Geoffrey Anyanwu, Enugu
The Leadership, Entrepreneurship and Advocacy (LEAD) Network, has said that the Nigerian political space would not breathe fresh air unless the preset crop of leaders who were above 60 years were retired.
LEAD said Nigeria needed new and progressive ideas based on modern knowledge driven by technology to move ahead, hence the need for the youths to take up the challenge and engage actively in politics.
Executive Director of LEAD Network, Mr. Chukwuma Okenwa, who disclosed these in Enugu while speaking to newsmen on why youths must participate actively in politics to get the desired change, called on the youths to start the move by ensuring active participation in the ongoing INEC’s Continuous Voters Registration (CVR) and other electoral processes to change the status quo.
Okenwa said, “The country needed new and progressive ideas based on modern knowledge driven by technology for the country to move ahead and fulfill its destiny among the comity of nations.
“The youths remained the silent majority. It will surprise you that in a nation of anticipated 100 million voters, the President election is decided by only 30 million votes. It means that 70 million voters not participating are majorly youths.
“If the 70 million voters, who are the silent majority, stand up to vote and be voted for; there will be a great upturn in the democratic process and its outcome henceforth.
“With this overwhelming number, the youths have the electoral power and critical mass to ensure that political parties fashion their electoral policies, manifesto and candidacy to favour the youthful population.
“The youths should stand out to be counted and influence who is finally elected at the end of the day and if they can rise, they will be a great threat to any existing group or force in the political space.”
Okenwa who noted that the impediment to youths participating in politics remained the notion that “vote does not count in the country,” warned that with such notion, present political dynamism disfavouring youths would never change.
He therefore, said that for youths to anticipate peaceful change, it would be by “engaging political leaders, recalling those not performing or out-rightly ensuring that political misfits do not get into political offices by our ballot votes.”
For him, the ongoing CVR and the forthcoming 2023 General Election would provide an opportunity for youths to change the fortune of the country to benefit their generation.
Advising them not to allow anybody dissuade them from participating in ongoing CVR, Okenwa said, “Political negotiations and decisions are made based on numbers. Politically, your impact might not be felt if you do not have the critical mass in terms of numbers to upturn things around.”