Bayo Oluwasanmi

Years ago, Nigerian universities had a long tradition of political active students. College campuses are often seen as hotbeds of political engagement, with controversial speakers and radical student leaders routinely kicking up loud protests. Omoyele Sowore was birthed, shaped, refined, and baptized with the fire and fury of the era. 

But today, Nigerian students and youths in general, have been coerced, castrated, cowed, compromised, and corrupted by the politics of looting and killing. Political activism died unmourned. Death of youth activism is responsible in large part for the abysmally turnout of youths - the hallmark of Nigerian elections.

As a reminder to our youths, our democracy rests on the principles of democratic participation that guaranteed the right of all Nigerians to have a role in shaping government and the rule of law. The 2019 presidential election is more crucial and critical to youth voting. The turnout or low turnout of youths will decide who leads Nigeria, and how the future of Nigeria and the future of millions of disenfranchised and disenchanted youths is shaped.

Why is youth voting important?

You can be in charge
How many times and for how many years have you been told that you’re the leaders of tomorrow that never come and will never come? Consider how long – 58 years – you have been sidelined, marginalized, impoverished, made invisible, inconsequential, stereotyped as lazy, dumb, useless, hopeless, and good for nothing. Remember how many years you have been unemployed. Think how many times you have wished you could choose who will represent your interests, who will fight for you and make you part of the political equation in governance. Remember, how you have been left behind other youths in the world in all areas of life. Voting gives you the power to make important life choices and decisions. You get to decide what you like and don’t like in government- 2019 is the chance of a life time to reclaim and restore your life.

You should be the one to shape your future 

Wisdom dictates that you should be the ones to shape your futures. The old reactionaries who have ruled and ruined your life for 58 years don’t understand the youth perspective. They’re confused about your tech age, your fashion, and your interests. If you fail to vote, you’re yielding the ultimate power to the canals and oligarchy of fools to make decisions about the leaders and laws that will shred your life, tear our nation and suffocate our society for decades to come. You can be sure that those decisions won’t be congruent with your psyche and perspective.

Voting is an important right

Think about some countries that don’t have democratic political institutions like Cuba, North Korea, etc. In these countries, citizens are denied the right to vote and be voted for. They are denied the right to have their voice heard. They are denied from having the option to shape their government and their future. Count yourself lucky that you live in a country that operates on democratic principles. You don’t want to try or tarnish the right and privilege. What you don’t use, you lose!

If you don’t vote, you lose your right to complain

If you don’t vote, you could end up with a potted plant elected president, or even worse than Muhammadu Buhari. If you chose not to vote, you automatically waive your right to complain. Voting demonstrates your good faith attempt to get the political outcome you desire, and gives you every right to complain if things don’t go your way on key ballot measure. If you don’t vote, shut it and shut up!

Don’t be a voting slacker

Democracy doesn’t work without citizen participation. Don’t pray for good leaders while you refuse to vote. We must revitalize our democracy and show the recycled old politicians the importance of voting by casting your votes.

You just should!

Don’t waive your right to vote. Get your PVC. Register! Follow the news. And when Election Day comes around, cast your ballot – vote Sowore for President! 

In 2019 it’s essential that youths take advantage of their right to vote. Create a future that aligns with your fundamental beliefs, priorities, programs, and set a precedent for the future. Your future is now... 

Let’s go there!

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