Nigerian youths are not ready to run for national development but ready to enrich their pockets – Wole Adedoyin
Wole Adedoyin, founder of the National Interparty Youth Forum and the coordinator of Youth Alliance for Politics “YAP” and Youth Arise for 2019 “YAF19”. Adedoyin is also the governorship candidate of the Hope Democratic Party (HDP) in the forthcoming governorship election in Osun state. In this interview with Latifat Ogunrinde, he talks about participation and involvement of Nigerian youth in politics and why they should be fully active in the forthcoming 2019 general elections.
- How was the idea of the having a youth platform born?
It was born out of passion and commitment to contribute meaningfully to the growth and development of the country and the fact that the youth of the country needs a conducive platform to exercise their political rights. There are millions of youths out there who are interested in politics but they don’t have the resources, platforms, means and wherewithal to actualize their vision.
- Give a brief description of the platform, including what your structure is?
The National Interparty Youth Alliance (NIYA) was founded for card-carrying youths of different political parties irrespective of their party programmes, ideology and mission. Youth Arise for 2019 “YAF19” is a platform initiated for youths who are interested in participating in the forthcoming 2019 general elections while the Youth Alliance for Politics “YAP” is a general platform for youth to brainstorm, share ideas and think-tank on ways of actualizing their vision. For over three weeks now we’ve have been talking and discussing with over twenty national chairmen of different political parties to allow some passionate youths who are also our members and have shown their interest in contesting the forthcoming elections under their parties for free. Majority of these youths are well known in their respective domains and truly grass rooted. Our mission is to look for a platform for them to contest. Currently we have members across the states of the Federation which cut across different political parties.
- What is your take on the current level of youth participation in politics?
Youths are not showing much interest in practical politics. When I say practical politics, I mean youth involvement in politics whereby they officially belong to a registered political party, obtain their membership card, attend meetings and pay prescribed subscriptions or dues as authorized by the constitution of such political party. Well, I can say lack of funds hinders some of them. Youth don’t take politics serious in Nigeria. You will always see them where they share money, rice, detergent, bournvita, clothes and semolina. Well, our politicians called that stomach infrastructure. Many youth have sold their future and rights through this. Some of them don’t even know the meaning of party ideology; they are not ready to know the principles behind the formation of the party in which they are members. All they are after is their stomach and selfish interest. If you ask anyone of them to tell you their party’s programmes, you will be baffled with their response. They will only tell you what they hear on radio and read in newspapers. Some of them don’t even know that a typical political party has what they called “Manifestoes”. Some of them don’t even read. That is why when they argued on issues related to the political and economic problems of the country they argued blindly.
- You have a big task ahead of you, what are the key challenges you will face?
One of the major challenges we are facing right now is the issue of finance. We currently lack funds to execute some of our brilliant ideas and programmes. We need to print more IEC materials to sensitize more youth. Approach different registered political parties to cooperate with us. Another challenge is the poor operation of the NOT TOO YOUNG TO RUN. Currently, we don’t see any impact the initiative is making apart from the fact that it gives young people the right to contest and be voted for. Only the children of the rich people are benefiting from the initiative. No registered political party will render any service for you free of charge. They can never use their resources for you if you are not financially useful for the party. Even if your village oracle tells them you will win, you must still drop something. The initiators of this laudable project should seek for international support to create an endowment fund for this. Any youth who is poor and passionately interested to run for any office with good blueprints and programmes can apply for support.
- How do you hope your programme will help to contribute to greater participation of young people in politics in Nigeria?
It is already making a positive impact. We shall soon publish the names of some of those who have benefited from our project. We don’t want any interested youth to be unserious members of any registered political party. We want them to be card-carrying members who must also have sense of belongings and have 100% rights in such parties. They must know what such parties stand for, manifestoes, programmes and blueprints. They must differentiate between a politician who have their interest and that of the nation in his or her heart rather than pursuing his or her selfish ambition.
- Are young people eager to get involved in politics in Nigeria?
If you say a progressive politics I will say no. But if it is stomach infrastructure politics I will say yes. A typical Nigerian youth nowadays during campaign if they are offered N500 or N1000 would tell you to get yours too because once they (politician campaigning) enter, you will never get anything from them again. This is the way a typical Nigerian youth thinks nowadays. They believed that the little stipend they always collect from candidates contesting for any election is their right. They are even the one given those politician the strength to embezzle when they get there. Because to a typical Nigerian politician the money they spent during and every elections is an investment which they hope to get back when they win such election. That is why most of them make it a do or die election. Some of them would even go ahead selling their personal properties and family assets to actualize their goal of winning such election. And some would even kill their strong opponents which they think might pose a threat to their selfish ambition. Nigerian youths are not ready to run for national development but ready to enrich their pockets.
- How did you venture into politics?
My venturing into politics is a long story but I’ve chaired political parties like Peoples Mandate Party (PMP), Democratic Front for People Federation (DFPF), United Progressive Party (UPP) African Peoples Alliance (APA) and Hope Democratic Party (HDP). I was also a former Oyo state secretary of the Coalition for a New Nigeria (CNN), Conference of Nigeria Political Parties (CNPP) and the Interparty Advisory Council (IPAC).
- What are your plans for youth in the state?
I have promised Osun state youths to create youth centers aimed at educating, advocating, empowering and making them independent through vocational and technical training in field like tailoring, catering, carpentry, computer engineering, bakery, photography, lamination, computer operation, bead making, videography, arts and crafts, publishing and others. We are already consulting with experts and professionals in different professional fields on logistics and financial implications of such venture.
- What is your advice to your fellow Nigerian youths?
I will implore them to take politics serious and stop following all those selfish political leaders who are using them for their selfish ambitions. They should always think of their future and their generations yet unborn. There are currently 68 registered political parties in Nigeria, PDP and APC are only part of them. They are free to join any one of the 68 registered political parties. If APC and PDP are not conducive for you to achieve your ambition, then try other parties.
Youths shouldn’t be thinking that the only way of making fast money is by joining politics. Politics should be seen as voluntary and not as profession. If anyone is fully active in politics, he or she must make sure there is job to support ones political ambition. So youth shouldn’t take politics as job but as vocation.