Media and youth awakening
Sir: The mass media such as newspapers, magazines, radio and television are the major instruments in raising the awareness level of youth so that they can understand and exercise their political rights and influence government’s decisions and policies. The media should always encourage the youth by creating awareness and educating them on matters related to politics and rules of law, through their various programmes, columns and articles. The media as the fourth estate of realm should therefore saddle with the responsibility of sensitizing the youth on political participation and civic engagement.
On the other hand, the youth should also liaise with the mass media and expose themselves to the media and civic associations in order to acquire more experience and leadership skills. This would also assist them to increase their future political participation. Furthermore, Nigerian political leaders who are mostly between 60 to 80 years of age are known for their repeated fake promises such as better education, good jobs, political room for youth and youths are the leaders of tomorrow is the common slogans of Nigeria’s politicians.
In 2018, President Muhammadu Buhari signed the “Not too Young to Run Bill” in to law, allowing young people to run for any political offices. Unfortunately, only a few politicians that have fulfilled that promise and allow youth to run. Many believed that even the “Not too Young to Run Bill” was not working effectively as youth can’t afford to purchase a political parties’ nomination form. Hence, some people are of the opinion that youth participation in Nigeria’s politics was hindered by limited resources, capacity, skills and tools. Even though there are no wider political spaces for youth to actively participate in politics, despite the fact that they make high proportion of the Nigerian population which is about over 70%.
Youth should be given the chance and golden opportunity to contribute their quota towards national development through political participation. As the late Kofi Anan, the former United Nations (UN) Secretary General, said: “And let me repeat, you are never too young to lead and never too old to learn. So I call on the young generation to put its remarkable energy, insight and passion in the service of reconciliation and peace.” Therefore, young people must rise up to take leadership positions by increasing their political participation in order to have a good governance, justice, accountability, transparency, transformation development and responsible government they are always dreaming of.
Shettima Lawan Monguno wrote from Maiduguri.