by Ihechukwu Ibeji
The foundation of every great nation is built on certain specific structures, one of which is the necessary ingraining of youths into active politics and leadership roles. In a nation such as ours where the experience of the elderly is revered and respected, the importance of passing the baton of leadership to the youth-mix has become more of a reality than an idea.
I have read several articles and stories that have supported the need and efforts of our youths to begin to play active roles in the leadership of our nation and extinguish the complacent attitude of being perennial bystanders and losing the opportunity of actually building a nation for “Tomorrow” and not “of Yesterday.” One of such articles, which aptly zeroes in on potential youth leadership representatives is that which was published on the pages of an online tabloid.
That March 6, 2013 article titled “10 of the most powerful young people in Politics” threw up certain promising and exciting young Nigerians such as Umar Bello Magaji, Godwin Amaize, Luke Onofiok, Olumide Babatunde Osoba, Bamikole Omisore, Anthony Ehilebo, Uche Chuta, Akin Rotimi, Ngozi Njemanze and Raymond Dokpesi (jnr). These are youthful professionals who are excelling in their areas of core competence, “demanding more from their government all the time, and taking greater interest in politics.” While this list to me is extremely promising, alas, I still believe that it is inexhaustible given the massive nature of human capital in the country, and this is where I want others to emulate.
For me, it is not enough for our youths to grovel and complain about poor leadership, marginalisation and under-development, there is an urgent need for them to “take the bull by the horn”, take a shot at getting into leadership positions and one good way to do this is to join the fray for 2015. As I would always say “If you are good enough to be used as cannon fodders to win elections, then you are even better off becoming the leader yourself since it is public knowledge that experience is not only about time but about doing it yourself (Hands on actualization).”
So it was with these thoughts in mind that I have been following certain exciting events that have been unfolding in the past few months. First was the declaration by Uche Chuta, one of those on the “10 of the most powerful young people in Politics publication” to run for governorship in Abia State. His declaration caught my attention because of the unique way in which it was done, via the social media; twitter. The novelty of the whole declaration was not lost on me as it gradually snow-balled into an avenue for increasing support and encouragement from vibrant Nigerians who are desirous to actually see more of such bold and youthful driven focus.
Now the elixir for Mr. Chuta’s declaration was from a statement in the Vanguard newspaper of April 4, 2014 where during a visit made by Ukwa/Ngwa Professionals, the executive governor of Abia State, Chief Theodore Orji said that there was no going back in his promise to cede power to Ukwa/Ngwa people of the state but urged them to help him realise the project. He reaffirmed that ceding power to the Ukwa/Ngwa people was the only way to ensure justice and fairness and eliminate marginalisation and ethnic cleavages.
Thus on the strength of the mere fact that Uche Chuta is a Nigerian of Abia State origin qualifies him to declare interest in any elective post in the nation, sum that up with the above position by the executive governor of Abia State and the fact that Mr. Chuta hails from Azumini in Ukwa East, this makes his declaration even more interesting. It is for me a development that we all need to watch in the months ahead.
This surely throws up an exciting and unfolding scenario in the Abia State political terrain, one which I am very excited about, given that Uche Chuta is a youth who has taken the bull by the horn and one which I believe that millions of youths nationwide will be watching with keen interest as well as throwing their support behind one of their own. And believe me, history has shown that when the youths of Nigeria make up their minds about something, they always go the whole hog. They are unstoppable.
Ihechukwu Ibeji is a social commentator and political analyst based in Lagos. He can be reached at [email protected].
The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author.