The victory of Emmanuel Macron, 39, in the May 7, 2017 French presidential poll particularly has aroused a new wave of political awakening among young Nigerians.
Macron, a pro-business centrist, defeated Marine Le Pen, a far-right female nationalist, by a vote of 66.06 percent to 33.94 percent, according to the French Interior Ministry.
Macron, whom many now see as the new face of possibilities, instantly became a source of inspiration for the youths of Nigeria, spurring in them a new consciousness that with the right political mobilisation and action, they can take charge of governance and redeem their country.
Many young Nigerians, on social media and elsewhere, seemed to have suddenly realised that their country has for too long been run by older people who lack the 21st Century leadership foresight Nigeria desperately needs.
The 2019 Presidential Candidate Age Preference Poll conducted by NOIPolls in May 2017 in partnership with BusinessDay made it clear that Nigerians are fade up with old people who keep recycling themselves in Power, and would prefer middle-aged candidates for the country’s 2019 presidential elections.
According to the Poll, 64 percent of Nigerians would prefer to vote for a presidential candidate between the ages of 40 and 50 years, while 15 percent would prefer candidates between 51 and 60 years. Specifically, ages 50 years (33 percent) and 40 years (21 percent) constituted the highest precise age preferences cited by Nigerians. While 44 percent would prefer younger presidential candidates because “they combine youthful energy and maturity”, 23 percent said “they are more mentally alert”, and 35 percent believed “they bring new and fresh ideas” and “they are more vibrant than the elderly”.
Nigeria has been ruled and manipulated since its return to democracy in 1999 by ‘the same, old, crooked and mischievous men’, who have only one thing in common: selfishness.
And, as the despondency brought about by the failure of President Muhammadu Buhari and his All Progressives Congress (APC) to deliver the massive change they promised Nigerians in 2015 reaches its crescendo, an increasing number of young citizens of the country have begun to express strong interest to wrest the reins of power from the older generation.
Bolstered by the passage of #NotTooYoungtoRun Bill by the National Assembly last July, many young Nigerians, citing lack of confidence in current political leaders to deliver the nation from perennial economic and infrastructural backwardness, are jettisoning their long-held I-don’t-care attitude to politics.
The #NotTooYoungtoRun Bill, when it becomes law, would reduce the minimum age for presidential candidates from 40 to 35, the age for governorship candidates from 35 to 30, and the age for the House of Representatives and the State Houses of Assembly to 25.
Also spurred by the examples of Justin Trudeau, who became the Canadian Prime Minister in 2015 at age 44, a number of Nigerian youths are warming up to contest for the presidency ahead of the 2019 general elections.
The current wave and excitement in voters’ registration indicate that Nigerians are ready to take their destiny by their hands- no more room for ethnic cum religious sentiments in process of electing new leaders.
Nigerians need someone who would squarely face the task of governance and move the nation forward from her crawling stage, something Otumba Gbenga Giwa, and his teeming supporters across the nation believe he could offer.
Otumba Gbenga Giwa, former bank executive, and financial consultant, from kogi state holds masters in financial economics, postgraduate diploma in business administration, BA (Hons) in industrial design, from the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria and University of Abuja. He is an International Peace Ambassador, and Member, Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria, Nigerian Institute of Management Chartered, Institute of Chartered Economist of Nigeria.
Mr. Gbenga Giwa, a young man with dynamism, innovation, detribalized, traceable track record was at the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) headquarters in Abuja on Tuesday 23rd January, 2019, where he publicly express his interest to run for the post of number one citizen of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Giwa, who spoke to journalists at the party’s secretariat said ‘it’s time for us as a right thinking people of the most populous black nation to do away with this old, expired and analog leaders that has selfishly dragged the hand of our clock backward by voting in young and vibrant Nigerians with impeccable character come 2019.’
He told Nigerians that he has what it takes to transform Nigeria: ‘our major problem in the country is leadership and the ability to identify capable hands that can head various sectors of the economy, as well as the political will to allow those individuals function without unnecessary interruption, without which our institutions cannot be strengthened to achieved the desired growth’.
One thing is clear, Nigerians are ready to do the Macronic of France in Nigeria; the effect is eminent. It won’t be a surprise to good-willed Nigerians if we have another macron of France in Giwa of Nigeria, as 2019 approaches.
-Written by Anietie Udobit, Unity Times, Abuja.