• Lagos East Senatorial bye-election record low youth participation
The outcomes of the just-concluded bye-elections in Nigeria, especially in Lagos that is the epicentre of the #EndSARS protest has left nothing to be desired in terms of youth participation. Having coordinated a landmark ‘we all are leaders’ protest in the annals of Nigerian history, many including myself expected that Nigeria’s majority population will troop out en masse to vote in the Lagos-East senatorial bye-elections.
According to our correspondent, Oki Samson of Trek Africa Newspaper who covered and monitored the December 5th, 2020 Lagos East Senatorial District Election reported that, it is sour to taste that several youths in that senatorial district didn’t turn out to engage in their civic duty. Some were even arrested for flouting the restriction order in the Saturday bye-elections that have returned All Progressives Congress (APC)’s Tokunbo Abiru as the winner.
Some Elderly Citizens participating at the Saturday 5th December 2020 Lagos East Senatorial District Bye-Election at Magodo GRA, Lagos.
What is amiss?
Have they so soon dropped the tempo, energy, and vibes from the protest ground?
Have they forgotten so soon the events of barely two months ago?
Have they forgotten so soon that the government does not only mean presidency?
Have they forgotten so soon that lasting impact in a democracy actually comes from the ballot?
Or maybe I should opine that the youths of Lagos East didn’t participate in the groundbreaking protest, not just protests, and prayer walks that streamed from Lagos to Ogun, Oyo, Osun, Ekiti, Edo, Delta, Plateau, and many parts of the federation; and then to England, Finland, USA, and many other countries. Or rather no youth from Ibeju-Lekki, Epe, Ikorodu, Kosofe, and Somolu local government areas was at Lekki Toll Gate and Alausa in the more than 10 days of sustained activism. This protest got worldwide attention and demonstrated that Nigerian youths will make change happen in Nigeria. This voter apathy is not good enough for our democracy.
Some youth arrested at Mile 12 area of Lagos alledgely violated the restriction order during the bye-election.
I should reiterate that Nigeria’s governance structure is a three-tiered, three-arm government with numerous ministries, departments, and agencies. So Nigeria’s hydra-headed challenges cannot be caused or blamed on one man or one agency.
2023 is three years away. Before then, local government elections, staggered gubernatorial elections, among others would hold. Get your voters’ card if you don’t have one. Go search for your voters’ card if you have one. Be prepared to step into the polling booth to cast your votes for your prepared candidates. If you are up to the task, step up and vie for elective offices.
Dear coconut head, you cannot lose focus now!
Dear youthful generation, you cannot leave politicking to only party faithfuls!
Dear ‘sorosoke’, your voice has been heard globally. Do not ‘off your mic’ let your votes count at the ballot nationally.