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Youth Day: Our Expectations For The 2023 Elections

By Guardian Life’s readers
14 August 2022   |   5:40 am
With only a few months left until the 2023 general elections, feelings are heightened and the question “what next?” rings through the mind of every Nigerian.  Following the wave of the “Soro Soke” movement, the 2023 elections have gone beyond merely just choosing a leader, evolving into a nationwide movement of “choosing the right leader.”…

With only a few months left until the 2023 general elections, feelings are heightened and the question “what next?” rings through the mind of every Nigerian. 

Following the wave of the “Soro Soke” movement, the 2023 elections have gone beyond merely just choosing a leader, evolving into a nationwide movement of “choosing the right leader.”

In celebration of Youth Day, Guardian Life spoke to some of our readers to hear their dreams, hopes and aspirations for the forthcoming elections. 

Temilade 

Nigeria has definitely come a long way from stern military regimes to an unsure democratic government, from powerful five Naira notes to a Naira-dollar tussle. I dare say when you mention Nigeria certain words come to mind: Naira, bandits, elections, kidnapping, inflation. Shocking or not, all these are not words set to get one breaking into a dance move. 

Being a Nigerian living in Nigeria is like navigating through the pages of Amos Tutola’s “The Palmwine Drinkard” on a hot Friday afternoon, seemingly easy but with so much mystery and uncertainties. From the comical political scenes to the theatrical religious covers to the economic difficulties, and what’s more to say about the educational system which can be argued to be on life support at this point. The daily experiences of being Nigerian in Nigeria begs the thought of what service really is and if indeed that is a term, our leaders understand. The chaos of herdsmen and bandits, and the sudden spark in insecurity make it harder to sing the anthem without a bitter taste lodged at the back of one’s mouth. 

The 2023 elections would be another time for character show and theatrics, of conspiracy theories and godfatherism. Without looking too far, All Progressive Congress’s presidential candidate, Bola Ahmed Tinubu and People’s Democratic Party’s candidate, Atiku Abubakar have given us golden material for a Netflix blockbuster. To think that thousands of dollars have been reportedly spent on tickets and bribes only to have further leaders of the great giant of Africa stuck at home because of unresolved issues between the government and ASSU. I cannot help but wonder if this government and the one it endorses for the next four years have the future of this country at the core of its plans.

With Labour Party standing for the first time, as a major contender this coming election owing to the presidential aspirant, Peter Obi and his running mate Yusuf Datti Baba-Ahmed, my greatest concern is the heightened trust and “Messiah” badge that Peter Obi as a person and the duo have come to be associated with. Do we run from wolves only to meet Lions? Or do we make a stand for the “Moses” of the season? Would PDP and APC allow another party to take over without a push and pull? This election for me is going to be revolutionary for Nigeria because with people prepared to be seen and heard and a third-party contender determined to deliver, the election will show the power of both people and the country.

Udochukwu 

I have been trying to leave this country since I graduated from university. You see, my mind was made up after I spent about six months during the ASUU strike in 2009. I had it all planned out: graduate, raise money and leave. I was working on this until I saw that our GDP was the best in Africa at the time so I stayed. The decision to stay has become, regrettably, the worst decision I have ever made as a youth. I’ve regressively moved from one point to another. It is as if everything is designed to frustrate me, and I believe that I do not speak for myself alone. As a nation, we are now in the competition for what “worst” indices to be in. My savings have also depleted because I am constantly at a loss with the fall of the Naira and the high cost of bribery and corruption. 

 This next election is really going to be my saving grace. I like that we are now saying “enough is enough” but I hope that this means that we are ready to stay on the line until our votes count. I have a candidate but far be it from me to believe in the idea of a “Messiah”. We’ve had several Messiahs in my lifetime in several sectors and look at how they turned out. I’d vote my conscience and hope I was right with my vote after all. 

David Akinfenwa

My experience being a Nigerian living in Nigeria pretty much has shaped how and what I think of this country. It’s almost like there’s really no ray of hope and everything is just designed not to work for you but trust us (Nigerians) to always make things work regardless.

It sometimes does amaze me how Nigerians have chosen to be happy people despite all the challenges the nation is facing. 

So when I see people struggling, especially really smart people putting in the work and the system put in place doesn’t seem encouraging, I’d advise that they go to where the system helps nurture their talent. And this is not because I don’t believe in Nigeria, but the truth is Nigeria, currently still has a long way to go. 

The 2023 election is very personal to me. It’s not enough to sit and write about how bad Nigeria is doing and how structure can be put in place. It also requires that we are intentional about the change we want to see. The 2023 election feels like what would define the beginning of a new Nigeria. A breath of fresh air and a ray of hope to those whose hope is lost. 

Najite

My experience in Nigeria has shaped me both positively and negatively. Positively, it has taught me to see an opportunity in every information that comes my way, which has also created an alternative means of income. It has also taught me to be prudent with my spending because Nigeria generally has a revenue problem. 

Negatively, you can agree with me that there is a subconscious thought in the average Nigerian that nudges you every time you need to get something done quickly. Everyone in Nigeria knows that you can always have what you want as long as you have the right connections and a full pocket.

However, people are beginning to question the place of this subconscious thought because we are now more aware that it has done more harm and if we don’t cut off this branch, it will ultimately destroy the nation. We’ve seen the three major candidates and are deliberately educating ourselves to know who is better fit to take over the reins and fix the nation. I would rather take my chance in voting for the best candidate and make sure in any way that all my votes count. We all long to see the birth of a New and Better Nigeria at any cost.

Anonymous

The 2023 presidential election means a lot to me and remains very significant because I was finally able to register as a voter and will exercise my franchise for the 1st time come 2023. Due to the extent to which corruption has eaten deep into every part of the system, it has become paramount to fight and take our country back from those determined to ruin it by coming out to vote for the change we crave. We as Nigerians need to make informed decisions in choosing the most credible candidate irrespective of tribe or religion.

Tina Onyegbula

The forthcoming coming elections are a “do or die” situation for me figuratively. The current state of the nation is such that insecurity, unemployment, corruption, poverty and lawlessness thrive. As a young Nigerian, and a first-time voter, I’m determined to do my part in electing a worthy candidate. When an incompetent candidate wins, the future is obscure.

Chinwendu 

Honestly, my thoughts are largely pessimistic as I feel the country has stunted my growth in all areas of social life and work. I have since lost hope in the country and almost feel like nothing good can come out of it. Unfortunately, I am not actually inspired by the “Obidient” movement because I just feel Nigeria will do what it knows how to do best and that is to disappoint.

So this election means nothing to me despite the campaigns by many of my friends trying to convince me otherwise. Being a Nigerian is simply exasperating.