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Opinion

The Youth, Media and Politics

Mass media, including newspapers, magazines, radio and television are the major instruments utilised in raising the awareness level of youth to help them understand and exercise their political rights and influence the government’s decisions and policies.

The media should always encourage the youth by creating awareness and educating them on matters related to politics and rules of law, through their various programs, columns and articles. The media, as the fourth estate of the realm, should therefore be saddled with the responsibility of sensitising the youth on political participation and civic engagement.

On the other hand, the youth should also liaise with mass media and expose themselves to the media and civic associations in order to acquire more experience and leadership skills. This would also assist in informing any future political participation.

Furthermore, Nigerian political leaders who are mostly between 60 to 80 years of age are known for their repeated fake promises such as better education, good jobs, political room for youth and youth are the leaders of tomorrow is the common slogan of Nigeria’s politicians.

In 2018, President Muhammadu Buhari signed the “Not too Young to Run Bill” into law, allowing young people to run for any political offices. Unfortunately, only a few politicians have fulfilled that promise by allowing youth to run. Many believed that even the “Not too Young to Run Bill” was not working effectively as youth cannot afford to purchase any political party’s nomination form.

Hence, some people are of the opinion that youth participation in Nigeria’s politics is hindered by limited resources, capacity, skills and tools. There are no wider political spaces for youth to actively participate in politics, despite the fact that they make a high proportion of the Nigerian population which is about over 70%.

Young people should be given the chance to contribute their quota towards national development through political participation. As the late Kofi Annan, the former United Nations (UN) Secretary-General, said: “You are never too young to lead and never too old to learn.  So I call on the young generation to put its remarkable energy, insight and passion in the service of reconciliation and peace.”

Therefore, young people must rise up to take leadership positions by increasing their political participation in order to have good governance, justice, accountability, transparency, transformation development and responsible government they dream of.

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