To begin with , we must commend the different groups and persons who have advocated this for even proffering solutions to the myriads of problems facing the youth constituency and our country. There thought process isn’t so different from ideas we have toyed with in the past and seen its potential power , challenges and implications. While many have condemned the idea as a tall dream , I cannot but disagree on the notion that anything is impossible when it comes to politics and the potential of a visionary , consistent and competent united youth constituency. If you study the Nigerian political system very deeply and dispassionately , you will realize that its successes and failures depends very largely on the ability to mobilize the youths to carry out its bidding .
Since the return of democracy in 1999 , the political class have never failed to ‘engineer’ youth organization to push its agenda . Under the OBASANJO administration , we witnessed the birth of Grand Alliance of Nigeria led by Hon Abdul, the group paraded men like Dino Melaye and a host of student union leaders . They were so well funded . While most Nigeria youths perceived the group as pawns for the PDP government and focused only on the monetary gains it would bring to those who ran the organization , they failed to see the opportunity the group missed by not been able to transform the structure to a sustainable platform for youths in politics. We all remember the negative but powerful movement put together by the young Kanu for Abacha; Youths Earnestly Ask For Abacha . The demonstrated that a united NIgerian youth constituency could do a lot of good or bad for a country . There has been many groups like that focused on a short term agenda .
The government at different times have successfully courted the lame Nigerian youth council to endorse it at one time or the other to the detriment of what the organization was really meant to stand for . Many Nigerian youths know very well that the Nigerian Youth Council can easily pass for a political arm of our party . It’s structure is defective and doesn’t represent the Nigerian Youths on this planet . Urgent reforms is needed if the youths are to get any leverage from the Nigerian Youth Council.
The youths have been active tools in the hands of those who plunder and terrorize our people for too many years , there is enough evidence to show that no election has been won or lost without the full endorsement of the youth constituency whether through our actions or inaction .
While we cannot and will never be able to divorce politics from money , the use of money in our political field is predominantly negative , deceiving and morally devious . The politicians simply take advantage of the depth of desperation for survival of the youth constituency. In a country where less than 5% of its youths are poverty is the surname of many , you do not need a seer to tell you that most people will care less about good governance when they are is pervasive poverty.
While we pursue our vision for Nigeria within the PDP under the PDP Youth Circuit , I cannot but see the possibilities that are there for a political party for the youths even if all it does is to galvanize more youths to get involved . Who knows if the PDP can do the grandest merger that will be the envy of ACN , LP , ALGA and CPC put together! A youth political party may help rally those who don’t like my party or any of the other political parties under one umbrella to participate in politics .
There are many challenges in politics irrespective of the age of the players , the youths even have a bigger challenge; there is justifiable widespread mistrust , many can not stand the rigors of growing a political platform , many are genuinely concerned but cant fathom the need for consistency , perseverance,discipline , strategy and firm leadership. Most are unconsciously too cynical and are too focused on the immediate , others share no ideas but focus on compulsive criticisms , many cant stay in an organization if they don’t have the position of power they want . There is as much problem and obstacle for youths who lead youth groups as the people who lead the political parties in Nigeria today.
The PDP Youth Circuit provides an opportunity for those young People who want learn the dynamics of politics in a bid to contribute their quota to nation building. I remember the attacks on Ohimai Godwin , Tomi Araromi , Taiwo Adepoju and my friend Ojugo Onyeluka when they decided to join the PDP , many have called them all sorts of names for frolicking with the PDP without any recourse to their legitimate reasons , drive or convictions . I am happy that many of them have replaced their fear of ‘what people have to say’ with ‘what can we do to make a difference’.
Many have predicted the PDP Youth Circuit will die like other youth organizations , many expect us to be in court soon, many don’t know why it isn’t dead yet. The point is irrespective of what happens , men who have character and understand the need to change the status quo will remain resilient , consistent and focus .
Take it to the bank , there will be many obstacles within our the PDP Youth Circuit like any other group , however , the leadership will not blink for a second until our collective dream for our nation is achieved and can be entrenched institutionally for future generations to follow .
Good luck to the advocates of A YOUTH POLITICAL PARTY , the PDP YC will have its does open to you when you think of a merger .
Lai Labode is the Chairman of the People’s Democratic Party Youth Circuit (PDPYC)