It’s important to remind the youths that 2019 presidential elections are the last obstacle to take their country and their future back. But the greatest obstacle to voting is for youths not to show up at the polls thinking that their votes don’t matter. Their votes matter.
With the lifting of ban on campaign by Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the campaign season has begun. One of the most critical ways our youths can influence government decision-making is through voting. Voting is the surest way for Nigerian youths to choose their preferred presidential candidate and others running for different political offices.
Though the youths are paying close attention and have been very vocal on issues, some of them believe their votes doesn’t count because the All Progressives Congress (APC) and People’s Democratic Party (PDP) will rig the election anyway given the massive vote buying during Ekiti and Osun States gubernatorial elections. If youths who think along this line cast their votes in 2019 for the candidates of their choice, they’ll will be proved wrong at the end of the day that their votes do count.
It’s important to remind the youths that 2019 presidential elections are the last obstacle to take their country and their future back. But the greatest obstacle to voting is for youths not to show up at the polls thinking that their votes don’t matter. Their votes matter. They must not risk loosing the political engagement of a generation that could ultimately bring about generational shift in our political leadership from the old to the young. Now, is the time for the youths to take their power back. This is the time to choose action over apathy, participation over aloofness, involvement over spectating.
Why is it important for our youths to vote? Here are some of the most compelling reasons why youths should vote in local, state, and national elections. Our youths account for more than half of our voting population, making them a powerful political force. The youths votes has can be extremely influential because they get to directly influence issues that might affect their lives for years to come especially in the areas of education including college tuition, job opportunities, and other creative endeavors.
It is evident that the outcome of elections in the past, has proved missed opportunity of youths to shape and redirect the national agenda on issues that matter to them. Being the largest voting groups, their votes count more than ever. A good example of why youths votes count is the election of President Barack Obama in the US. His popularity with youth voters propelled his campaign and it gave him a wide margin over his opponents.
Youths are hit hardest in the economic recession in the country. Unemployment, lack of opportunities for progress and pursuit of happiness dealt crippling blows to the career ambition, finance, upward mobility, and great future of our youths. Economic reforms, education policy initiatives, healthcare, social safety programs remain crucial now as they were in 2015 election. The situation for youths won’t change while the same old tired political horses make major political decisions that have no relevance to their needs. No one will vote in the interest of youths except youths.
Our youths are an incredibly diverse group. This gives them the advantage and the edge the ability to challenge our two party system, potentially driving the need for alternative political parties like the African Action Congress (AAC) which represents the needs of a diverse population through its unique inclusive agenda. Thanks to the internet and social media, it’s easier than ever to be an educated voter. There’s no excuse for any youth not to vote because they they don’t know enough about the candidates.
Based on the population of our youths, they can easily sway the election. Because youth votes matter, the collective youth vote could as a matter of fact, sway the election. Indeed, the American youths votes gave a decisive victory to President Obama in 2012 for second term. He won 67 per cent of the national youth vote. It’s instructive to remind our youths that they may not care now, but they might in four years.
They may not feel compelled to choose the best candidate as president or a senator because they think it doesn’t affect their life right now. But, make no mistake about it, the president, the senators, the reps, the councilors elected into office and the policies they implement and programs they pursue will impact their life in years to come. It is therefore imperative for youths to speak up, make a wise choice, by voting to protect your interests.
Youths, I cannot stress it enough that you should take your power back and all that’s left is your vote. Elections have consequences. Vote Omoyele Sowore/Rabiu Ahmed Rufai. And remember to remember: Are you better off today than you were three plus years ago when President Muhammadu Buhari took office or during Abubakar Atiku’s and PDP 16 years rule? HELL NO!