Young people from across all walks in Nigeria are bringing a mix of skills, vigilance and brute determination to the tables this election season.
As Nigeria decides (#NigeriaDecides) who of the mass of candidates should be handed the mantle of leadership across state and federal legislative and executive institutions, unlike ever before, young people are involved! This time not as tools in the hands of the riggers and marauders who have in time past ensured elections are far from free and ultimately unfair.
Young people have voiced their unhappiness of foisted and underperforming leadership – which has introduced several new words into the Nigerian collective vocabulary, as ‘god fatherism’ – and elected to ensure their voices are heard by getting involved in the electioneering process.
They mobilised. Formed loose alliances and counter alliances (RSVP, EiE), found and ejected the moles amongst them (did some one say Charly boy?). Mobilised and encouraged their peers and all others who have in the past been complacent about elections to stand and be counted!
They innovated. From existing technologies, they formed new approaches for monitoring and reporting elections. Leaving as less room as possible for the marauders to act in.
I am not aware they have the support of any of the large telcos in the country (for whom they form the largest market segment), the absence of a short code service for any of their reporting mechanism is a pointer – yet they found ways around all obstacles, innovation style.
They invented. They created new applications to monitor and report in realtime electoral processes (ReclaimNaija.org, #ReVoDa) – without the power to prosecute, they gather the evidence to indict.
Saturday’s botched polls – a study in inefficiency – illuminated how ready young people are to ensure they have an input in selecting who leads them. Perhaps elections would have continued only for people to hear days later (at the speed of mainstream media/jornalism) that elections failed to hold in some places – the electoral body have taken advantage of the unconnectedness of the people to cover up their lapses.
The remaining election season will sure be an acid test for the these people and their resolution, but no doubt they have started on the right path!
Perhaps 2015 will see more young people not only fearlessly defending heir votes, but fearlessly seeking office solely to be the change they seek.
Oluwakorede Asuni, is a concerned Nigerian youth, he writes from his base in Johannesburg South Africa