this end, let the youths be guided by the fact ‘that there is little hope for us until we become tough-minded enough to break loose from the shackles of prejudice, half truth and downright ignorance.’ Just like the biblical Moses, the best time for the youths to take their political destiny by their hands is now.
Finally , just the way Moses of old stood before King Pharaoh to deliver the unpalatable message from God by ‘screaming let my people go,’ so I expect the youths to stand with their votes come 2019 before our sit tight political leaders and send them packing from the political stage.
*JEROME UTOMI is a literary writer, motivational speaker and journalist based in Asaba, Delta State