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The youth and politics: many lies and the only truth

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By Ejike Mbam

Growing up I had a female neighbor and friend who used to cramp me with the phrase, ‘if you are not marrying me, I am married to you’. This phrase would gain popularity in a much more ridiculous manner when male friends joined the bandwagon.  I would rage and long to fight, but my wings were rather clipped off. Clipped in the fact that majority of whom were far much older than I was that I couldn’t contemplate confronting them even if my dislike for the phrase grew in pique. Those at my age bracket,I wasn’t willing to dispatch too. Yet, I hated to be associated with a wife at that tender age, even aware all was for joke. The hatred derived from the manner Egemba’s wife once openly mangled and assaulted her Husband, on account of being more gigantic than the Husband who was naturally dwarfed and punier I thought. I never knew that beneath this prey-pouncing giant of a woman is a mild dove, incapable of nursing anger enough to even cause a quarrel. She was only a victim of rumour monging!

Drawing similarity in the above anecdote into our political scenario, in where many through peddlers of concocted lies about the nature of politics have been dispelled and separated from real happenings around them and the gains therein (for reasons not within the scope of this piece),one would but understand the ‘blockade’ informing youth apathy in present day politics in Nigeria,causing some beneficiaries of the fake rumours to take the centre stage of governance in all spheres of human lives, with the already brainwashed taking the fall-outs from the table.

 Youths who originally,filled with vigor ought to be awake to their civic responsibilities are regrettably hoodwinked and are ignominiously falling down the rungs of leadership and reducing their commanding height of vibrancy in politics.

Just as in the case of Ogbunchi (Dog) and his master, in where during hunting, it ceaseleslly battles to kill the grasscutter in the bush,only to be given a back seat on the table time, during electioneering the youths are reminded that Voting is their right and they effortlessly struggle to see the anointed succed,including donating their blood not to mention the area of personal reputation but on the other hand subtly denied their prerogatives as citizens, after all, isn’t gizzard for the elders. Like in the short story above, most of the youths’ hatred for politics derive from the lies and rumours surrounding the nature of politics. But, beside these lies of dirtiness and deadlines in politics, lies a plethora of opportunities for the youths, ones which when judiciously tapped and in the right direction will help them not only excel in their dealings with fellow man but also in navigating through other life challenging issues in time to come.

 Truth is, politics only stings. It does not kill. Those who died, died for reasons not unconnected with agreement with their Chi (God).

Filled with this rumour of how deadly politics is, most people now prefer to stay safe, associating those with the temerity to stick to it as evil. Of course, who would want to die…?? Not so early! The implication for this is that many with the heart and liver to deliver are ‘unknowingly’ coerced into political hibernation while just few with little or nothing are tactically enthroned to preside over the affairs of man. 

 Chunks of stories are often sold of how deadly and dirty politics is,and the populace are buying into it,so much so that it is beginning to raise fears that in the near future,politics will entirely have become the affairs of the political associates and Lords with the players needing just enough resources (money) to buy the electorates as is already being witnessed in some quarters (money politics),and then the electorates’ relevance in the electoral processes may have been reduced to nothingness. Tufiakwa!!!

 But the incontestible fact has remained that the right to vote and be voted for in an election (and politicking generally) is a fundamental right, one supported by laws,and that even when we seem not to be interested in politics on the ground of all its ‘bads’, that politics is interested in us in a way we would easily not suspect, our reasons nonetheless (If we are not marrying it, it is married to us). And so, sometimes,to disentangle ourselves is one effort in many and always in futility too. 

How do I mean?  Politics characterizes every of man’s activity on earth; involving how what policies are made, who takes what share of the ‘resources’, and bet me,you have to be on a table where all these decisions are made to avoid putting yourself in the position of the fowl, who refused an invitation to a meeting where animals’ welfare were to be discussed, only for those who went to resolve that fowls be killed at all social events. Harold Laswel were to be more apt in his definition of politics when he captured thus, “politics has to do with who gets what, when,and how”. 

The Oxford Advanced Learners’ Dictitionary would define politics as the activities involved in getting and using power in public life, and being able to influence decisions that affect a country or a society. 

While politics is quiet becoming a lucrative business for many in Nigeria and in the world at large where political actors acquire enormous wealth that spans many generations, according to Franklin Onwubiko, it is a-no-go area still for some Saint-would-be, apathy stricken youths who have been constrained to think politics is of the devil. Granted that the manner it is played by some power-drunk politicians in this clime raises an eyebrow and is regrettably out of context, the rumour often peddled around it adds to de-taste it a way long.

Until the fact is laid bare about the ubiquity of politics – that even while in a family of three boys and a girl,where five pieces of meat are served in a dinner and the third boy effortlessly meanders to eat two with others taking one each, that politics has started good in the life of a dude, many will not understand the essence of politicking in a perfect society. 

I suspect you will raise a question over perfect society,wouldn’t you? Chill! Let me explain. A perfect society is one that is fitting precisely the definition of society. No less,no more. A society in where equality is engendered,where meritocracy takes lead over mediocrity,where one’s ability to serve other than age is a priority,etc,and having a perfect society is at the heart of this piece. It can only come about with your little commitment by taking your due position in the struggle to save this nation. Apathy will never do. While I don’t totally advocate that you leave your businesses, studies,farming,crafting and what have you,as a means of living to venture into real time politics, I’m of the opinion that you grow the mind to decipher and partake in activities around you in life time, especially ones connected with your welfare. ” I don’t care” has done people much bad, and you are not willing to join the group, are you…???

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