By Leo Sobechi
President Muhammadu Buhari has in two quick moves made things easy for a young Nigerian to defeat and succeed him after the coming 2019 general election.A prominent youth leader and presidential aspirant, Chief Iheanacho Ezeakor, made the assertion at the weekend when he led some youth political groups from across the country to the national headquarters of Advanced Peoples Democratic Alliance (APDA).
Ezeakor explained that by declaring his intention to seek a second term in office and recent remarks in the United Kingdom about the content and character of Nigeria youth, the President has provided the youth with a golden opportunity to occupy the Presidency and prove their mettle.
Stressing that those actions from President Buhari would boost his chances of winning the next Presidential poll, Ezeakor said although the President seemed to be referring to almajiri’s that roam the streets without education, his decision to seek a second term is a challenge to young people to take leadership that truly belongs to them.
He added that it was the height of disdain for Nigerians youth that the President and the All Progressives Congress (APC) should show interest in another mandate from Nigerians despite their record of poor performance.
“With President Buhari’s declaration, amid non-performance of APC, he had already been defeated before the election,” he stated, adding that one of the reasons of his visit to the APDA secretariat was to advance message of youth inclusion in decision making and governance.
Ezeakor declared that democracy without youth participation loses its vibrancy, pointing out that the youth groups have been mobilizing Nigerian youth across the country to awaken their political consciousness and the need for them to contribute their talents and resources to nation- building.”There is also the need,” the presidential aspirant noted, “for youth to build inter-ethnic bridges to cross-fertilise ideas on ameliorating the sufferings presidential aspirant added that there was also need for youths to build inter-ethnic bridges to cross-fertilise ideas on ameliorating the sufferings in the land and avoid mistakes of the past.”
He added: “Today, we have been able to mobilise and motivate some young people across the country for a political renaissance, because we have realised that the reason older politicians looked down on the youth in political appointments and elective positions had to do with how the youth conducted themselves. However, we are poised to change that story. We will continue to be a voice for the youth and set laudable examples in our states.”
On the remarks by President Buhari that Nigerian youth are lazy and lack education, Ezeakor said, “We are better than him;” reiterating that “with Buhari’s declaration, our job has been made easier. It would have been a different thing if APC was presenting another person.”Earlier in his remarks, the National Chairman of APDA, Shittu Mohammed Kabir, blamed the socio-economic woes in the country on the errors of APC and the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP), as well as, the ‘third force’ champions.
While insisting that APDA’s nationalistic ideologies cannot be compromised for selfish benefits, Kabir disclosed that the party would not seek or enter into political alliance or pact with other political parties or groups ahead of the 2019 poll.
He said: “APDA is not going into any coalition ahead of the 2019 general election. We cannot be seen compromising our ideology, which is nationalistic. We already see Nigeria as one big family, where the welfare of all citizens remains paramount. Against that backdrop, we cannot be seen queuing behind the PDP, the APC, or those promoting the ‘Third Force’ movement.
“These people brought the hardship in the country. Olu Falae as far back as the 1980’s masterminded the Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP) that ruined our agricultural sector. I am a farmer. I grow beans, but I cannot export to Europe, because Nigerian beans are banned abroad. Yet, today, beans are brought into this country from Europe. Tell me, why did they sign us up to the World Trade Organisation in the first place?
“Look at the oil from the South-South and South-East. How has these politicians advocating for coalitions and mergers used that crude oil to better the lives of the people in those areas? So, our position is clear. We are not going into any alliance. However, we are open to all Nigerians, who want to join us in the pursuit of our people-oriented ideology.”
The APDA chieftain encouraged Nigerian youth to resist politicians, who attempt to polarize the nation and heat-up the polity needlessly, stressing, “You should never allow our political leaders to continue in power by means of ‘divide and rule’ antics. Rather, develop passion for people and work to achieve a better life for them. That way, you can successful take over the helm of affairs of the nation from these old politicians.”