By John Ikani
Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo has charged youths in Nigeria to join politics, stressing that social media “do not transform the lives of millions for good or ill.”
He has also advised young citizens not to be discouraged from joining politics because of negative sentiments associated with politics in the country.
Osinbajo made the calls on Monday in Abuja while delivering his speech at the maiden Progressive Youth Conference organized by the All Progressives Congress (APC) youth wing.
The VP, in his speech titled, “The Future is a Decision,” said more political participation by majority youths would help them to make meaningful changes.
According to him, “It is evident just from voter-turnout alone that the vast majority of young people either do not register to vote or do not vote.
“Those who even participate at all would rather engage within the very constrained space of social media platforms or join pressure groups.”
Osinbajo stated that social media “do not transform the lives of millions for good or ill”, and added: “If you are keen on how the future will turn out, you must be involved in politics.”
The VP who recalled that he was in a number of groups, concerned with corruption, human rights and democracy, said it was only in 1999 when the Alliance for Democracy won elections in Lagos that he entered into government as Attorney General.
He further called on young Nigerians already involved in politics to influence others to also participate.
What you should know
There have been increasing calls on youths to look beyond the constrained space of social media in effecting change.
In 2020, a former minister of youth and sports, Bolaji Abdullahi noted that participating in politics on social media will not effect desirable transformation.
While calling on youth to join political parties of their choice and commence the change from within, Abdullahi said the illusion of participation where young people only engage on social media without practical effort has led to what can be described as action paralysis, as “oftentime where action is demanded, Nigerian youths are contented with social media engagement solely”.
“If the youths are to lead Nigeria’s quest for prosperity and transformation, it will be because of this unique power that has been wielded through the use of social media, and if they are going to fail on this mission, it will be because of the misuse of this same power,” he said.
“If Nigerian youths want real political power, it cannot be done through social media engagement alone. They must get into the political space.
“The national transformation that we all seek can only happen through the transformation of individuals. It is only by the transformation of individuals that we can hope to restore politics back to its original purpose, which is to promote the dignity of humanity and justice.”