Over the past few days, I have listened to several conversations focused on the Not Too Young To Run Bill recently passed by the National Assembly as part of the amendment to the constitution.
This bill seeks to ensure that young people have a chance to use the best times of their lives in service to the nation. As laudable as this seems, some conversations have played down on the capacity of young people to govern.
I have heard comments like “young people don’t have the capacity to govern” but Is governance rocket science? ‘Wetin politicians dey do sef?’
One thing you cannot take away from young people is the zeal, creativity and innovation which can be brought to governance to do things differently.
What are our current legislators doing that smart and articulate young people like Japheth Omojuwa, Adebola Williams, Chimamanda Adichie, Audo Maikori, Mercy Abang, Smart Hart, Mark Essien, Uche Pedro and a host of others cannot do? What would happen if we have State Houses of Assembly full of vibrant young people debating developmental issues affecting them directly?
The present crop of young Nigerians are ready more than ever to midwife the rebirth of its dying nation and move the nation from a third to first world economy.
We are not just social media influencers, we have realized the strength in our numbers and in our numbers lie the exceptional abilities to drive the true change we seek.
Unarguably, leadership position requires experience, knowledge and competence but If Donald Duke could be governor at 37 why can’t a 27 year old be governor today? Indices have shown that knowledge is increasing from one generation to the next generation. For instance, a young Nigerian in 2017 probably knows a hundred times more than a young Nigerian in 1980 knew.
Young people now have access to more information because of urbanization and advancement in media technology. It’s easier to catch up with the latest trends across the world.
If we keep saying young people today do not have the capacity to govern, the question will be, is governance rocket science?
“Young people these days are not sound and roundly knowledgeable”, but who raised them?
The older generations have failed in their responsibilities as parents and mentors and they should accept that reality.
With the passage of this bill, I must state clearly that age is not our problem because overtime we have had young people in government with very poor performance and as corrupt as the older politicians.
This bill is not a fight of “We’’ against ‘’Them”, It is an opportunity to ensure that age is not an impediment to exceptional young people with strong leadership capacity and potentials.
Let’s have smart young people sit side-by-side with the older generation to bring forth innovative ideas for the betterment of our dear Nation.
It is not over yet, lets advocate for restructuring of political parties to accommodate aspiring young people, reduce the high cost of election funding to ensure equal playing ground and advocate for independent candidacy.
The Time is Now!
Hope Obeten is the CEO of Calabar Blog and Chairman, Association of Cross River Online Journalists, ACROJ.