By Emmanuel Enebeli
EFFURUN/Nigeria: Youths in Nigeria had been charged to work towards taking over the leadership of the country from the old politicians, instead of lamenting of not been allowed into the sphere of leadership in the country.
This was the general view of speakers at a one day workshop organised by African Center for Leadership, Strategy and Development (Centre LSD) and the ford Foundation, in Effurun, Uwvie Local Government Area of delta State, on Thursday, September 6, 2018 at Wellington Hotels.
Speaking during the meeting, the African Centre for Leadership, Strategy and Development, identified lack of political leadership as one of the major challenges facing the African continent.
The Executive Director, of the centre, Dr Otive Igbuzor who spoke during the one day town hall meeting on youth participation in politics in the Niger Delta (Edo, Delta and Bayelsa states), lamented that youths have not been groomed to take over leadership from the older politicians.
He said the reasons why the centre decided to train the youths was because it has discovered that youths in the country have little knowledge of leadership.
Igbuzor who was represented by the Executive Director, Centre LSD, Abuja, Mr Monday Osasah, noted that leadership challenge in the future will be greater as there has been an increasing marginalization of youths from politics.
He said this was why the centre decided to train over 240 youths who were interested in politics from the Niger Delta region in leadership capacity training programme.
He said, “The importance of youth to the development of any nation cannot be over emphasized. The youths constitute the backbone and future of any nation.
“It is in recognition of this fact that the African Union developed the African Youths Charter, where it prescribed responsibilities to members states for the development of youths.”
He urged the political parties in the nation to accommodate at least 30 percent of both elective and appointive positions for the youths in their platforms.
Igbuzor also faulted political parties for selling political nomination forms for exorbitant prices that are above the reach of the youths, accusing the political parties of making it difficult for youths to actively participate in politics.
Addressing the participants, the Keynote speaker, Dr Charles Apoki called for the restructuring of the political system in such a way that politics is made less attractive.
Apoki noted that the cost of governance in Nigeria has assumed an alarming proportion as people go into it just to make money and not to better the life of those they represent.
He said the Not Too Young To Rule Bill may not see the light of the day if the youths in the country do not stop shedding blood for the rich politicians who have continued to impoverish them.
“Until we have electoral reforms in this country, children of the rich will continue to rule the children of the poor. Political nomination forms are too expensive for our youths to purchase,” Apiko added.
Apoki also noted that the reason why opposition parties continue to lose elections in the country was because their votes have always been divided.
One of the discussant, Mr Innocent Ukeh-Eboh said the youths in the country are where they are today because they have continued to allow themselves to be used as ready tools in the hands of selfish politicians.
He added that politicians jump from one party to another without conscience because all the political parties in the country have no political ideology and principles that guide them.
Mrs Recheal Misan-Ruppie, another discusant at the town hall meeting noted that most Nigerian youths lack the requisite ideology that will enable them allocate resources to their followers when they become leaders.
Other participants who spoke at the one day town hall meeting, all spoke against money bag politics, and called for electoral reform in Nigeria.
The African Centre for Leadership, Strategy and Development, is a non-profit, non-governmental organization established under Nigerian laws to build strategic leadership for sustainable development in Africa.