THE ROLE OF NIGERIAN YOUTHS IN THE FORTHCOMING GENERAL ELECTIONS

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THE ROLE OF NIGERIAN YOUTHS IN THE FORTHCOMING GENERAL ELECTIONS

With the forthcoming 2019 general elections scheduled to take place on the 16th and 2nd of March, there is the much needed urge to talk about The Role of the Youths in the forthcoming general  elections. The awareness amongst the youths on this forthcoming elections have never been this witnessed in my life. Seems youths are eager and ever ready to be part of the forthcoming  general elections to either make things right or to make it a do or die affair. The United Nations defined a youth as one between the ages of 15-35 years of age but to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), a youth is anyone from the age of 18 and above and are therefore eligible to vote. In essence, anyone from age 18 and above is suppose to be part of the electoral process to either vote or be part of INEC officials in conducting a free and fair election in the country.





The youths in Nigeria, hold a significant proportion in the nation's population and they play a vital role in the growth and strength of the country yet their involvement in the nation's electoral process has been poor. Imagine a situation where the youths come out en masse to support a particular candidate and what the result would be. From 1960 when Nigeria gained her independence to 2015, eight elections have been conducted so far and all with the exception of the 2015 elections have been marked with with electoral violence. Prior to the 2015 elections, most youths have been involved in electoral malpractices or violence. Researches conducted in previous elections showed that, most youths involved in election violence was as a result of unemployment, poor background, illiteracy, lack of proper awareness, poverty etc, but as time went on, you get to see even educated youths involved in electoral violence hence the massive involvement of youths by INEC in the 2015 general elections to get them engaged in the electoral process. For some youths, there is the believe that, politicians being voted into office is to keep an ethnic or religious group in power or to secure a political office for the youths hence the youths becoming tools of weapons of mass destruction in the hands of unscrupulous politicians. While for some, they grew up from a family back ground where voting seemed unnecessary or with the belief that their votes will not count so no need voting. This belief is also predicated on the outcome of previous elections conducted where there were massive rigging and actual votes not counted.

THE ROLE OF THE NIGERIAN IN THE ELECTORAL PROCESS

With the Youths having a pivotal role to play, means a significant change and difference can be made in this country with the active involvement of all youths in the electoral process and being involved in the electoral process is either through your votes or as an official conducting the elections. Now, whether, you are part of those conducting the elections or part of those to cast votes, your major role as youth is to ensure the elections are free and fair and having a free and fair election starts from me and you which can be achieved by; 
  • Ensuring we cast our votes. It is commonly said that our votes do not count believing the cabals already know who to put in office or that the politicians will rig their way into office and the elections are just a formality. Well, it is or civic right and responsibility to vote who we believe is capable of leading this country to the right direction. Whether you cast your vote or not, either way you have voted. When you do not vote, you have indirectly voted in the wrong person into office but when you cast your vote, you know that at least, you have not only voted in your preferred candidate but that you have performed your civic right and responsibility
  • Ensuring our votes are not for sale. No matter the amount of money offered, your vote is not for sale. When you sell your votes, you end up bringing in the wrong person into office which does not just affect you but might end up affecting your children and generation unborn. Do not let posterity judge you as a result of your actions. leave a good legacy for your children to follow and let your actions now speak well and create good ground for them in the future.
  • Not becoming tools in the hands of unscrupulous politicians as weapons of mass destruction causing mayhem on unsuspecting and innocent citizens. Politicians after every election will always settle themselves. In politics, especially in the Nigerian politics, there is no friend or foe and you can see that on how politicians jump from one party to the other before and after elections, so whats the need fighting your fellow human being/citizen or ordinary man for this same politicians that might end up becoming friends with his opponent in the nearest future. The next man beside you that you feel is a threat cause his vote is for your opponent is an ordinary citizen as you that could be of help to you or a relative tomorrow. Do not also forget that in the process of trying to inflicting bodily harm on your fellow electorate, you too could get caught up in the cross fire and eventually loose your life or cause a permanent bodily injury on yourself. Your life is not worth loosing for any politician whose children are either overseas or in the comfort of their homes well protected. Your role as an electorate is just to cast your vote for your preferred candidate and not to fight a fellow electorate
  • Ensuring our votes are not based on sentiments but on objectivity. Do not cast your vote for the sake of religion, ethnicity or party affiliation but vote for a candidate whom you believe is capable to rule this country in the right direction. When I was watching the presidential debate on Channels TV where we had in attendance Obi Ezekwessili (ACPN), Kingsley Moghalu (YPP) AND Fela Durotoye (ANN), I marveled at their level of intelligence and exposure and I said to myself, when will we as a nation get to a point where we get confused of which candidate to vote as a result of all candidates being too good and intelligent. Elections are the cardinal point to democracy which begins with me and you and how we go about it now will determine the kind of governance we get at the end of the day.
  • Most of all, as youths, lets not forget to pray for our nation in this trying time. This should be our number one role. Lets not just vote without praying or praying without casting our votes. As you cast your votes, ask God to bring in the right person into power. There is nothing God can not do. He said, "If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sins and will heal their land." 2nd Chronicles 7:14. You become wicked when you fail to do the right thing.
Youths are the backbone of every nation. We are the nation's strength and can achieve what ever we set our minds to achieve. The young and elderly look up to the youths in making a change and a difference in every nation and that is why the first point of call for any politician is the youths to achieve his/her political aim either by crook or by hook knowing the strength and vitality a youth possess but it behooves us all as youths to use our heads wisely.

Quote for the day - " A vote is like a riffle: its usefulness depends on the character of the user." Theodore Roosevelt 


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