If it has not yet been formally communicated to the youth and women looking to participate in Nigerian politics, it is an established fact that none of the political caucuses in the nation will be ready to dole out quota seats to these underrepresented sections in politics.
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Already, the drama over the duplicity of the actual age of one of the most illustrious contenders for the 2023 presidential slot, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, is causing a dent in the purported youthfulness of the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC). While the recently publicised age of Tinubu as of his birthday on March 29 remains 69 years old, indications have allegedly emerged that he may have been born in the year 1942.
Will there ever be room created for youths and women in power?
If Tinubu’s youthfulness is a truth to behold, evidence of his frailty and dementia, which seems to correlate with the blunder he committed at his colloquium on March 29 that the Federal government should absorb all the 50 million jobless youths into the army while feeding them cassava and corn, would not have happened in the first place.
Besides, youthfulness and womanhood could actually begin to climb on the scale of how fiercely they’re being sought with the way it remains a mere talking point at every election cycle. Yet, fewer and fewer persons from these major clusters climb up the political ladder.
Meanwhile, amidst all of this drama and competition, some strategists have gotten back to the drawing board to draft out models for more inclusive governance in Nigeria.
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As part of the strategies being considered for the inculcation of women and youth in politics even before 2023 races are near, the youth wing of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and the former Senate President Bukola Saraki-led PDP National Reconciliation and Strategy Committee (NRSC) has proposed that youths under the age of 35 years who are seeking elective positions should be exempted from the payment of nomination fees. The PDP youth wing also proposed a 35% affirmative action for women.
In the name of forming useful political alliances, the very few strategies considered have largely failed. In the 2019 general elections, the famous ‘3rd Force’ was formed with the mindset that a large youthful population and women would flock into the parties springing out of the alliance. The result was largely a failure as the party had to struggle with the internal crisis even before it achieved its aim.
Sceptics have had their field day with haphazard political alliances such as the 3rd Force. It has been said that any political structure formed outside of the two major political parties in Nigeria would largely fail. Even after the momentum that the youths and women sustained with the far-reaching #EndSARS movement, the useful structure has not been successfully absorbed into any political drive. A more feasible approach for integrating social justice movements into political parties in Nigeria is urgently needed.
This is why a more workable inclusive strategy would be that youth and women need to go back into the structure already created by the old guard of political bigwigs and try to wrestle control of it from their firm grip. This is what the PDP youth caucus is trying to do. The APC youth should emulate the same.
This is the only workable way.
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