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The Youths Are Coming…

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The song may not be sonorous and the dance steps uncoordinated; the terrain may be rough and rugged and the path tortuous. The chances may be slim, and hope may dim. Never worry and cry; Nigerian youths are coming.

This strong conviction on the seemingly exciting future for the embattled, restless but upbeat youths of this country is fuelled by recent strange but encouraging occurrences, which only key watchers of the polity and other sectors may notice.

From these eye-opening developments, a strong statement and message has been or is being sent to the ageing leaders of the country that no matter the barriers they erect against the younger generation, in no distant time, they will be broken and the forces behind them will leave both the political and business stages for the upcoming serious minded youths.

Sure, there is light at the end of the tunnel. The incurable pessimists, who have lost hope in the youths and have rubbished them to the beastly place of history because of the negative acts and tendencies may disagree and refuse to share in this belief and the ecstasy that has caught up with some Nigerians, of which I am one..

Events before and after the 2019 general elections have opened up the political space and the country’s legal turf that point to a possible dawn of a new era for the youths.

Nigerian youths set the record this year when three of them in their early thirties emerged the speakers of Plateau, Oyo and Kwara State Houses of Assembly.

One of the pacesetting youths is Hon. Abok Ayuba, 33, a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC) who emerged the speaker of the Plateau State House of Assembly in a hot race between old-timers and first-timers in that legislature

Interestingly, Ayuba, a first-time lawmaker, is also a 500-level student of Law at the University of Jos (UNIJOS).

Hon. Debo Ogundoyin, 31, also made Nigerian youths proud when he was elected the speaker of the Oyo State House of Assembly

Ogundoyin, a member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), represents Ibarapa East constituency. He was unanimously elected speaker of the House by members without any fisticuff or altercation.

Ogundoyin is, however, not a greenhorn in the business of lawmaking as he was first elected into the House in 2018 after the death of the former speaker, Hon. Michael Adeyemo, from Ibarapa East.

Hon. Yakubu Saliu Danladi, 34, breasted the political victory torchline when he was unanimously elected the speaker of the 9th Kwara State House of Assembly.

Danladi, who is also a first timer in the Assembly represents Ilesha/Gwanara constituency in the Assembly. These are no flashes in the pan.

On the legal turf, Muyiwa Atoyebi, 34, a graduate of the University of Ilorin, (UNILORIN) dared and conquered when last week he was named among olders lawyers to be conferred with the prestigious Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) title.

Atoyebi is now the youngest Nigerian lawyer promoted to that enviable rank.

He joins Kehinde Olamide Ogunwumiju, who in 2017 became the youngest recipient of the SAN’s rank.

In a statement announcing Atoyebi’s elevation, Hadizatu Mustapha, secretary of the Legal Practitioners’ Privileges Committee (LPPC), said the new SANs would be sworn in during the 2019/2020 new legal year of the Supreme Court in September. On behalf of Nigerian youths, I salute you.

SAN is conferred on Nigerian lawyers who have practiced for not less than 10 years, and have achieved distinction in the profession.

Congratulations young turks for making those who don’t believe in Nigerian youths to eat their words. Bravo for proving that the youths are not entirely and wholly bandits, kidnappers, armed robbers, drug addicts, yahoo yahoo boys, political thugs and layabouts to which these generation of leaders have consigned and reduced them to.

It is indeed the year of Nigerian youths. Their feats remind one of the coming to political and leadership limelight of the likes of the late nationalist, Chief Anthony Enahoro and former head of state and elder statesman, Gen. Yakubu Gowon, a living legend, an apostle of peace and national unity. This is how they rose from an unfriendly environment to rewrite the country’s history.

The All Progressives Congress (APC) youth support groups under the aegis of Nigerian Youth Corporate Social Responsibility Fund (NYCARF) has also wormed themselves into the hearts of many Nigerians for coming out of obscurity, seclusion and the use-and-dump mentality of the ruling elite to submitting a 100-man list to President Muhammadu Buhari for ministerial and other appointments.

Although the list appears bogus and outlandish, I still doff my hat for them. It is the first time that Nigerian youths have organised themselves to ask for inclusion in the governance of the country.

Having worked themselves out for the president’s re-election, these enterprising youths, who were great mobilisers for Buhari’s victory, must not be left out of the system simply because they are young.

Your 100-man ministerial list is in order, because in political bargaining, especially in a country like ours, you demand more than your due, so that you don’t end up with nothing.

Kudos to the chairman of NYCARF, Ambassador Vincent Anthony, for taking the initiative and working in line with 50 per cent inclusion of youth in governance, as part of President Buhari’s purported re-election deal with these young men and women.

They sacrificed their time, talent, energy, and financial resources to campaign vigorously for a president that they believe in. And now that Buhari has won the election, let it not be business as usual, especially the antiquated “bamboo de work, monkey dey chop” leadership style of those before now.

The words of Anthony gladden many hearts. They were devoid of selfishness and self-centredness.

While submitting the list to the presidency, Anthony said: “Your Excellency, Mr. President, we have carefully selected young people, unemployed graduates, who are entrepreneurs and technocrats, from the 36 states and Federal Capital Territory (FCT) to make sure that we present the best of all teams needed to achieve not only inclusion of youths in governance, but a team which goals are to see that your Next Level agenda is recorded in the history book of Nigeria as the best and the only tenure that turned the history book around for a new dawn. A new era shall emerge after your watch in 2023.”

Even though a thick fog hangs over youthful and slapping Senator Elisha Abbo, he still deserves recognition for blazing the trail as Nigeria’s youngest senator and for joining the chamber hitherto the exclusive preserve of the nouveau riche, senior citizens, and lately a refuge for ex-governors.

For our young speakers of the state legislatures, learn from Senator Abbo’s errors shameful outing. Beware of pride and arrogance. Be the voice of the oppressed, succour for the buffeted and traumatised.

Love your constituents, respect the older citizens and work harmoniously with the young.

Lastly, be the ambassadors and mentors of the generation you represent and the upcoming, and soar like the eagle that you really are.

This column, “Torchline” will keep an eye on you.

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