Fidelis David reports that with heightened spate of fuel, and naira scarcity coupled with insecurity, widespread corruption and a general sense of dissatisfaction among citizens, Nigerian youths seem ready to take the bull by the horn in the forthcoming general election by using the advantage of their numerical strength to correct the serious socio-economic challenges bedeviling the country.
The voter registration data recently released by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) shows that youths have a historic role to play in the forthcoming election.
According to INEC, 37,060,399 registered voters representing 39.65%, are youth between the ages of 18 and 34; 33,413,591 representing 35.75% are middle-aged persons between the ages of 35 and 49; and 17,700,270 representing 18.94% are elderly voters between the ages of 50 and 69 while 5,294,748 representing 5.66% are senior citizens aged 70 and above.
In other words, youth still made up about 40 percent of the registered voters and, if properly mobilised, can tilt the balance of political election outcome to whom they choose. The key to achieving this lies in mobilising youth to participate in voting. And articulating their voices into one coherent voice in support of a political ideology.
At different fora, youth have shown capacity, they’ve demonstrated incredible brilliance and capability and suffice to say that contrary to the narrative about Nigeria and its citizens for a long time which depicts the country as a hub of corruption and poverty, activities of youths in recent times have proven otherwise.
With these, the Chairman of the Southern Governors’Forum and Governor of Ondo State, Mr Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, has envisioned that youths will determine the outcome of Saturday’s Presidential election.
The governor gave the revelation recently in Akure, Ondo State capital, while receiving members of the Youth Directorate of the All Progressive Congress (APC) Presidential Campaign Council (PCC) led by Seyi Tinubu, the son of APC Presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
Governor Akeredolu commended Seyi Tinubu and his team for the rigorous campaign embarked upon for the success of the APC.
While appreciating the youths in the party for their relentless efforts, the Governor revealed that youths will determine the outcome of this week’s Presidential poll.
According to him: “Your demographic shows that you occupy a larger percentage. You are the ones that will talk to yourself”.
Akeredolu explained that the choice of the Presidential Candidate of the APC, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, was premised on informed decisions based on his competence and track record.
“We didn’t waver when we said that the Presidency must come to the South. And when it got to the south, we didn’t waver when we said competence and track record are important. Our choice of Asiwaju was premised on informed decision not because we are from the same tribe”.
At the event, Akeredolu also asked President Muhammadu Buhari to direct the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr Godwin Emefiele to reverse the naira redesign policy now.
Akeredolu who said that both the new and old notes should be allowed to co-exist, faulted the timing of the policy, stating that it is ill-timed, adding that the problem created by the naira and fuel scarcity have affected the ratings of the APC.
He said:”We have a problem we are facing in this country today. Our rating as a party is not that favorable. Let’s not deceive ourselves. Must it be now that we will have this financial policy? How? Fuel and everything? Things are not easy. This policy is not right at this time. It should be reversed. Reserve it and tell CBN that we are reversing it. Let old and new notes co-exist.
“Okada, taxis, banks are not taking old notes again. There is an injunction and everyone is behaving like there is no injunction. We have said that this man (CBN Governor) should be removed when he contested to be President. The man is not fit for that position. A man who attempted to be President will frustrate us at this time”.
Earlier, while addressing students and youths of Ondo State, Seyi Tinubu said his father has groomed or created a conducive environment for the younger generation in the country, expressing optimism that his father would win next Saturday’s Presidential election.
Seyi who was active in the campaign that led to his father’s emergence as APC Presidential candidate said, “I am here to thank you for what you have been doing to campaign for our father towards bringing Nigeria to a better place.
Nothing worth achieving is easy. The light will be brighter at the end of the tunnel. It is our time. Youths will dominate Asiwaju’s government.
You will be the greatest benefactor. It is for you to go out to ensure our investments yield fruit. Nigeria will be better under Asiwaju. He has been tried, tested and trusted”, he added.
Also, Son of Governor Akeredolu, Babajide, said the APC would win the election with a landslide victory, noting that there is 28 percent youth participation in politics in the state.
“Youth participation is critical. My father believed it is time for the youths to have a voice in politics. There is a paradigm shift in politics. We are on the right path. Seyi is here to show us support. Continue to tell them Tinubu is the answer,” he said.