“NIGERIA IS NOT YET RIPE FOR INDEPENDENT CANDIDACY” AMBASSADOR OBINNA NWAKA
Are the youth in Nigeria ready to vie, contest and win elections? Yes they are. All they need is an enabling environment, and even when they fail to win their coveted positions, they should still fix themselves in and contribute their quota as well as gain ore experience while waiting patiently for the next general elections. That is the position of Ambassador Comrade Obinna Nwaka, a youth, a political activist and the Director of Political Democratic Matters of the National Youth Council of Nigeria. In this chat with WakeUpAfrica, Amb Obinna raised some salient points, which shows one who is knowledgeable, experienced and with a slightly different orientation from the do-or-die political mind-set of our current political leaders. But then that is why he is a youth, we leave you to enjoy this rich interview and make your own opinions about it……
What exactly does National Youth Council of Nigeria do?
National Youth Council of Nigeria is under the supervision of the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sport Development. We have structures in national, state, local government and ward chapters of each state across the federation. We are the head of all the political organizational youths in Nigeria. We are the mouthpiece of the young people of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, both living here in Nigeria and in diaspora.
Being present at this #nottooyoungtorun conference, what do you have to say about the whole activities?
The whole activities are awesome, the #nottooyoungtorun bill is one of the political agendas of the national youth council of Nigeria. And we have been we have been part and parcel of the agitations, preparatory work, and all the pressures that were being put to the National Assembly and the Presidency to ensure that the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria give adequate attention, which at the end of the day, we were able to achieve the assent of the bill.
You are also part of other organisations and youth oriented platforms. What has been your personal contribution to all these platforms, to push the young people political agenda?
Yes, I am a youth activist and by the virtue of my position in the National Youth Council of Nigeria, I am a youth leader. And before I joined other organisations. I am the founder and National Coordinator of Diplomatic Movement before I now joined another youth movement called Reformed Youth Movement, where I met other youth leaders of like minds. And one of the agendas and our mission is to ensure that we encourage youth participation in good governance, youth participation in politics. And to carry them along to ensure that we also give them necessary technical support, which will be needed for them to push their aspirations forward. So I am glad that we are at this stage today and that we are making impact, as you can see today, before the advent of the #nottooyoungtorun bill, the Nigerian youth especially those in politics have been actively involved in every political activities in the country. So we are glad today that the youths are taking their position in good governance. So we are not behind, we are taking the lead.
If you are asked to project what 2019b would look like or the youths of Nigeria, what would you say?
For the youths 2019, especially with this #nottooyoungtorun bill that has been signed into law, the youths are going to take their positions. The youths are going to utilise this bill, to rebrand themselves, ahead of the next elections which in the year 2023. But for this 2019 elections is an opportunity for the youths to put themselves together, and look at other political positions where they can contribute their own quota. And not to be looking at those positions that is not possible for them to attain, they can take advantage to run for House of Assembly, Senate, Council and LG Chairman positons. This is going to give the youths a sense of belonging and it’s also going to package them well ahead of the next general elections which is 2023. For now in 2019, it’s now left for us to be actively involved in politics which is going to bring the new leadership that is going to bring fresh leadership that will involve the youth and also favour their course at the end of the day. And we believe that after February 2019 elections, young people who have the technical know-how to handle and to govern this political positions are going to emerge definitely. I believe that by June 12 2019, young people are going to be sworn in who have the technical know-how, who have the spirit to lead this country the way that our founding fathers have always prayed that we will get to.
Personally, do you have any political aspirations for 2019 or beyond that?
I don’t have any political aspirations in 2019, I had aspirations in 2016, when I contested for the councillorship position in the FCT. I didn’t get the party ticket, but I also didn’t give up. I contributed my own quota to ensure that I participated in the election, which I served under the council chairman of Abuja Municipal area as a director and we delivered. So with those experiences that I have gathered, and as a director in National Youth Council of Nigeria. It is now left for me to support the youths who are aspiring for various positions ahead of 2019 general elections, give them the necessary support both financial and otherwise to ensure that they emerge so that they can as well carry other youths along, ahead of the 2023 general elections. And we are hoping that a youth is going to emerge as president by that time.
Do you belong to any political party?
Yes for now, every politically conscious youth leader should be a sympathiser of a political party. I contested under the All Progressive Congress APC, of which I am still a member for now.
There are independent candidates springing up. Do you support such political structure now or do you think Nigeria is not yet ripe for independent candidacy?
Nigeria is not yet ripe for independent candidacy. This is something that is future-forward because it is going to be easy for us to organize and conduct an election where an independent candidate can emerge. But for now, the cost of conducting an election in Nigeria is too high and if everybody starts running an election as an independent candidate, it will not be easy for INEC, to conduct it and we don’t have an electronic system for now to conduct such elections that accommodates independent candidates.
Do you agree with Amb Obinna’s position about Independent Candidacy?
Photo Credit WakeUpAfrica