Piqued at their exclusion from politics that produces leaders for top public offices, the nation’s youths have moved against old politicians. To the youths, their future is being mortgaged by the old leaders who have refused to quit the stage for them to take a shot at governance.
They lament that under these old leaders, the economy has remained in poverty, unemployment and security of life and property cannot be guaranteed.
In Akure, the Ondo State capital, at the weekend, youths under the aegis of Rescue Mission Support Group (RMSG), disclosed a plan to mobilise their colleagues across the country against the old politicians ahead of the 2019 general elections.
They said the old leaders whom they accused of ruining the nation’s economy must not be allowed to return to power through the backdoor. The coordinator of the group, Mr. Michael Omosebi, who addressed youths at Itaogbolu in Akure North Local Government Area yesterday, listed President Muhammadu Buhari, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and Bola Ahmed Tinubu, among others, as the old politicians that must be stopped in 2019.
Buhari was military head of state from 1983 to 1985, after he had held other prominent positions in government, including that of petroleum minister. In 2015, he became civilian president and is now moving to seek re-election in 2019 despite the poor state of the economy, insecurity and high unemployment, among others, which have made some prominent citizens to advise him against it.
Obasanjo was head of state in 1976 and returned to power in 1999 as civilian president with Atiku as his second in command. Their administration was also adjudged to have performed poorly.
Many former state governors have now retired to the senate as lawmakers, not giving political opportunities to youths in their domains.
Even though some youths such as Donald Duke who was governor of Cross River State, James Ibori who was his counterpart in Delta State and Dimeji Bankole who was the Speaker of the House of Representatives, have held prominent political positions since the return of democracy in 1999, the old politicians continue to hold the reins of political power .
The RSMG described the coalition forces being championed by the likes of Obasanjo as another means to return corrupt old people to power. Omosebi described the “Third Force” as a strategy to hijack political power again by the same politicians who plundered the commonwealth.
“It behoves us to appeal also to the masses in the interest of a better Nigeria that come 2019, they should disregard the idea of a third force. It is complete fraud, balderdash, a twaddle, nonsense, and another trap by these old constabulary men to dupe the masses again.
“These old forces started ruling at tender ages, some not even up to thirty years of age, plundering and as well looting Nigeria’s wealth. We think the packaging and merger that ushered in President Buhari into his APC government should say something to us.
“We at the RMSG enjoined the Nigerian populace and the larger electorate to eschew any affiliation or support to such forces as it’s another means to retain old people in power,” the group said.
Similarly, in Abuja, a coalition of youth groups ruled out endorsing and electing candidates linked to nepotism, corruption, poor education and other failings that inhibit good leadership.
It declared that the nation’s youths and women had for too long been held hostage by persons without clear leadership qualities, which has been the cause of the country’s under-development.
At a press conference in Abuja yesterday, the group known as the United Youth Coalition said it had decided to stop the culture of silence by the youths in the face of leadership failure.
“The Nigerian unity that the youths sacrificed over a million lives for, in the civil war and even now as servicemen fighting and dying in the armed forces, is slipping through our fingers. On a daily basis, our leaders watch helplessly or look the other way as citizens are being butchered in their homes, on farms and highways,” the group said.
The Convener of the coalition, Robert Chenge stated: “Nigerian youths condemn in the strongest terms the willful abuse of democracy by politicians of the ruling parties since 1999. We totally condemn the soaring growth of pre-modernism, cronyism, and the shameful promotion of nepotism and violence against the citizens.
“Governance today has become a mere charade and racket far removed from the original noble vision of the nation’s founding fathers. It is not even close! We refuse to be passive recipients of the abuse of power by our leaders who remain out of touch with global trends and have instead dug their teeth in financial entitlements, nepotism, obduracy, corruption, and youth and women bashing.”
According to the group, “These so-called leaders have denigrated us. They consign the women, and us the youth to the ‘other room’ of powerlessness, poverty and to be seen but not heard. This we cannot accept. Nigeria is our country too. In fact, the future of this country belongs more to us the youth and women. Much of our future and country have been stolen from us through corruption, abuse of power, exclusive politics and clueless leadership.”
The youths said the next president must be someone with the ability to lead the nation from its existing crisis by establishing a linkage for education, human capital development and the global knowledge economy.
“Such a president must show the capacity to harness the greatest resource of this country (the youth) through robust science, technology, engineering and mathematics training combined with philosophy, ethics and history. He/she must build a new Nigerian society that is capable of a new mindset and right incentives, and provide a modern 21st century infrastructure for Nigeria to enter the knowledge and innovation economy and avoid bickering on derivation issues.”