Elections are a great time in the history of democratic societies such as Nigeria. Although, we know our democracy is full of all forms of crazy. As much as humanity is concerned, the youths are the lifeline of any human society. They’re the movers and shakers of all sectors. Therefore, the youth needs to take up the electoral affairs of the nation. Ultimately, this will ensure they’re at the helm of piloting national affairs. I’m sure at this point, you’ll have zeroed your mind that this piece is unrealistic since youths are always sidelined in Nigeria regarding significant matters and decisions, but stay with me.
There have been more than ten elections held in Nigeria (some ushered in a new government while the military powers ruled some out) since her independence in 1960, from the first Republic to the Fourth Republic. Here we are in 2022, looking forward to another election coming up in 2023, but why should we, youths, take this particular 2023 election more seriously than the others? What’s our stake in participating? Why should we continue our sọ̀rọ̀ sókè lifestyle?
Join me as I take you on these four cogent points that prove why we must act beyond being keypad warriors and contribute to the actual act of elections – political participation through voting.
1. To boost your confidence in Nigeria
Let’s take a walk down memory lane to October 20, 2020, the END SARS protest.
The sọ̀rọ̀ sókè generation realized that their voices could be heard all over the world, and indeed, the attention of the world was drawn to Nigeria’s sad state of governance which spurred a sporadic increase in the interest of youths in politics. Even though the government repressed the move, its impact is still felt across the nation. This effect has prompted current political candidates contesting elections to see the youths as an indispensable part of the nation. A unified youth community threatens the continuation of corrupt acts in political offices. Now, the confidence is building up, and we only need to take that confidence to the polls.
2. To set a better pace for your future
We can’t all Japa from Nigeria, even if you, as a person, relocate; what about your loved ones? Moreover, it’s not easy to gather money to Japa. So, the future is here, in 2023, to determine.
Food for thought! The younger youth category would start families in the next eight years. This means their lives would be built on the foundation of the choices made in this election. Those who belong to the older youth category would develop their families and businesses and look toward a better retirement by the end of the eight years. The truth is the next election is too big an election for anyone to joke with.
3. You Can’t Afford to Choose Political Apathy
We have too much life and strength as youths to sit on the fence and watch our fate be decided by people indifferent to our wellbeing. As of 2022, the highest percentage of Nigeria’s populace are youths, with the country having the largest population of youths in the world, with a median age of 18.1 years, which is the official voting age for Nigeria. About 70% of the people are under 30, so no wonder the citizens speaking up are youths. Moreover, with the recent INEC registered voters, as of August 1st, 2022, almost 9 million out of the over 12 million registered voters are youths. And, I’m proud to be among this significant movement making the statement pivotal to our fate, not just the youths, kids, adults, and children.
4. You are part of the builders of tomorrow (whether you believe it or not)
Youths, they say, are the leaders of tomorrow. We don’t have to hold political posts in the government to make us leaders. Our daily, positive contribution to our lives and immediate community creates a ripple effect that influences the whole, just as the family is the basic unit of society.
In addition, the youths have been aggravated and provoked. For the first time since 1999, the Independent National Electoral Commission is reporting a sharp rise in voter registration by youths. The youth renaissance in Nigeria is a thing of joy for anyone who wants to see a New Nigeria where leadership is service and development.
The Nigerian system and its next phase rely wholly on who wins the next election. In addition, as youths, we keep growing accustomed to the nation’s ills brought by past governments. However, change can only be delayed but can’t be eliminated. So, to live a better youthful life in our father’s land, we need to get it right in the 2023 presidency and legislative arm.