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Election, Time and the Lamentation of Nigerian Youth

Election, Time and the Lamentation of Nigerian Youth

Various statistics show that youths are the engine of development for Africa. It has a youth population of more than 60%. Nigeria, having the most population on the continent, is regarded as having the largest share of the population. The current population of Nigeria is 219,823,942 as of Thursday, March 9, 2023, based on Worldometer’s elaboration of the latest United Nations data. The median age in Nigeria is 18.1 years.

Some of you moved to urban areas between 1990 and 2020 in search of opportunities, but you still haven’t achieved your goals as you had hoped. In the early 90s, according to our check, the majority of you still had relatively good access to better education and other basic necessities of life. However, since the country’s return to democratic governance in 1999, you have developed a high level of distrust in political leadership. You believe that the leaders, whom most enjoyed pre-independence good governance, have not done much for your own era. This is understandable and exists in most democracies, especially those in the global south.

Considering all the negativities of the ruling class, from 2011 to 2022, you engaged in social and political movements that showed that, like other youths in other democracies, you have grown up and are ready to take on the mantle of leadership. This was exemplified in the recent 2023 presidential election, where you made several points to the ruling elites through your votes. This is laudable because it shows your level of commitment to the ‘not too young to run’ mantra. Unfortunately, the outcomes did not align with your expectations, according to many of you. This has largely led to various forms of lamentation in the digital and physical realms. Some have reached the point of playing religious and ethnicity identity games with the intention of dividing the country further without considering existing political differences and their contributions to some of the negative outcomes of the election. It was really appalling that the same youths who want a better country were engaged by some politicians for mutilating election result sheets.

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So, why the lamentation? When it is obvious that you were part of the process that produced the results. It is ideal for you to be grieving while searching for the lost attachment. However, it is also appropriate to reflect and make necessary adjustments. Instead of channeling your efforts towards dividing the country along ethnicity and religion, your lamentation should be on the lack of genuine socioeconomic practices that we do have. Let me leave you with this quote from Simon Brass, the author of Lamentations on the Nothingness of Being.

“We are always awaiting the Messiah who never arrives. I long for bygone days where every dawn brought a new eschatology and an interminable queue of prophets preached humanity’s impending salvation as if it were syndicated. It must have been joyous to receive a fresh messiah weekly, and to be regaled with inspiring tales of the glory that lay ahead. When those false idols were smashed, others took their place, from progress to the realization of history. None of this means anything to the cockroaches or rats anyway.”

I would like you to reflect on it and see that lamentation without being strategic about how to utilise time meaningfully on digital platforms cannot lead to attaining one’s desires. Yes. I know some of you are using digital platforms as a stress-escape strategy. However, those who have little means of income and spend it on data subscriptions without considering its use for exploring digital opportunities are doing a great disservice to themselves.

Like how the current was declared over 7 years ago, the president-elect, Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu, has also been declared. If God wishes, he would spend 8 years fulfilling the constitutional requirement. Those who are actually youths now are most likely to be outside the youth age threshold when he completes his tenure. What benefits would you anticipate from being under democratic governance if you continue with lamentation?

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