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“Are youths not worthy of being leaders?”
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“Are youths not worthy of being leaders?”

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diyaulhaq-bin-usmanYouths have the right to vote, but Diyaulhaq Bin Usman, 23, a Correspondent from Funtua, Nigeria argues that more effort should be made to engage youths as potential candidates who will shape elections of the future.

The custom of older men and women dominating the government of the people is annoying, as it tends to mean the youths are sidelined and not included in running the affairs of a nation.

This custom can be said to have robbed the youths of their right to vote and be voted for.

In truth, the right to vote still remains, but the right of being voted for is what has been robbed from the youths. The society thinks the youth can do nothing in the running of the government of a nation, and only the old know very well how to stir the affairs of a nation.

Unfortunately some among these old and wise, as some may refer to them, employ youths to engage in unwanted activities during election periods. Whenever it is election period, certain candidates mobilise some youths and pay them meagre sums to harass another candidate, as well as cause turmoil during voting.

Perhaps this is why Herbert Hoover in his words said “Older men declare war. But it is youth that must fight and die.”

Whether these words of Hoover imply the above scenario or not, there is still a correlation between his words and the situation. Certainly it is the older men who are political gladiators that causes unrest, while the youths fight and die in the process.

But it is high time these youths are included in running of a nation’s affairs and not simply errand boys for the older political warriors.

A wise man and a leader, Kofi Annan, once said – and I quote – that “No one is born a good citizen; no nation is born a democracy. Rather, both are processes that continue to evolve over a lifetime. Young people must be included from birth. A society that cuts off from its youth severs its lifeline.”

These words of Kofi Annan are food for thought for the society to determine how the state of affairs is to be managed and by whom. We have seen what cutting off from youths means on several occasions. Nigeria, as a country where I come from, is a very good example of a nation that cuts off from its youths in terms of governmental affairs.

The Niger Delta pandemonium is one that any citizen of Nigeria knows too well, in the reports that those behind the bombings of pipelines and destruction of properties are the youth of the Niger Delta region. These are youths who, according to them, want a share of the nation’s cake.

The Boko Haram terrorist group in the North eastern part of Nigeria is also an example worthy of being mentioned. The essence of mentioning this group  is that the ages of those involved in this terrorism are the youths of our country, whose use would have been great towards the success of our Nation. But their absence and non-inclusion in the government leads to several upsurges of crime that favour neither the poor nor the rich. Though people consider acts of violence favourable to the bourgeoisie, I’ve failed to see how.

It is high time a nation pick up its youths and walk with them, for the youths are the pillars of our nations and they will make our nation stand firm and prosperous.

Photo credit: mag3737 Gladiator via photopin (license)
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About me: My ambition is to be a hard-working successful development journalist, who strives to bringing attention to the developmental interests of youths and rural areas. ‎ I also want to become a journalist who will be known for voicing the voices of the voiceless in the society.

I am presently in my final year of studying Mass Communication at the Bayero University Kano.

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Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth Youth Programme. Articles are published in a spirit of dialogue, respect and understanding. If you disagree, why not submit a response?
To learn more about becoming a Commonwealth Correspondent please visit: http://www.yourcommonwealth.org/submit-articles/

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