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To Nigeria’s youth, a memo

By Matthew Agboma Ozah
13 July 2022   |   3:36 am
Let me confess to a certain elation at the way and manner youth across the country have coordinated themselves and are warming up enthusiastically to take their country back in the forthcoming elections by capturing their biodata under the Independent National Electoral Commission...

Dear youth,

Let me confess to a certain elation at the way and manner youth across the country have coordinated themselves and are warming up enthusiastically to take their country back in the forthcoming elections by capturing their biodata under the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) registration exercise. By no means should anyone presume them unserious or social media noise makers who have no structure but chose to waste their time and data on a matter beyond their control. If anything, I believe the political leaders are already feeling the heat and wary about their political future. Of course, the sudden consciousness of the youth in a way has raised the public profile assessment requirement to public office to what I would refer as character, competence and courage.

One reason for this memo to you all, youth of this great nation is to continue to insist that public office seekers must have a template that serve as a good advertisement copy for seeking political office. On this struggle to take the country back from poor political leadership and leaders with poor vision who are blinded by nepotism and religious bigot. The youth should remain steadfast and never waiver in the quest to build a better future for their generation and generations yet unborn. I do not wish to see you all as a subject of mockery at the end of the day. Therefore, do not be caught in the web of vote selling or double voting on election day. Do not make the mistake to be misled into thuggery or ballot box snatching for politicians whose children are in foreign land.

However, a few points can do with to refresh your mind about what you were constantly viewed or considered to be irresponsible. In fact, President Muhammadu Buhari had barely taken his seat after being sworn-in during his first term that he labeled the Nigerian youth before the entire world as lazy bunch of people. Of course, it is not surprising that every government in Nigeria has felt the compelling need to abuse, humiliate or give bad name to the youth just to make them look irresponsible and unproductive youngsters.

The goal, as you know, is very clear and direct. The 2023 election is about your future and more importantly, there is no other country to call your own, therefore, you would use your vote to pave the way. Mind you, this is a sacred obligation and judging from the youth complacency in the past, the political class has taken both the youth and the entire country for a ride and failed in all areas. For instance, in education our schools, degrees and certificate are no longer taken seriously among the best of the world. Sadly our universities are observing their usual annual ritual and youth are idling away at home as a result of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) strike and many youngsters have been tempted to indulge in nefarious activities. Our public health system is a write-off and best described as consulting clinics. The road network, housing and electricity system remain a pathetic and agonizing experience for Nigerians. What is more, in all these the youth are told to take heart and devoutly have faith that things would shape up soonest. But, while on the wings of hope for a brighter future, government and its officials task the youth to be productively self employed even as government continue in its failure not to provide an enabling environment for them to thrive. Therefore, youth of this great nation, must use the forthcoming election to regain your freedom from the vicious cycle of misrule, looting and stealing your voices. Know you all that your vote is your power, do not exchange for anything that you may regret later.

There is one thing you all must know in order to avoid the continued ignorance of your collective strength. The youth has been the vital engine that move freedom struggle to its logical success across the world. First, the Nigeria’s independence was a force moved by youths. The likes of Nnamdi Azikiwe, Obafemi Awolowo, Anthony Enahoro among others are in their youth when they fought for Nigeria independence. The South Africa’s freedom was quickened when the youth wing of the African National Congress (ANC) took the struggle to a higher level. Regrettably however, many of Nigeria’s younger generation are ignorant of these youthful exploits across the world because they remain on the dark side of history since political leaders without vision yanked history from school curriculum.

Again, the youth should sustain the momentum and keep their heads straight so as not to fall for the craftily blurred lines ruled by selfish politicians. The tendency to deliberately use your impoverish condition to sway your minds to doing the wrong thing should be resisted. To vote right and vote your conscience means you are voting-in the people who will have do things differently. Of course, this will prevent those who convert public treasury into the ruling party’s vault.

Remember that, many a politician are not only selfish but are interested in empty promises and grandstanding just to woo your vote. Don’t forget that the temptation will be strong to help yourself with some ‘free cash’ or some stomach infrastructure ingredients that may only last a few days in exchange for a four-year juicy political office. No doubt, the Judas among you will persuade you against your wish or persecute you for being upright. You would be jeered, derided or even hated for being Obident wanting to do the right thing. All these are as a result of poverty on the part of the people and the culture of greed which has over the years permitted people to sell their votes. This must be resisted. The youth should use this election as an example to stop out society from being seen as where ideals and standard are eroded due to poor leadership. Also, use the election to stop where mediocrity’s long reign has blurred values and a sense of virtues.

I implore the youth to be very Obident and observant; you should oppose any wrong doing in a civilised manner. Whatever protest you want to embark upon should be championed without being violent or unruly. Any unruly act will be used to discredit all your good efforts and pave way for dubious politicians to rig the election in their favour.