The governorship candidate of Social Democratic Party (SDP) in 2015 election in Oyo State , Engr Oluseyi Makinde has said that unless the youths become active forces in the different political parties, the issue of seeking political offices would remain a mirage.
Engr. Makinde further said “besides serving as a platform for contesting elections, political parties also play the role of policy and agenda setting for national development. So, if the youths must have any influence in the process of national development, we must be active forces in the political arena.”
The SDP governorship candidate in Oyo State made the declarations when he delivered lecture titled “Youth participation in politics; prospects and challenges” at the 2015 annual press week of the Correspondents’ Chapel of Oyo State chapter of Nigeria Union of Journalist (NUJ) , held at Premier Hotel , Mokola in Ibadan last weekend.
Engr. Makinde who went memory lane stated that in early days of Nigeria’s independence, the country’s political terrain was dominated by the youths.
He noted that “the Azikiwes, the Awolowos, the Ahmadu Bellos, the Enahoros, the Margaret Ekpos, etc, some of them did not have as much education or access to information as we have today .They were not invited to the decision making table by the British ,they simply saw a cause and they seized the opportunity.”
Engr. Makinde who spoke through the former Speaker of Oyo State House of Assembly, Hon. Kehinde Ayoola emphasised that since the beginning of the Fourth Republic, the political space has recorded a narrowing of opportunities for the young people .
He said that with the definition which put the youth between the ages of 18 to 35years “we can conclusively say that no youth has ever been the president of Nigeria since 1999. President Olusegun Obasanjo, late President Umar Yar’ Adua, President Goodluck Jonathan and now President Mohammadu Buhari have, between them, a mean age of 61 years as at the day they took office”.
In tackling the problem, he declared that “we should remove the mental shackle of helplessness and tell ourselves that if Nigeria must deliver human development dividends to present and future population and take its rightful place among the comity of nations, you and I must play an active role.
“Secondly, let us get involved in political sensitisation of our spheres of influence. Let us form political cell groups, let us engage in constant policy dialogues among ourselves; let us network with young people in different parts of the country based on common values. We are seeking some high sounding ideological rallying point; we simply want to contribute positively to governance in our country. If we are agreed on this point, then we have a cause.”
The chairman of the occasion, Elder Bode Oyewole and a guest, Professor Soji Adejumo stated that politicians should emulate late Chief Obafemi Awolowo and late Chief Bola Ige by mentoring the youth for possibly taken over in the nearest future.
Another guest, Barrister Peter Idowu called on the National Assembly to amend the constitution and give certain percentage of political office to the youths.

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