‘It is not enough to say that youths must take over, Nigerian youths must be in charge, do the talking as well as the acting.’
Those were the words of Hon. Joseph Akinlaja, member representing Ondo west and Ondo East Federal Constituency in the National Assembly.
Akinlaja said this at the Democracy Day program of the Students’ Union Government, SUG, Adeyemi College of Education, Ondo.
Defining the role of youths in democratic dispensation, he noted that participation in democracy goes beyond politics and extends to areas as civil rights campaign, Education Rights Movement, Health and Environmental Vanguard, Entrepreneurship, Community Development Groups and many others.
He said: ” Politics is just one section; there are more sectors where you as a youth can be more useful and instrumental to national development and democratic advancement in Nigeria .”
Speaking further, the lawmaker noted that the two key roles of Nigerian youths in gaining political power are establishment of youth structures and providing intermediate political link.
He said: ‘There is need for unity of purpose among youths if the agitation for taking over is taken serious. If youths that constitute about 70% of Nigeria’s population can build a viable and formidable structure, it won’t take a year to democratically dismantle the old order.”
While showing his support to the campaign for youths to take up elective positions,he urged the youth to take up responsibility.
‘Let me say it here, that the #NottooYoungtoRun campaign is a step in the right direction and a worthy campaign if youths can come together to push it through. Its a step in the right direction ”
“To push through the democratic culture, youths can take up the challenge of establishing a political link or cord, linking the local population with the youth structures to make real the quest for democratic transition from the old order to the young generation ”
“Politics transcends sermonizing and countless speeches and writings on the pages of newspapers as well as agitations in the media. Politics is a practical game that starts from making yourself relevant in your streets, units, wards and local governments. It’s about building structures, not talking. Many of us didn’t get to where we are today by mere talking.”
He further enjoined youths to be prepared for leadership position as responsibility could beckon on them anytime.