Nigerian Economist and Statesman, Mr. Atedo Peterside has harped on active youth involvement in steering the course of Nigeria’s politics through maximum participation of youths at the polls come 2023.
Making his keynote address at the first edition of the Future Leaders Conference which held in Lagos, Peterside noted that with the youth population, coming out en-mass to exercise their franchise, there would be a complete overhaul of the country’s political system.
Peterside maintained that with the mass of young people coming out to vote at the polls, the country is poised to elect a leader who would reflect the wishes and aspirations of a new Nigeria and spur growth in all sectors of the economy.
“Young people must understand that until they get to the point where they are afraid of you and your votes, nothing is going to change in Nigeria. When MKO Abiola won in Lagos of course I was much younger. When I came out of my street on Victoria Island to vote, we were a sea of young people. Everybody came out for one reason.
“You have to get to that point where you come out for elections and when the existing systems lose, they know that it is because the bulk of young people voted against them.”
While fielding questions from participants, Peterside who expressed his awareness on the disillusionment experienced by many youths in Nigeria after the #Endsars protest of 2020 added that through engagement tailored towards addressing the psychological needs of the youth population, the much needed sensitization would be achieved.
“For the person who is disillusioned, you are not going to get a connection with him unless he or she feels that you understand their problem.
“During the fuel scarcity period, Kate Henshaw did a video. That was a message from the heart, somebody in a fuel queue angry and in many ways she was able to resonate with the feelings of the average person.
“People would come using all the emotions in this world- it could be anger …- to communicate the need for youth participation in Nigeria’s politics,” he said.
On his part, Cofounder, The Future Leaders Network (FLN), Mr. Tobe Rapu noted that although the conference was the organisation’s first, the journey has been fulfilling to the FLN team.
“We believe that Nigeria should have a drive for change and the people to drive that change is the young people that is why we have brought people together to organize programs to address what leadership, social, economic and political reforms are about,” he said.
Adding to the discussion Mr. Okhai Ohiwere stated that as an organisation the message to the Nigerian youth is; “Get your PVC now. As young people, we need to understand that to mobilize an change the country, we must be part of the narrative.”
The Founders of the Future Leaders Network are Mr. Tobe Rapu, Mr. Okhai Ohiwerei, Mr. Tobe Irukwu and Mr. Bolaji Onalaja