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Youths warned against political desperation

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Femi Gbajabiamila, the Majority Leader in the House of Representatives

Some stakeholders in the country have urged youths who want to participate in politics to eschew the idea of using their venture into politics as a means of making money, saying what should be their utmost aim and objectives should be service to the people and the nation.

The stakeholders, who include former Minority Leader in the Senate, Dr. Olorunnimbe Mamora; Lagos State governorship candidate for the Peoples Democratic Peoples (PDP) during the 2015 elections, Jimi Agbaje and Majority Leader, House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila said the greatest bane to youth participation and progress in the political environment is the wrong notion of seeing it as a money making venture.

Speaking in Lagos yesterday at a seminar titled: ‘2019 Election and Youth Participation in Political Leadership in Nigeria: Prospect and Strategies for Young Leaders’ organised by GLEEHD Foundation for International Development, the stakeholders said it is imperative for the youth to first understand the intrigues of politics before launching their ambition.

They said since the constitution does not allow for independent candidature now “the major thing is to present oneself as a genuine and acceptable material, who is ready to serve before the electorate and the leadership of whatever platform that they intend to use for their political ambition.”

According to Agbaje, “Anyone contesting must realise he is running against the ‘run of play’ and if for whatever reason such a person has the hope of making money, the battle is lost even before starting. This has been the bane of many youths who ventured into politics. You must not be seen as desperate for power or to make money.”

He also emphasised the need to create acceptable ideas to the electorate and the leadership of political platform saying, “the people you want to represent must see you as a good product, good idea, trustable person and I can assure you money will follow. That was the tactics I adopted in 2015 and it worked for me.”

Gbajabiamila said, “the platform must see, understand and also approve your stuff before they can commit their ticket to your hands. People will probe your intention beyond what you imagine and nobody will commit any political office into your hands if they discover you cannot be trusted. It was that stuff I presented that has been of help to me in my political career. In the history of Surulere Federal Constituency, nobody has ever gone to the House twice but I did.”

Mamora, who was also a former Speaker, Lagos House of Assembly, said the youth must first believe in themselves and advised against exhibiting desperation in their ambition, which he described as a factor working against many people in politics.

Citing examples of himself and Agbaje who were professionals in the medical and pharmaceutical fields and Gbajabiamila, a lawyer by profession, Mamora said, “You must excel in something, most especially in the Nigeria factor. For instance, I am a professional in politics and not a professional politician. You must always have something to fall back on in your political career.”

He however lamented that the Nigeria political atmosphere became seriously monetized during the regime of Gen. Ibrahim Babangida’s political experimentations of National Republican Convention (NRC) and Social Democratic Party (SDP), adding that in Nigeria one needed to know the power base to excel politically.

However, Fouad Oki, who served as the Director General, Campaign Organisations of former governors of Lagos, Bola Tinubu, Babatunde Fashola and also to the incumbent governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, said there are many departments in politics and anyone entering it must first identify the area he fits into before such a person can excel.

Oki explained that it is not everybody that must contest for elective position in politics “the major role of some people is to prepare the ladder through which leaders would emerge. Secondly, do not think you can easily buy over the mind of the electorate and the leadership of your platform with money, donations or any form of empowerment programmes whenever an election is approaching.

“For instance, someone who wanted to contest for councillorship and he or she started giving free medical services, construct roads in the ward and even build halls, that would not stop the people from collecting his money but the same will turn against him because he is not known to them. I have seen several instances where people hinged on what they did to get party ticket or win election but that is not enough.”

In similar vein, the Director General, Rauf Aregbesola Campaign Organisation in Osun State, Segun Omoworare said one of the reasons people fail in politics is because they do not acquaint with the strategy of the political environment where they intend to launch their ambition.

Omoworare urged the youth who are interested in politics to start from their wards. He said, “If you want to join politics and excel, go to your wards, understand the voting pattern right from there and also acquaint yourself with the dynamics of the population in that area. That would help you a lot in your campaign strategy and not just dolling out money or gifts.”

He noted that the strategy someone who has many elite in his/her ward will adopt in campaign would be different to those whose ward is populated with non-elite or non-indigene.

The African Regional Director of the foundation, Dayo Israel said the event was to consider the process of social inclusion for young leaders in the country.



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