Nigerian youths have been charged to resist political oppression from politicians who only view them as tools to be deployed for election-related crimes.
They have also been urged to show the same level of concern they have for the reality television show, Big Brother Nigeria, on critical national issues.
Convener of NGVotersEdu2023 Nigerian Youth Votes, Tunji Ajibola, who made the call, expressed displeasure over the lackadaisical attitude of young people towards electioneering in the country.
He said young people, who comprise 80 per cent of the estimated population of Nigeria, form the largest voting block in the country, adding that they are the key stakeholders in Nigeria’s elections.
Ajibola sited the Independent National Electoral Commission’s (INEC) last statistics released, which showed large number of registered voters being young people, but the voting patterns showed that only a few of them managed to vote.
He said political parties; politicians and political gladiators rely so much on the youths to achieve their various political agenda, adding that without the youth elements in the electioneering process, there won’t be any activity.
Ajibola expressed regret that the youths allow politicians to cajole and intimidate them with a pittance, while using them against their fellow youths.
He lamented that nearly all the election-related crimes involve young people who politicians recruit as foot soldiers.
“If you look at all the prospectives aspirants for the 2023 elections, young people are promoting them through their various groups or platforms.
“There are various youth groups at various levels. Though, some of them have been compromised by politicians, like NANS, but there are different professional and faith-led youth leadership groups that can actually start the sensitisation,” he said.
Ajibola urged the youths to refuse being manipulated by politicians, adding that they should realise the enormity of the power they possess collectively to determine who wins any election through their population block votes.
“There are youth groups in the two prominent political parties. All they need to do is to show the big wig politicians that, it is not going to be business as usual for them anymore. The youths, to some extent, determine whether there is going to be free and fair election or otherwise.
“If the youths can coordinate themselves properly, they can determine who leads Nigeria come 2023. They can achieve this feat by either joining any of the other registered political parties or the two prominent political parties to achieve their aims of being key stakeholders in Nigerian elections. They may not be able to form a political party now, but they can search for a party that has like minds and take over the party’s decisions” he added.