Young Or Not, Be Competent To Rule -By Rodiyah Omotoyosi Mikail

Filed under: Democracy & Governance |

I know plethora of people who are into politics, people who have invested their whole lives in it. I know people whose contribution to politics is limited to election periods and a lot more who have never made the least form of contribution, in terms of opinions, when it comes to politics. We all have our individual reactions and ideas to and about politics.

It is immaterial whether we like politics or not, whether we belong to political parties or not or whether we exercise our franchise or not during elections. The facts remains that politics is a constant phenomenon in our lives and daily activities that affects our beliefs, lifestyles and the decisions we make. This connotes that the decisions we make in politics, participation or apathy, affect us directly or indirectly. We make the right decisions and we smile. Otherwise, we be at the receiving end.

Making the right decisions does not literally interpretes as choosing the right leader. Sometimes, our apathy to politics is of greater harm to us. Choosing the wrong leaders is fatal, we all agree to that. Refusing to choose the right ones is catastrophic. But then, how do we figure that when we’ve allowed our needs and wants to cloud our judgement? How do we choose the right leaders when they all give us salaries we didn’t work for when it’s time for election which mostly becomes selection.
Besides, who are the right leaders and how do we identify them? Could it possibly be any dick or harry,old or young?

Group of young Nigerians

The song, ‘We are the leaders of tomorrow’ has been sung in primary schools since the generation of our fathers. Funnily enough, since that period till this moment, the same generation has been in government. The same sets of people have been governing us, no significant change. The hilarious part is that every time electionee is near, we tell ourselves its time for change. Everytime we elect a bad leader or the government misbehaves and we tell ourselves we want change, we choose a new leader only to re-elect them during the next election, the irony!

Since independence, Nigeria has been ruled by the same set of people with little or no change at all. We have, with our own hands elected the same sets of people over and over again in an almost unending cycle. We have given our rights up into the hands of tyrants and our economy into the hands of thieves, diplomatic ‘419s’ who manipulate the power of the pen to suit their own whims and caprices. Power has been placed in the hands of deceivers who have thrown the coming generations in tons of debts. We have placed our destiny time and again in the hands of people who do not even want to know how their people live. People who, in the name of projects, loot our money into private accounts, soak-aways, water tanks and other unimaginable places. Are these people too young or too old to rule? I really don’t know.

So, the old folks who have not been able to make tangible improvements in our lifestyles tell the younger generations they are too young to rule? Tell me, was the oldest of them fifty years old thirty years ago when they started this cycle? Besides, if Nigeria was deemed too young to rule itself in 1960, would they be able to rule it years ago when they were just in their late twenties and early thirties? So, on what grounds is a thirty year old too young to rule if he/she got the ability? Why should ability be judged by age? Must we judge the ability of a fish by climbing a tree? It’s quite unfair, if you ask me.

However, as much as I’d like to be an advocate for ‘Not too young to run’ because I’m tired of the activities of the old generation, I’ve seen what the young ones too are capable of and it’s not so good. I’ve seen student union presidents being suspended in Nigerian universities on the ground of embezzlement. I’ve also seen prefects in a public secondary school bullying their innocent juniors. That is how it begins. This is what power does to anyone, it intoxicates. In the words of Lord Acton, ‘Power tends to corrupt; absolute power corrupts absolutely’. It makes you do things you would frown at if you had never stepped into those shoes.

Whether you are 90 or 20 years, most people get power hungry once they taste the sweet intoxication of it. They always want more. The only thing that determines how the intoxication works is the type of person you really are and the type of company you keep. It doesn’t matter if you are a good person, the outcome is never good when you work and walk with the bad people.
So it doesn’t matter if we’re ruled by the old or the young, what matters is good governance which does not lie completely in either category of persons.

Who knows? With the might of the old and new generations combined, we could make the much-awaited progress we all crave. Politics is a dirty game, I agree. In fact, it is full of evils. We just have to choose the lesser of the evils. What I disagree with however, is denying the younger generations of opportunities that were not denied of you in your own time.

Judge us by our abilities, not our age. Let us prove ourselves before you condemn us. We do not say we want to fly solo, no. We only want to fly together so that we can soar higher.

Rodiyah Omotoyosi Mikail, Usmanu Danfodiyo University Sokoto, writes

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