Ahead of the 2023 general election, the country’s youth have intensified movements to be part of the country’s political system by competing for elective office, Daily Trust Saturday reports.
In Nigeria, the ‘Not Too Young to Run’ Bill was passed by the National Assembly and signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari to give the country’s youth ample opportunities to serve in government.
On November 29, 2022, a non-profit civic center of change agents committed to promoting democratic governance, human rights and civic engagement, Yiaga Africa, brought together more than 150 young politicians seeking elective office in the northern states of the country.
trusted daily saturday he spoke to some of the participants to gauge how prepared they are, their fears and challenges thus far in their journey into politics.
Oshaloto Oluyemisi Abidemi is the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate for the Yagba West state constituency of Kogi state. It is the first time he has run for elective office.
She said: “It’s been interesting, if you will, because as we all know, there’s no journey that doesn’t come with its own challenges.
“There’s really nothing out of context, it’s just me getting into the political arena, wanting to get voted out, and then having to find ways to win people over to me.
“The truth is that it does not have a template. What works for A doesn’t work for B most of the time.
“You have to take more time to do things, it takes you away from whatever business you were doing before and then focuses you more.
“You see another side of politics that you can’t when you seek support for a particular candidate. It’s a boring game.
“For now I am very hopeful because I have good intentions for my people and I know that by the grace of God I will be there.”
Chrysanthus Ziphion is the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) candidate for the federal constituency of Pankshin, Kanke and Kanam, Plateau State. He said that he had lived a private life in the past doing business and now dabbling in active politics.
“The experience has been like a kick, a mixture of bitterness and all kinds of flavors.
“With the kind of sweet experiences, betrayals, people who really support you and who happened to stab you in the back, I have learned that Nigerian politics has been bastardized in the sense that if you don’t have resources, don’t even think about going into politics. and I think it’s a leadership position for service where you throw yourself into service, but it’s different in the Nigerian context.
“Today, people have turned it into a business to make money and that’s why you see people take it as a matter of life and death. People are just looking for money and you are expected to have all the money.
“Second, you have to go further. Be mentally and physically prepared. So far so good, the path has been very interesting for me, perhaps because I let myself be carried away by the courage of my convictions.
“Sometimes those things that should really make me feel down, I laugh through them and you see me crossing the hurdles. I give glory to God, it has not been a smooth experience, all rosy and easy.
“The kind of support I received from people really gives me hope and I have never taken politics as a matter of life and death.”
Aga Thaddeus is the Labor Party (LP) standard bearer for the Agasha constituency in the Benue State House of Assembly. She said that she is a first timer.
“The experience is incredible, as a young candidate, my journey into politics is not that easy despite my experience as a former leader of a student union.
“So far the challenges are nothing more than funding, one needs the resources to run the campaign and meet with stakeholders who can help take the journey.
“However, as a leader, there are many ways to approach leadership. This is about representing the masses and therefore some people alone should not take what belongs to the masses.”
For his part, Kabir Garba Abba, the PDP candidate for the Sumaila and Takai federal constituencies of Kano state, said he was running for elective office for the second time.
“The challenge is a matter of sponsorship and mentoring. The environment that I come from, they really respect it a lot. If you’re not following a sponsor, chances are you won’t make it.
“Still, all hope is not lost. Before, I had some fears that this person was too powerful and people said that you should join his group and the rest. I decided that I will be in the opposition and I will do my best.
“All the obstacles that young people face in politics now are due to two things, we are looking for money or we are giving recognition to the older generations, giving them the opportunity to maintain their patronage.”
For Rukayat Motunrayo Shittu, the APC candidate for the Owode Onire constituency of the Kwara State House of Assembly, she believes her experience in student politics would help her.
“As a youngster, I have the experience of student politics, I was the first female President of the Congress Senate of the National Open University of Nigeria Students representing more than 85 study centers in Nigeria. I have toured every area of local government in the state.
“Nothing good comes easy. We just have to fight for our space and if God crowns our efforts, we will be chosen. Whatever the hurdles, I think it’s only for a while and it will keep coming as we figure it out,” he said.
Abubakar Yusuf Tudun Murtala is the APGA candidate for the Nassarawa federal constituency of Kano State. He is also a beginner.
Speaking about his experience and journey so far, he said: “We have the highest population and we have to be represented in the National Assembly. This prompted me to come out with a vision that deals with the development of women and the country in general.
“It is not an easy task, we face many challenges as beginners, especially with funding, but we are hopeful and strategizing to influence young people to accept that this system needs people like us to get there. I also believe that we are more informed and we know how to solve the contemporary issues and issues facing our country today.”