I once had an argument with someone whom I greatly respect on which should be the correct terminology: youth inclusion in politics or youth participation in politics. I am of the opinion that rather than “inclusion”, “participation” should be used because it denotes a more active role; getting into the process by ourselves rather than waiting for the older generation to take pity and call us into the fold.
I have always advocated for young people to take the bull by the horn, join a political party and make their mark there, till they get to the point where they can contest in, and win elections. We complain of “recycled” politicians who have been in and out of power for decades, and make reference to past ministers and heads of state who held their positions while in their twenty-somethings. What we forget is that they entered politics when they were youths, and even decades later; are practically still in the prime of their political lives. Contrast that with today’s youth who, for the most part, say things like “politics is a dirty game” and “What’s my own with politics?”, and you’ll no longer be shocked as to why the system keeps recycling old politicians.
You might wonder how this relates to NANS, but look at it from this perspective: youth are already included in politics…as thugs, protesters, award mills and petition writers. The level of shame that I felt when I read of NANS’s defense of the Senate President, currently on trial for corruption, and their subsequent presentation of an award to Buruji Kashamu, alleged drug baron, cannot be sufficiently expressed in words. NANS represents Nigerian students in the political scene, and thus has an opportunity to make a difference and provide effective advocacy that might perhaps turn the tide of mediocrity that the nation has been witnessing. For a body that ought to be the conscience of the nation to have descended to such depths of political carpet bagging, is nothing, if not lamentable. Although I guess inclusion sometimes comes in brown envelopes.
The point of this is: let us stop waiting to be “included”, or expecting to be represented properly by one association or the other. The time to take action is now, or we’ll be shocked by how long recycling can extend the shelf life of our present crop of politicians.
Do you agree? or disagree? Let’s rub minds in the comments section below.