Now that the dust has settled, and President Buhari has been given the mandate to lead the country until 2023, a salient question for more than half of the country is 'what is the fate of young Nigeria for the next four years?'

51% of registered voters in the 2019 elections were young Nigerians. INEC is yet to release the data on the number of Nigerian youths who voted in the just concluded presidential election, but in the build-up, young Nigerians (mostly Southerners) balked at the choice of leading candidates from the APC and the PDP respectively.

President Buhari, a former 77-year-old military ruler and 72-year-old ex-Vice-President Atiku Abubakar didn't elicit much optimism from a sizeable number of young Nigerians who believed they were more of the same.

PDP Presidential candidate , Atiku Abubakar and President Muhammadu Buhari
PDP Presidential candidate , Atiku Abubakar and President Muhammadu Buhari

The Third Force which gathered a bit of steam online early on during the campaign season fell like a pack of cards close to the elections. It was a disappointing display at the polls as the third force candidates (mainly Fela Durotoye, Omoyele Sowore and Kingsley Moghalu) could only garner 72,618 votes collectively.

The last four years had its challenges ranging from economic to insecurity concerns. Within these years, unemployment and poverty rates also went up creating a sense of disillusionment within many young Nigerians.

During this period, there has been an upswing in the number of Nigerians leaving the country in search of greener pastures, preferably Canada (which became a trending topic on the day the Presidential election was postponed).

This is not the first wave of mass migration. In the mid-80s during the recession and the 90s during the years of the US Visa lottery, Nigerian families left to start a whole new life in more stable environments.

Brain drain has been hitting Nigeria hard since the 80s (Nairobi Business Monthly)
Brain drain has been hitting Nigeria hard since the 80s (Nairobi Business Monthly)
Nairobi Business Monthly

Will the Canada trend continue in the next four years? It is hard to say. President Buhari is yet to share his blueprint for the next four years, but if its an extension of his blueprint of the last four years, then more young Nigerians might be forced to leave the country.

On May 31, 2018, President Buhari signed the Not Too Young To Run bill into law which is meant to lower the age of entry for young people interested in partisan politics.

This encouraged a lot of young people to run for office in this year's election, but with what the results have shown so far, it will take a while to dislodge the old guard that is still active in mainstream politics.

What this year's election has shown that there is a need for a political party that can cater to the yearnings of young, and progressive Nigerians across the board.

To have proper representation in the next elections in 2023, young Nigerians of political inclinations should hit the ground running and be actively involved in grassroots politics.

'All politics is local' has been the mantra within the political circles of late in Nigeria. Political relevancy comes from hitting the road, shaking hands and speaking to people in the boondocks, suburbs and ghettos of Nigeria. Elections are rarely won on social media.

Politicians who represent young Nigeria should make this their focus for the next four years, a grassroots campaign centered around a party or parties that will truly represent most of the country's youth.

The mistake of 2019 should be chalked up to the arrogance of youth. A Nigeria that will invest in its young people can only be gotten from grit, grind and hard work.

The next four years might be better for young Nigerians or it might be not. Will young Nigerians run to Canada or will they dive deeper into politics? 2023 has the answer.