Politics is a serious issue in Nigeria. From the central power to the grassroots level, there are heightened corruption, god-fatherism, tribalism, religious sentiments, to mention a few.
In fact, to say the least, is that the country is faced with untold political instability. Undoubtedly, the whole political structure requires a fix.
While the country’s political system is highly dominated by elderly politicians, the youths have been too far away from the corridors of power. It is rather unfortunate that with the large population of Nigerian youths and the kind of influence they can exert on national development, yet they hardly wield influence in the country’s power politics. This is a serious concern; looking back at when the youths dominated the affairs of governance in the early days of Nigeria’s independence.
However, there is a call to restructure the current political system, awaken youths’ consciousness, and fix politics in Nigeria. That is the drive, zeal, and focus of the #FixPolitics initiative, to reposition the youths to their former grandeur in the country’s political space. But, the youths have to strive to seize the opportunity so as to secure their future in public life, which is certainly not going to happen on a platter of gold.
Not surprisingly, the group, at the public launch of ‘#FixPolitics Initiative’ had young Nigerians join the former Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof. Atahiru Jega, and other Nigerians from diverse political parties and organisations to canvas on fixing Nigeria’s politics.
This renewed interest in building the next generation of leaders for the country requires that the youths rise to the occasion and join the movement to chart a course for new value-based leadership that will alter the status quo of the political system and fixed politics in Nigeria.
Among vibrant young Nigerians that are rising to the occasion include Aisha Yesufu, Iyinoluwa Aboyeji, Jude Abaga (M.I Abaga), Cynthia Mbamalu, Yemi Adamolekun, and Samson Itodo.
#FixPolitics Initiative, a citizen-led movement, is the brainchild of a candidate in Nigeria’s 2019 presidential election and former Vice President of the World Bank, Dr. Obiageli Ezekwesili, who is working with a team of like-minds.
The group is out to provide an opportunity for a ‘call-to-action’ to a wider audience of citizens to join its ‘Work Study Group’ in crystallising the most effective collection action programme that can transform Nigeria’s politics. According to the visionary, the ultimate mission of the group is to focus attention on activities that will over the years and decades consciously and systematically mobilise citizens across multiple divides of the Nigerian society to take responsibility and collectively course-correct their struggling democracy.
The occasion provided the platform for young Nigerians to share opinions and canvass support for fixing Nigeria’s politics. During a panel discussion on ‘Emerging a New Value-based Political Class,’ the Programme Team Lead of YIAGA Africa Initiative, Mbamalu, stressed that a deep-rooted value was required to inform young peoples’ emotions and actions in fixing Nigeria’s politics. She supported the idea of a decentralised leadership that promotes gender equality and diversity.
“In the not too young to run and the #EndSARS movement, we actually saw the importance of the role of mobilizing young people and providing support. I think the problem of the not too young to run has to do with the political system,” she noted.
For her, the first point of call would be to mobilise young people around the culture of diversity and inclusiveness – an inclusive society that truly meets the needs of its people and ensures that everyone connects with the purpose. Not only connecting with the purpose but also the movement itself that is targeted toward the purpose.
She also welcomed the part of the #FixPolitics concept for the establishment of an unconventional ‘School of Politics, Policy and Government’ where the focus is more on young people and where “everybody can become somebody without knowing anybody.”
On his part, Young Global Leaders, World Economic Forum, Iyinoluwa Aboyeji, while emphasising how young people can leverage the unconversational school as a voice, said, “I believe there are many layers to building the right kind of political change we need in the society that would most important allow us to build a society that works for everybody.”
Aboyeji was equally dogged in his statement that there was a need to close the gap of wealth that exists in the Nigerian society, saying, “My belief is that young business and older business leaders move away from a system that predicts the idea that we are engaged in a business to just make money.”
He chided the business leaders that they have been missing in the conversation for too long.
“I think there is a need for us to bring them into the conversation, encourage the right kind of politics that will enable us to create the right kind of society for all of us,” he stated.
Abaga, added his voice, saying, “We are our own tomorrow, we can’t be ruled by relics. It is time for success to be ours. If we don’t bring the change, things will remain unchanged.”
The world has been waiting on the younger generation to fix politics in Nigeria, and it was time to embrace that change.