NIGERIAN YOUTH IN POLITICAL ARENA: A PANACEA OR BANE IN NIGERIAN DEVELOPMENT

Lecture delivered by Hon Abiola Makinde, on the Occasion of the 2nd Southwest legislative summit of the Students Representative Council (SRC) of Adekunle Ajasin University Akungba Akoko, (AAUA) on Thursday 23rd November, 2017, at the Olusegun Obasanjo Multipurpose Hall.



Protocols 
I must first appreciate your gesture as Nigerian University students asking questions concerning the reality of our contemporary society, inviting me; a youth just as yourself whom the weight of the society falls upon, who also bear the responsibility of restoring the glory and genuinety of this country. I sincerely appreciate your thoughtfulness, having created an opportunity to kick-start discussions on how WE the youth could live out this our God given responsibility. 
In the famous word of Frantz Fanon which many of us must have heard before, but we have not contemplated enough upon, “every generation, out of relative obscurity, discovers its mission, either to fulfil it, or betray it.” It is my personal prayer, not just today but always that we do not betray it.
The first challenge you see all around Nigeria today is poverty, and the poverty is still on the increase, (Evelyn Nwamaka and David Onyinyechi, 2015). Poverty is fuelled by politics (M.J Bane, 2009) but only with politics can we reverse the problem of poverty, (Green, Duncan 2012) which calls for our mission. It is unfortunate that Politics in itself cannot solve any problem but compound it, except it is given a purpose, which is a dexterous management of, and systematic improvement on the skills and intellectual character of the working people, especially the youth.

Till date in Nigeria and many other countries of Africa, we still see political involvements only from the standpoint of the “build up to election”, occupying political offices, the politicking of distribution of allocations, and making personal gains from opportunities around government. All these even to the exclusion of the majority of the people who trust us with the responsibility of service. A new trend is also being formalized in Nigerian Politics today, which is the practical PURCHASE of votes, where billions of naira is shipped to election areas few days to the election to induce poor citizens to vote for the highest bidder. Even if we have not yet designed an effective mechanism to arrest this situation, we must bear in our mind, as the future of this society that this is wrong and barbaric.

(Google image of the University).

Our involvement in political arena cannot be a bane, as the question is posed in the topic, except we refuse to put the knowledge we acquire from school to use in our daily lives, and our analysis of the political developments. For those who because of Unemployment and Underemployment in Nigeria resort to politics, I beg you in the name of God and your Human destiny to get back to God and retrace your LIFE-PURPOSE, Eph 2:10 “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should work in them” KJV. Society should not determine you; you have the spirit of God in you to make changes, but only those who live in that consciousness, Rom 8:14 “For as many as are led by the spirit of God, they are the sons of God.”KJV. 
Many entrepreneurs in the world today, not only in the U.S.A are richer than many countries as a whole, so why should you limit God in your life? Entrepreneurs and Industrialists also have their own place in the aggregate development of a society, beyond contesting for elective positions. 
Foray into politics should be a “calling”, it is a responsibility to solve problems. Taking your people out of poverty is not a hope of happenstance but a Plan, Dedication and continuous Contemplations. Obafemi Awolowo will remain an eternally bright reference for us. He didn’t do any magic, but used knowledge to give a direction to  the productive and socio-economic activities of our grandfathers at that time, and we are better for it today. 
We have only not continued in the “Awolowo spirit” but our generational mission, according to Fanon, compels us to return to it, even in a more advanced way, else we will all have to run into exile, God forbid! Nigeria needs visionary leadership, and having discovered this gap, the young must position themselves strategically to lead the nation, even  the Bible supports it.  Acts 2:17.  “And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out my Spirit in all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams”. The young are to see visions. Joseph in his youthful days saved Egypt from famine, and rescued his own family from hunger, bringing them with him to Egypt where he managed food productivity in excess, while other nations starved. That’s the enormous potentials it pleases God to put in the youth, it is for us to put these potentials to use for the overall benefit of our people. 
The prosperity of any economy does not rest on politicians, but on Industrialists and Intellectuals (especially the Academic). It is the Industrialists who produce goods and services, employ people in the society, pay taxes that government use for social services. The intellectuals think, forecast, and create new solutions for the industries. The politicians give direction to both Industrial and Intellectual productivity as demanded by the immediate and long term requirements of the society, factoring their cultural peculiarities and identity.

 We need youths who will “re-cultivate” faith in the knowledge acquired in our Nigerian Universities and Polytechnics, make up for the inadequacies by our general access to Internet materials today viz-a-viz Google, Wikipedia, Google Scholar, Journals etc. it is the quantum of Knowledge we imbibe and use upon nature around us, locally, to produce useful materials for local and international consumptions, that will improve the Nigerian economy, not our reliance on any Aid from foreign donors (World bank, USAID etc), or on crude oil proceeds. The earlier we decide to think and walk in the reality of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, (Klaus Schwab, 2017) the better for our Foray into Politics, the alternative will only land us all into what I call “Politics of Cannibalism” where we will have to be killing ourselves because the political offices to aspire for are too few to go round.
In conclusion, As a substance of faith and my mission into politics, I want to congratulate us ahead, as a day will come very soon, by our genuine commitment, when our youths will stop being desperate for permanent residency abroad, we shall travel to get exposed, enjoy ourselves and return, as home will actually be home. Economic development will be real and not just a nominal value as we read about the growth of Nigeria’s GDP only in the pages of Newspapers.
Once again, thank you so much for hearing my view, we only need more of us to think alike, and soon we shall arrive at that great National Destination.
Hon. Abiola Makinde, Former Chairman Ondo West Local Government.
REFERENCES:



Evelyn N. O. O. and David O. A, 2015.  Poverty and Income Inequality in Nigeria: Any Casualty? Asian Economic and Financial Review, 2015,5(3):439-452


Green Duncan, 2012. From poverty to power: How active citizens and effective state can change the world, 2nd ed. Rugby, UK: Practical Action Publishing and Oxford: Oxfam International


Holy Bible KJV


Klaus Schwab, 2017. The Fouth Industrial Revolution.


Mary Jo Bane 2009. Poverty politics and Policy

Published by

David-Francis

Philosophy (University ofJos, Nigeria); Researcher (St. Albert's Institue, Fayit-Fadan, Kaduna, Nigeria); Literature (S. E. M. S. Nassarawa State, Nigeria); Former Associate Editor, "Periscope Magazine," Abuja and columnist, "Seekers Delight Magazine," Kaduna. I am a presence that questions the happy darkness; hands that truncates imperfection; A mind that conforms to nothing except truth; A gaze that sees all things beautiful! I am a beauty for tea.

Leave a Reply