By: David Adetula
Some of the most powerful countries in the world are currently being led by young individuals. France’s President, Emmanuel Macron is 39 years old, Kim Jong-un of North Korea is 34 years old and the Qatari Emir, Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani is 37 years old. And beyond the position of the president, there aremany more young leaders across the globe who have been elected to occupy very important offices in government.
Coming home to Nigeria, the political landscape seems very different. In fact, one could even say the system is intolerant of the political involvement and participation of the youth. Not until very recently, when some young Nigerians began to insistthat they are not too young to contest for elective positions despite the barriers inthe country’s constitution, one could barely say anyone below the age of 40 would ever be a Nigerian president, not anymore after Olusegun Obasanjo in 1976.
But, many thanks to the #NotTooYoungToRun bill which has renewed hope among young and vibrant Nigerians. If the bill weathers the storm of lawful antagonistic forces in the lower chamber of the National Assembly and State Houses of Assembly, and the president signs it into law; ultimately, the age qualification for the office of the President, Governor, Senate, House of Representatives and State House of Assembly are reduced from 40 years to 30 years, 35 years to 30 years, 30 years to 25 years and 30 years to 25 years respectively.
Another interesting thing the bill seeks to effect is independent candidacy in the electoral process. On a very fine note, this would help the electorate to improve on their scope of choice consideration during elections. In the mean time, here are four (4) young promising politicians and politically inclined personalities Nigerians really should watch out for.
- Jude ‘Feranmi
Jude Feranmi is the National Youth Caucus Leader of the rising KOWA Party. He is also a co-founder and lead partner at Foundi.ng, a start-up support firm focused on helping technology start-up founders. The multi-talented politician has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy from Obafemi Awolowo University. ‘Feranmi, 25, has been at the vanguard demanding for the change in approach of governance. In fact, he is a loud critic of the Buhari administration. According to him, “he is driven by compassion on a failing Nigeria even amidst all the intellectual and natural resources.”Recently, he has been at the forefront of the efforts to helphis party reach the grassroots by taking her gospel to youths in tertiary institutions across the nation. The Ilesha-born is yet to contest any elective position in government, but surely, he is someone Nigerians should watch out for.
- Mark Okoye
At 31 years, Mark Okoye has proven he an outstanding young Nigerian who can stand tall in governance and excellently deliver. Okoye is the Anambra StateCommissioner for Economic Planning and Budget Development. Prior to his appointment to his current position by Governor Willie Obiano, he served as Special Adviser to the Governor on Economic Planning and Budget; Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Investments and he is a onetimeExecutive Director of Anambra State Investment Promotion & Protection Agency (ANSIPPA). At ANSIPPA, Okoye’s leadership helped the state execute some Private-Public-Partnership worth about $200m.
His innovative introductionof monthly performance reviews to monitor the State’s internally generated revenues (IGRs) and projects saw the IGRs increased over a 100 per cent – from N600m/month to approximately N1.3bn/month in a year. The youngest official of the Anambra government graduated from George Washington University, Washington, after bagging a Bachelor of Science degree in finance. Mid last year, he was named The Future Awards Africa (TFAA) Young Person of the Year.
- Japheth Omojuwa Japheth was born on October 3, 1984 in Lagos state. He is one of the most controversial political commentators in the country. In the run up to the 2015 General Elections, he was very instrumental in shaping the opinions of Nigerians on social media, encouraging them to vote against the former president, Goodluck Jonathan over what he explained as incompetence. Omojuwa is a Chief Strategist at Alpha Reach, an African World Class Digital Media Company. He is a public speaker who has appeared on major international and local TVs. He has a degree from the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB). Although he hasnot declared any interest to run for any elective post, it is believed by some of his fans that he will do well in government. Definitely, Omojuwa is one of the young minds Nigerians should watch out for in the nation’s political scene.
- Hindatu Umar
Umar is a 25-year old female and a secondary school graduate. She was appointed Argungu Local Government chairperson by the Kebbi state Governor, Abubakar Atiku Bagudu September 2016. She is not just a young person, but also the first and only female council boss in the region. Despite concerns from some locals that a young lady like her may not be effective in such position; her appointment is capable of igniting the much needed zeal and passion among young girls in the region, where many of them are out of school and do not participate in politics or governance. Umar was the deputy council boss prior to her appointment. Watch out for Hindatu Umar.