This piece is the slightly modified version of the piece that first appeared in the 4th edition of The Summit, A publication of the Animal Science Students Association of Nigeria, University of Ibadan Chapter, published October 2015.
Politics has always been described in social parlance as a dirty game, One which someone with a sense of integrity who has plenty of things to lose should not participate in. Popular opinion is also that Politics is a rough game which only people who have experience in should join in and it is not an activity for Youths with long lives ahead of them who want to live happy lives and who don’t want their good names besmirched and reputations ruined.
However I believe that Youths should participate in politics regardless of what people around them may feel about it. More often than not in politics it looks like merit is waived in favour of age, and the youth in politics are often relegated to the background, to be seen and not heard. It is important that youths should still participate in politics, in order to gain the requisite experience to prepare them for leadership positions.
A lot of Youths believe that they are participating in politics when they join political parties or when they are used by politicians for electoral violence. Because they do not want to do either, they do not care for anything political. This is not true. It is true that joining political parties and participating in elections is a major process in politics, it is not the only way one can participate in politics, taking an interest in policy issues and joining public discussions on political issues is part of the poilitical process, joining pressure groups is a way of influencing policy and politicians. These are things that youths can do without the risk of having their good name besmirched.
So in conclusion, politics and policy affects everyone no matter ones attitude towards it. It is often said that Youth is the period of dynamism, it is the period when an individual still has the strength and the passion to make a difference. For Nigeria to grow, the non stop dynamism and passion and optimism that youths have is very much needed. That is why youths must take an active interest in matters of politics and policy and participate in the political process in order to ensure Nigeria’s political and social development.