Like other countries in the developing world, Nigeria is yet to fully tap its growing demographics for meaningful socioeconomic and political development. In the north region, population is increasing at a higher percent. This is not quite different in the south, east and west regions. Many reports have indicated that human resource is the country’s biggest resource not oil. This has been premised on the fact that the country has a number of people with adequate skills, knowledge and certification in cities and towns who can solve problems thwarting the country’s economic and political growth.
Though, “there is a large group of people working to help the dependents such as 44% of the population currently under age 15”, but evidences have shown that their purchasing power is not sufficient to wither the economic storms. Youths who are supposed to help those above age 60 in towns and villages are relocating to urban areas, for jobs. According to current unemployment data, over 13 million youths are unemployed. Seyi Odetola, a Nigerian who based in the United Kingdom, is also of the view that Nigeria lacks political leaders with progressive and social reform mindset.
With the unemployment issue and the inability of political leaders to provide a sustainable environment for the youths, some youths who joined social and political activism after the 1999 general election believe that it is time for the youths to be part of governance. According to them, the baby boomer and generation X political leaders have failed to change the governance structure in favour of every citizen. In its piece on the recent political development in the country, the London School of Economics notes “Nigerian youths are yet to achieve representation in politics, despite growing evidence of youth activism and mobilisation for political inclusion.”
As the youths accused the baby boomer generation and generation X for poor leadership, political leaders believe that some of the youths are not ripe for the leadership positions. The youths have been described as being poor to run for political office by some politicians. The recent ENDSARS protests seem to renew the agitation for the youth inclusion in politics. Across the country, the protesters added some socioeconomic and political issues to their demands of ending police brutality, calling for generational shift. Instead of the shift, Abideen Olasupo, a youth advocate is of the view that the youths only need to call for realignment of the generational balance of power not generational shift.
“I think this is democracy, I don’t subscribe to the advice of chasing the whole generation and people out of the space, this is democracy, we are just trying to say, if young person contributes more than 60% to the Nigerian population, they should be given an opportunity to contribute to their own quota in a meaningful way. Look at the age bracket, the median age of Nigerian governor, it is more than 30 and at the national youth policies is saying the youths age stops as 29.”