Pulse Opinion: Why young Nigerians are not running for office
There are a mixture of reasons why young Nigerians can’t be bothered about the political process.
2019 is around the corner and veteran politicians have started cross-carpeting to optimize their chances of winning during the election year.
That’s right, veteran politicians, who have been in the system for years and have directly and indirectly contributed to the mess that is Nigeria’s political system and direction-less ruling class.
If 2019 is going to be a battle of familiar faces with the same campaign slogans (good roads, constant power supply and all that jazz), we can’t help but wonder where are the young people?
On Wednesday, July 26, 2017, the Nigerian Senate passed the Not Too Young To Run bill.
The bill allows young Nigerians to run for president at the age 35 and governor at 30. Also, the bill provides for persons at 25-years to contest for the House of Representative or state assemblies across the country.
When the bill was passed, it was greeted with a lot of applause from young people all over the country. After years of clamouring for a shot to run the country and wrestle power from the old politicians, it seemed we had finally had our way.
The optimism of that bill has been met with inactivity and lethargy from the young ones. Where are the young political candidates? So far it is the same old faces we have been hearing and seeing.
So why are young Nigerians not running for office? I conducted a quick poll on Twitter to find out what was stopping us from running for political office.
43% of those who took the poll indicated that politics in Nigeria is a dirty game. Dirty in the sense of rituals and sacrifices.
Governor Ajimobi of Oyo state in 2015 revealed he had to move out of the state house to his private residence because of ‘juju’. He revealed that his political enemies placed sacrifices known as Ebo around the state house.
“Every morning, I always go out on exercise. If you know the Government House very well, it has many interchanges, popularly called ‘orita’, I see all kinds of sacrifices (ebo) placed in all these junctions.’
“Worried by these developments, some of you my Alfas here advised me to move out of the Government House to render their evil plots useless,” he said according to Premium Times.
Stories like this are many in Nigerian politics and a lot of youths would prefer to stay away from dark magic practices. Politics is already a dirty game without ‘juju’.
25% see politics as a frustrating enterprise. And this is a sentiment shared in mainstream Nigerian politics. Headlines like “IPAC Accuses NASS Of Frustrating Nigeria’s Democracy“, “Slow judicial system, lawyers’ delay tactics frustrating anti-corruption war“, and “Is Asiwaju frustrated with President?” give you a glimpse of the system of frustration that is Nigerian politics.
19% of people who took the poll said they are not interested in Nigerian politics. In March 2017, during the Loose Talk podcast, political commentator Ayo Sogunro stated a lot of people have mentally seceded from Nigeria. His statement reflects the indifference young Nigerians have towards politics.
With all these reasons- fear for the evil of politics, the frustrating process and indifference have made Nigerian youths stay away from politics.
There are a few young Nigerian politicians but they are too small for us to start a youth revolution.