A non-political organization, Youths Occupy State Assembly (YOSA), has advocated the active participation of youths across the country in elections into all political offices, come 2019 general elections.
The NGO, at a well-attended conference held at the Ogun State Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN) Secretariat, Onikolobo, Abeokuta, recently, charged all youths that are interested in seeking political offices in the coming 2019 general elections to make themselves available.
The National Coordinator of the group, Comrade Eric Oluwole, noted that the quest to change the old system of recycling old politicians in the nationâ€™s various political offices since independence in 1960 has greatest had negative effects on governance, and ultimately the economy, the aftermath of which he said, prompted him and some other notable youth leaders to besiege the National Assembly recently where they met with the Senate President, Bukola Saraki in support of the bill for the not-too-young-to-run.
According to him, YOSA is a veritable platform for youths seeking political offices and as such, the group has adopted the UPN, because the party made provision for the inclusion of youths in its programme, especially giving free nomination forms to its candidates as evidenced in the 2015 general elections.
Oluwole said: â€œUPN is a political party different from others where it gives free nomination forms to its candidates. It is a party that allows youths to rise to the top of their political career. As a result of the relentless efforts of the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, we had free education and health in the entire old western region. So, if we are talking of restructuring we should talk of free education.
â€œI want to enjoin you all, to let us forget about politics and go back to the basics or foundation of our existence as human beings. So, it is high time we got our acts right as youths and take over the mantle of leadership of this country, not by force. Who among us is interested in seeking any political office should go back to his or her ward and start the process, by talking to his or her constituents of the need why they should support him or her for the office.
â€œIt is not going to be automatic but the nomination form will be given to a popular aspirant that can win an election in his ward or constituency free of charge. Unlike some leaders in either the APC or PDP, if you go to them, they might think you have come to beg for money but this is not the case in UPN where we have a generous leader, Otunba Rotimi Paseda that doesnâ€™t think of himself only but has the interest of the generality of the people at heart. â€œNow, we want youths to take over the centre stage.
Otunba Rotimi Paseda has a very much interest in this political platform for things to be better. Besides, he doesnâ€™t want any of the youths to suffer and that is why he has identified with us. In essence, we have adopted UPN as a youth party. So, YOSA and UPN are working together for the common good of all. PDP and APC have approached us in YOSA but we have only made up our mind to work with the UPN in realising this primary objective of electing youths into various political offices in the 2019 general elections. We are identifying with the leadership structure of the UPN and we are ready to work with it.
â€œYOSA is not only in Ogun State, it is Ondo, Ekiti, Osun, Oyo and Lagos states respectively. We are just reaching out to all political segments of the country and very soon, we will soon meet in Lagos with the leaders of the Ohanaeze and Arewa youths.â€
He, however, warned youths not to be used just as the 2019 general elections are approaching. â€œDonâ€™t let them use you to negotiate elective offices but rather, let us define our own future and join the various political contests. Also, donâ€™t allow yourself to be used and dumped by political office seekersâ€, admonished the YOSA coordinator.
Also, the Ogun State UPN Chairperson, Alhaja Aminat Olatunbosun, urged youths not to make themselves for some politicians to be used and dumped, just as the 2019 general elections are approaching.
Rather, she enjoined the youths to see themselves as relevant to the growth and development of the country through their active participation in elective offices at various levels.
â€œYOSA has identified with us and I believe that the collaboration will go a long way to encourage the youths, so that their voices can be heard,â€ said Olatunbosun.