Youth in politics

The youths involvement in politics a move for sustainable democracy in Nigeria

By Cmrd Kamange Chinedu

By current calculations , 70 percent of Africa’s population is under the age of 30, which represents about 743 million of the 1.061 billion people in this region. This demographic bulge has significant implications for economic activity, public service provision, and state stability.

A constructive projection indicated that by 2050, one out of three young people in the world will be living in sub-Saharan Africa. Given the actual high unemployment and vulnerable employment rates for youth, the group with the most at stake, young African leaders deserve to be part of the policy discussions that seek to find solutions to the challenge of employment.

The extent of it's importance is to the fact that most African leaders are 55 years old or older, with some as old as 75. This represents a significant gap between those deciding policy and those who have to weather its effects. It exposes the weakness in innovative thinking of the older generation and continuous unacceptability of change and social Advancement.

At the parliamentary level, only 14 percent of members are under 40 years old. African parliamentary compositions reflect the global trend, wherein only 14.2 percent of the world’s members of parliament are under 40 years old. With African countries on track to account for half of the world’s population growth and an exponential increase in the number of young people, the number of young parliamentarians should be higher.

Further, the youth need to take more places in presidencies, councils of ministers, parliaments, national committees, corporate boardrooms, and civil society organizational teams.

A lot of programs exist already for youth inclusion in decisionmaking bodies, including the United Nations Population Fund Global Youth Advisory Panel and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria. But beyond symbolic memberships and flagship roles, youth should be fully vested with effective and executive responsibilities.

On the continent, some young people were appointed ministers by the age of 35 such as in Mali, Cote d’Ivoire, or Botswana and some small countries In recent years there has been a surge of politicians in their 30s winning leadership roles, including New Zealand's 39-year-old Prime Minister Jacina Ardern, Ukraine's 35-year-old Prime Minister Oleksiy Honcharuk, and El Salvador's 38-year-old President Nayib Bukele.

EL SALVADOR: Nayib Bukele, 38

Nayib Bukele, a former businessman and mayor of San Salvador, easily won El Savador's election in February 2019 and was sworn in as president in June. The win for his GANA party (the Grand Alliance for National Unity) ended the dominance of the FMLN and ARENA parties.

Bukele, who has 1.2 million Twitter followers

ANDORRA: Xavier Espot Zamora, 40

In May 2019, the politician and lawyer was appointed prime minister of Andorra, a tiny, independent principality in the Pyrenees mountains between France and Spain. Andorra is the sixth-smallest European nation and has a population of approximately 77,000.

Before taking the top spot, Zamora was the Minister of Social Affairs, Justice and Interior. He completed his law degrees in Barcelona.

COSTA RICA: Carlos Alvarado Quesada, 39

Carlos Alvarado Quesada greets a supporter in 2018. REUTERS/Juan Carlos Ulate

Alvarado Quesada won the presidential election in April 2018. The progressive politician said he decided to fight for the top spot after seeing Western democracies face populist or fundamentalist movements,

In his younger years, he earned his master's in Britain, sang in a college rock band called Dramatika, and worked for three years for Procter Gamble in Panama. He worked at a sports gambling call center and published four books.

Before being elected president, he served as social development minister and labor minister.

BHUTAN: Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, 39

Khesar is the fourth "Dragon King" of Bhutan, a Himalayan nation which borders India and China. He took power at the age of 26 when his father, Jigme Singye Wangchuck, abdicated.

Khesar studied in the United States and attended Magdalen College, Oxford, before returning to Bhutan. He has said one of the aims of his reign is to strengthen democracy in his country.

QATAR: Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, 39

Sheikh Tamim was 33 when he took over as Emir of Qatar when his father stepped down.

His elder brother Jasim bin Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani was originally due to inherit the throne, but renounced his claim in 2003, leaving the way clear.

HAITI: Fritz-William Michel, 39

Michel has been Haiti's acting prime minister since July 2019. who worked in the ministry of economy and finance — when he was named as prime minister by President Jovenel Moïse in July.

However, these outliers do not constitute the critical mass necessary for change.

Young leaders have failed to TAKE THE BULL BY ITS HORN which is a remedial effort to ensure voter education to the latent youth population who have either little or no knowledge on their voting rights and power

Young leaders must have the courage to apply for official positions, and current officials should be willing to cede important tasks to young people’s innovative ideas and influence. The number of young leaders must be higher considering the demographics of the continent.

It is advised that When young leaders reach positions of influence, they should focus on building strong institutions for accountability and educate people about the importance of broad accountability for a successful continent. Countries with higher levels of accountability collectively outperform those with lower levels. Youth leaders can advance civil society growth, poverty reduction, economic expansion, and innovation throughout the continent by strengthening the participation of women and youth, promoting human rights, facilitating access to justice, and ensuring inclusion of all communities.

Bad politicians are elected by good citizens who do not vote