Young people are pushing for change in France, can the same be done in Nigeria in 2019?
They are 39-year-old Emmanuel Macron of the En Marche! political party and Marine Le Pen of the National Front. Le Pen is 48 years old.
The emergence of both candidates in the general elections indicates that the French people are tired of mainstream politics and are in search of something new and fresh. It's not only French people that are in search of something new, young French people want something better for themselves.
Both candidates, Macron and Le Pen, are very popular among young voters in France. The former is seen as a young outsider who could break into the dreary world of politics and galvanize it, like Obama pre-2008. The latter Le Pen who has very nationalistic views is popular among French youths also.
The result of the first round of election in France has a clear message, young people are breaking the structure of old politics. Macron is way too young to challenge for President of France but here we are. Polls indicate he would win the run-off with Le Pen.
This political change in France proves that if young people get their acts right, they can determine their own future on their terms. Young people in Nigeria can learn from the French. We groan, rant on Twitter about the old men in politics mortgaging our lives but we never do anything about it.
At the age of 39, you would be expected to be a personal assistant or the errand boy of a politician who has been in the game since the 2nd Republic. The political scene in Nigeria kills the spirit of young women who want to seek change and make the country better. Politics in Nigeria is an 'either you join them or gerrout' from here business. It's a place of bitterness and frustration.
We are now woke to the situation at hand, political parties are the same irrespective of their acronyms. It's the same old politicians with the same old agenda, empty the treasury. We need something new, something vibrant, something that has purpose and urgency. The old cargoes can't do it.
It's two years to 2019. What needs to be done now is for a youth-based political party to emerge that will do away with the old way of doing politics. It should be a grass-root, mainstream political party that will embrace all and shun meaningless speeches and catchphrases. We need this party to map out the future of Nigeria and its citizens. This cannot be done by the cabal of corrupt and backward thinking politicians. We need young and the young at heart to do this.
Unfortunately, the young people involved in politics are caught up in the matrix. If they are not part of inefficient power structure as behind the scene 'boy-boys', they are 'Twitter warriors' defending the corrupt and incompetent.
Where do we go from here? We can no longer abandon our future for bants and trending topics. Young people in Nigeria need to have a sense of purpose and direction for anything meaningful to happen. We need to be actively involved in politics which is beyond voting on election day. We need to go for town hall meetings, hold our senators accountable and challenge the system. If we continue to fold our arms, nothing will happen.
Young people all over the world have shown that they can make things change. It is possible. Will this ever happen in Nigeria?