For the record; I am Political Scientist by training, a Researcher, a Trainer, an advocate of Youth Development, a Policy Analyst and Developmentalist by Profession. By virtue of my educational background in politics (advanced) and real time professional experiences in legislative advocacy and rural development, I have travelled the length and breadth of Nigeria and established smooth working relation with a number of parliamentarians at different level across the length and breadth of the country. They are divided into categories of achievers and performer. Achievement is a result of self assessment while performance is the result of an independent assessment. However, people tend to use the words interchangeably.
Also, in delivering on research assignment for a renowned Non-Governmental Organization, we discovered that the foundation of some of the socio-economic challenges we have in Nigeria is the huge inequality gap across all sectors of our socio-political and economic system. This inequality can be seen in the relationship between the rich and poor, male and female, urban and rural, educated and uneducated, leaders and followers among others. Therefore, to bridge the inequality gap requires a collective effort of all, as the role of politics in addressing the problem of inequality is our society cannot be overemphasized.
Meanwhile, David Easton (a Canadian-American Political Philosopher) defined Politics as an Authoritative Allocation of Value (resources). Unfortunately; before now, many young people care less about politics because it is capital intensive, a product of the inequality gap. In spite of the amendment of the age limitation in the extant laws that now avail young people the opportunity to contest election and the different rebate that political parties are giving young people to make politics less costly for them in terms of finance, the manifestation of the inequality gap still persist.
A cursory look at the Nigeria Political landscape shows that since 1999 till date, the same set of people are leading this country and where we have new entrants, they are identified to be children of the same generation of leaders. The implication of this is that power, finance, authority and influence are domicile within a few households, thus, all effort to bridge the inequality gap remain abortive. It is also informative to note that any form of development project/programmes conceived and implemented for us without us is not for us.
This background is necessary to drive home a few points, I am not oblivious of some of the acclaimed achievements of Senator Buhari Oyo North but from the point of knowledge and practical information most of the items on the list are not development driven but political. In an era of radical approach to the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals, with utmost respect to his efforts all that he has done are cosmetics and only applaudable in the confine of political correctness.
Across all 13 Local Government Areas of Oyo North, I have close relationship with not less than 50 young persons per LGA and discussion with them including those who have benefitted from the Senator’s supposed facilitated Youth empowerment programme have shown that no one can start a business with the knowledge acquired from those training except you have an existing knowledge on the skill or trade. I stand to be corrected, many of the beneficiaries of the training on ICT have either sold the equipment given to them or left it unused. For my friends in the development sector, there is something we call NEED ASSESSMENT or KNOWLEDGE GAP ASSESSMENT as the case maybe for capital projects and training programmes respectively.
The standard is that before introducing a project in any community, either of the 2 listed assessments must be conducted to determine not just the suitability of the project, guide the design of such project and measure the level of impact the project would have on the community. It is counterproductive to initiate any project without due consultation and proper stakeholder’s engagement. For the past 7 years, we haven’t had a proper townhall meeting with our representative(s), wherein an account of their legislative stewardship is presented and extensively discussed. On the statutory mandate of a parliamentarian on law making, ideal representation is when the argument in favor and against an issue at the chamber is the true representation of the position of the constituency.
Beyond all the above, my argument is that in the face of seemingly unending inequality gap it is only reasonable that political power should not be allowed to be domicile in a few hands for too long. Democracy is still growing in Nigeria, thus; a lot of learning, re-learning and unlearning is taking place. Furthermore, political power comes with some high-level opportunities that cannot be accessed by an ordinary citizen. These opportunities have been benefitted for too long by the same set of people despite the fact that such opportunities are limited, an end to the third term agenda would address all these.
As a young person, my position is further informed by the neglect of the youth of Oyo North by our parliamentarians. Youth Development is integral to the attainment of sustainable growth and development anywhere in the world; therefore, it is only condescending to continually mobilize young people as media team members when their counterparts in other part of the country are taking up appointment as Federal Board members, Commissioners, Senior Special Advisers among others. I have keenly observed the level of development of those close to our current crop of parliamentarians and i must say that I am not impressed.
Finally, I have alluded severally to the fact that we have the sole right to our opinion(s), knowing fully well that beneficiaries of the wide inequality gap in Oyo North would never make sense of this piece. I hereby submit that from the point of knowledge and professional experience I think Senator Fatai Buhari should not be elected the 3rd time.
Research Consultant / Trainer / Policy Analyst / Youth and Democratic Governance Advocate / Developmentalist
Friedrich Ebert Stiftung-OMYV Fellow
UNDP Africa Youth Connekt Fellow