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Rediscovering Nigeria: You Are the Hope of Nigeria if You are Between 15 and 35.

 

A lot of times, I hear helplessness in the words used by my peers about the state of our country. And quite often it gets me thinking. But at other times, I know the predicaments we face are the consequences of our silence.

Countless upwardly-mobile young and middle-class folks use up their rather expensive data plans complaining about Nigeria, the government and our bleak economy on social media in ways that are both exhausting and unproductive. What I find baffling, though, is that these people air so much hopelessness when in actuality, they are the hope of Nigeria.

Now, someone might ask how?

Political Influence. More than seventy per cent of Nigeria’s political power actually resides with Nigerians between the ages of 15 and 35. And for several decades, it has been this way. The young people in the 60s, 70s and 80s used the barrel of the gun to enforce change. Undemocratic as that was, it was acceptable in that day. Today, we have the Rule of Law; we have the larger vote and we have the financial wherewithal.

As a 15-year-old asking me how you have political influence, acknowledge first of all, that by 2019, you would have the right to vote. Your needs by then would be education—university or vocational; part-time work—to support your basic and school needs that would help you lead a more productive life. And a host of other things that young people in other countries enjoy like high-speed internet and facilities for recreation. You are not just for Nigeria, Nigeria is for you. Start telling your classmates about registering to vote in 2019. Your needs are important and your votes are what will deliver the things you want from Nigeria.

For the much older working class person, your political influence is in the financial support you offer to those back home in the village and to your dependents here in the city. It is said that almost everybody who earns a salary supports at least four other people that are not their direct dependents. Your money is your voice to shape 2019 for the better. Engage your dependents and beneficiaries about electricity, security and good roads.

Providing these social amenities isn’t the responsibility of government but the responsibility of voters in voting responsible people into office.

Use your influence in 2019. But before then, start telling your peers that the power is in your hands.

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Nehikhare Omotayo Igbinijesu is an Economist, Poet, and Social Entrepreneur. 'He is the author of The Code: A Simple Story About Raising Great Women' and 'Marriage: 12 Questions You Need To Ask Before You Say, “I Do”'. He lives in Lagos with his wife, Akudo and two sons. He is Co-founder of Stuffsilos.com, a motivational resources company based in Lagos. You can email him via nehijesu [at] yahoo.co.uk

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