The Future of Nigeria Without Us

I was working on a piece about rational choice theory in the Nigerian context, wanting to link it up with present scenario in Nigeria. 80% complete I decided to return it to my archive for further reading. What however caught my attention is a subtle message being sent out by the ruling elites across Nigeria, the idea that we are equals and there is no space within the polity for young people except being appendages to their ego. 3 different events caught my attention during the week.

Event 1

The much awaited Future Nigeria Symposium for Young & Emerging leaders kicked off on March 19, 2012, twitter world kept updating while the expected live stream was barely audible. So this afternoon, a one hour summary of the symposium was aired on Channels TV using the regular #RubbinMinds slot which is a youth platform run by Future Nigeria. Governor Rotimi Amaechi’s comments about young people wanting to participate in governance caught my attention, it was very obvious he was not buying the idea nor giving it a second thought. Hold on, the Rivers State governor was emphatic about how having a younger generation in government would end up in mismanagement of the treasury, so they should rather tag along and put pressure on people like him in government to perform. It would interest you to know that the same Rotimi Amaechi became the Special Assistant to the Deputy Governor of Rivers state in 1992 at age 26, was elected to the Rivers State House of Assembly and was the speaker for 8 years from 1999 at age 34 and was elected governor of Rivers State in 2007 at age 42.

Event 2

Then the tweet answer of the former Minister of FCT and certified ruffler of feathers popped up on my timeline

@elrufai: “@bashirenesi: u criticized Gen. Buhari as too old for president, y do u now support him ?”…the younger ones are not as good, or honest!”

I supported General Buhari in the last elections and his credibility was one of the reasons why I decided to campaign for him. Nasir El Rufai served as an adviser in the transition government of General Abdulsalami Abubakar, at age 38 in 1998, became Director General of the Bureau of Public Enterprises and the Secretary of the National Council of Privatization where he spearheaded the privatisation of many government-owned companies at the age 39 in 1999 and he became the minister of Abuja FCT at age 43 in 2003.

Event 3

Then the news of the young Special Adviser (advocacy) to the Minister of Youth Development joining the ruling party, PDP, filtered in. I was elated to hear about young people joining political parties to participate in the polity though I have my reservations about PDP as a party, 13 years in power with little or no opposition yet the ruling cannot give concrete account of its leadership, continuity and stability. When President Yaradau and Goodluck got into office with the latter eventually becoming president, one would have though the opposition won the elections with the cluelessness and loss of focus by the government.

Just as I was savouring the news, I got to hear about PDP electing a new national youth leader in person of Mala Umar Garba, age 60. I was like what the heck? Was this not the same man who claimed he was 57 years old in a newspaper interview in 2008? My next series of tweets were:

“PDP CHANGE: Umar Garba Chiza, 60 years old, becomes PDP National Youth Leader. Bamanga Tukur the National Chair is 77years old”

“If the PDP national Youth leader is 60 years old, I wonder what Ohimai will be in PDP #justcurious”

“PDP BOT Chairman OBJ is officially 75”

“Bisi Akande the chairman of ACN is 73years old”

“Muhammadu Buhari the CPC leader is 70years old”

“The PDP National Youth leader is the same age with Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. Imagine Tinubu leading twales at Ojota”

The new PDP national Chairman, Bamanga Tukur is 77years old, he became the general manager of the Nigerian Ports Authority at about the age of 37. I quoted Governor Raji Fashola at his last re-election manifesto saying “the problem is not with their age but the age of their idea”. Egghead Odewale asked, what about regeneration and it dawned on me that the series of events that happened weeklong was a coded message from the ruling elites.I tweeted again:

“My father is 64years old, PDP National Youth leader is 60years old. what am I?”

“You are all calling me a toddler cos PDP National Youth Leader is 60, my father is 64 years old. My son is 9 years old. What am I?”


Before we begin the North vs the South divide, we must understand the political parties plus ruling elites have the same ideology of remaining in power till they die, they don’t see young Nigerians with equal rights to lead this nation. In the same week when the Future Nigeria symposium held to engage future youth leaders, the message either coded of subtly put across from the ruling elites, who at our age where opportune to serve this nation, is that they will not avail our generations the opportunity to participate in deciding the future of this country. The future they will surely not be part of.

I may be wrong or just worried but I leave you to connect the 3 events, you may have had other scenarios you did not take note of. If you pay more attention to the ruling elites, you will get the coded message.

Our culture and religion dwells on respect for elders in Nigeria but the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria recognizes all as citizens with equal rights. The race for 2015 has begun and surely it does not include you and me unless we have our own plans.


16 thoughts on “The Future of Nigeria Without Us

  1. Wow! I am definitely sharing this. I am angry but i have decided to enhance my calm. I am entering into my closet to rethink a lot of things. Strategy >>>> Anger

  2. The new National Secretary of the PDP, Olagunsoye Oyinlola, was a Brigadier-General in the Nigerian Army, a military administrator of Lagos State, and Executive Governor of Osun State for close to 8 years! He contested for a seat in the Senate last year but lost and he’ll probably be given an ambassadorial slot in 2016, and then the Board Chairman of an agency after that. This is indeed an eye-opener, the handwriting has been on the wall ever since, we were just too blind to see it!

  3. Reblogged this on zebbook and commented:
    A piece by Rosanwo Babatunde. An eye-opener to the fact that Nigeria’s current ruling class are determined to keep recycling themselves in power without giving the younger generations any chance whatsoever to make an impact.

  4. Omo, this is food for thought here o. A revelation that is both startling as it is irritating! The current Mayor of Ithaca, New York, Svante, is 24 years old! PDP is appointing a 60 year old man as National Youth leader! So when will it be our time? Rosanwo, we dey slack o!

  5. This piece is a good read as it is an eye opener for some of us! I say some because the other some of us already started seeing the handwriting on the wall some time back, and have decided to do some talking. Now my problem with this other half of some of us doing this talking is that we are listening to these elders and elite who are acting like they are on our side but in truth are just manipulating our minds to blind us to the startling reality that they really do not mean for us to take the reins of leadership but just to use us to foster their greedy selfish and conceited desire to hold on to power till death at whatever cost! The writer has pointed out some of these to us and if we look clearly we can see more, this should help us disabuse our minds from whatever we are being fed by them whenever we hold counsel with them! 2015 is just a night away!

  6. Great clarion call, my brother. We, the youth, must arise and take back our country! Senegal has just done it with 50-year old Macky Sall! We can do it for Nigeria!

  7. This is a fight for all as a youth of this great nation. It’s obvious that these old machines does not only want to die in there, but planning to enslave us for their present children nd generation to come. We really have to be realistic towards our fights nd should not give room to compromise. Now is the right time! Let’s all stand up nd make history

  8. Its a great article, and I totally share your sentiments especially if the recent PDP convention which birthed 77yr old BMT as Chairman and 60yr old Umar Garba Chiza as National Youth Leader of the party.

    However, I think you took El-Rufai’s tweet out of context and it probably doesn’t belong in the category you placed it. The tweet as you quoted says:

    ‎@elrufai: “@bashirenesi: u criticized Gen. Buhari as too old for president, y do u now support him ?”…the younger ones are not as good, or honest!”

    If you notice, El-rufai said the younger ones “are not AS good or honest”, notice my emphasis of the word “as” meaning it was used in a context of relativity, as a comparison. His statement was in reference to the presidential candidates in the 2011 elections as he responded to a question on why he supported Buhari whom he had earlier said was “too old”. You yourself said in the article you supported Buhari during the elections who is come to think of it, the oldest candidate amongst all the others, ostensibly because he was better and more honest than other candidates, as El-Rufai said. If it was simply a matter of age, you could have supported Ribadu, Shekarau, Pastor Chris, our very able President Jonathan and a host of others who were much younger.

    From what I understood of that tweet, his statement “the younger ones are not AS good” is not a generalization or a reference to all the youths in Nigeria or the younger generation, but within the context of the candidates in the 2011 elections

    • 2011 was very peculiar with the events leading up to the the general elections, GMB was my choice no doubt. However we are preparing for 2015 with lessons from the last elections, El- Rufai also tweeted about his choice for 2015, that he hopes GMB would contest again.

      My aim is to show that there are young ones who are as good as honest by also comparing El- Rufai and Amaechi who have both done well in their respective assignments, with the relative age they got into service. If they can do it, then we do have others in my generation who can do it, not necessarily the post of the president.

      As far back as 1960 corruption existed within the system and it will always be there, the bad eggs would not leave us as much as the good eggs exist within our generation.

  9. Wow. funny and well written…at the end of the day, the aging “ellites” can say whatever they want to say about young people’s participation in government but they cant decide our future, (which they probably wont be part of) for us. Its up to us to believe them or challenge them. Anyone can say anything. Talk is cheap. This article should just challenge young people who are interested in making the difference in the Nigerian government to do so. No one will hand anything to you on a platter…you have to take it, if you have the conviction that its yours. Great article, even greater observation. As far as am concerned though, whatever the “old guys” are saying shouldn’t even matter…they got us where we are today, who are they to tell us what to do? heishh!

  10. power respects nothing except power. sitting down and blogging about lack of (or constricted) access to power wont change the status. if the youths want power u have to go out and fight for it, nobody is going to invite you except as bag carriers. nuff said

  11. Pingback: Babatunde Rosanwo: “If a 60 year old is PDP Youth Leader, then what am I?” | YNaija

  12. Dis polities stuf in nigeria I don’t hv anytin 2 do wit it bt if nigeria is destroyin it wil reach mi,family, frends dat y I wil say d truth 2 d nigeria leader 2 hear.dis polities shuld nt involve d elders it involve d youth cos d elder r old n slow in tinkin bcos of der age bt youth very fast in tinkin n wot mi I si is abt d leader is dat bcos of money dey r seein in it dat y dey don’t want d youth 2 talk over dAt y every part of mi is ful of anger n wot I see is dat if could b a change in d rulin party everytin wil b ok cos since hv bin growin up is only dis party I know is rulin wich is PDP if der could b a change everytin wil b damn kk n is it only dis party dat is in nigeria? If der could b a change in tinkin dat all I can say 4 now.

  13. Wanted to drop a comment and let you know your Feed isnt working today. I tried adding it to my Bing reader account and got absolutely nothing.

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