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Anambra 2021: The Time For Youthful Participation Is Now

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By Nnenna Joseph

Kamalu, a 17-year-old, in 1979 watched President Shehu Shagari’s handover speech on NTA and said to himself, I will be the president of the country, it is my dream and with hard work, I stand a chance, after all, youth are leaders of tomorrow. Kamalu graduated from mechanical engineering at the Federal University of Technology Owerri with an MSC from the same and by 1993; he would have had 10 years of work experience with the public and private sector. He has also held leadership positions at the state and federal level and did absolutely well.

In 1999, he quickly joined the Obasanjo campaign train and with due diligence, he won his state for the president, he was almost certain he would get an appointment as special adviser. This will avail him the opportunity to learn about what needs to be done as a president and prepare him for his dreams or so, he thought.

When the president’s list of appointees was published, it was with utter shock he learnt that his name didn’t make it. Chief Ozogwu submitted a list of 10 titled men who invested heavily in the elections, and Alhaji Usman brought 50 names and was quite outraged when the president said he could take only 40. In like manner, Prof. Babatunde would not land easily if his 30 relatives from Abeokuta were not added to the already overburdened list. Kamalu asked to see the qualifications of these new appointees, well, there were 50 to 70-year-olds who have been in and out of the corridors of power at different levels with no significant impact, notable for their rounded bellies fresh from eating like thieves. To crown it all, their qualifications were SSCE and over-bloated experiences, he shuddered.

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His dream was one step back, however, not unachievable, “I have a beautiful resume, I have leadership abilities, I understand the economy and I am qualified” what is stopping me?

In 2003, he restored his hopes in the PDP and stood with President Olusegun Obasanjo. After the election he was compensated with a position- Party Youth leader for his LG. He was almost disgusted. Again, his source showed him exactly what it is, the same old round-bellied persons have taken it again. But be glad you got something, better than the last time you got nothing!

Kamalu moved, he would have none of that, he was determined this time not to leave anything to chance, next election he says, I shall contest myself. I have good dreams and visions, I can afford the elections if it comes to that, I am competent, I will take courses on leadership, I have the grassroots and I am popular on social media. What is left! Nigeria needs a better president, and I am here to make that happen.

Kamalu got the forms for the election and set out to campaign, by his strategy, the youths will stand for him. He was almost certain of it, after all, the decadence in the country is enough to face anyone to think differently and want something better. He is 44 this year, if this does not work out for him, he would have to face another 8 years by another government, he will be 52, he was no longer young and his dream of the presidency was almost passing. This was his only chance.

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He began a campaign, on Thursday, 7th June 2006 he walked into a hall filled with Ohaozala youth to solicit for votes, there came his opponent- Ochili Ozuo global. He felt confident, I am in my territory, among the youth, I would definitely win. He was called to present his manifesto, there were cheers as he reeled out his plans when he becomes the president.

Before he sat down, his opponent stood up, and with a wave of hand, his aides started spraying money to the audience. Lo and behold, able-bodied men and ladies scrambled for N200 notes as they splashed across the room and proceeded to cheer and sing praises of the opposing.

They wouldn’t even let him say a word as they cheered him on, sang his praises, and escorted him to the car and dispersed with their loot.

It was not surprising that at the polls on the day of elections, same youths proceeded to vote for Kamalu’s opponent and he lost with a wide margin

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Why this unrelated story?

The youth just like in Kamalu’s village constitute 80% of the voting population in Anambra

The same youth have been lamenting over poor governance, inconsistency in promise, marginalization among other grievances

The same youth suddenly changed their minds at sight of N200. Well, yours might not be N200 but it will equal to that when weighed side by side to the ripple effect of continuously recycling the same persons in the corridors of power

A youth is qualified, has visions of office, is widely read but can hardly win a political position because those in power use the money they are supposed to invest in the country to contest elections

Dear Anambrarians, 2021 is close; A word is Enough for the wise.

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