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Nana Nwachukwu: Let the change begin

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Nana Nwachukwu: Let the change begin

by Nana Nwachukwu

I read the headline of one of Nigeria’s newspapers which said “We are merging to save Nigeria – ACN, CPC, and ANPP”. I have listened to arguments and banters on the purpose filled mission of APC and the devilish intent of PDP. Coming from the youths, it was quite laughable because we do not realize that we have been cleverly marginalized out of politics.

Now, let us quit beating about the bush. We want to change the way Nigeria is being governed presently. We want a change in the National Assembly, in the Presidency, at the State level, as well as at the grassroots. What kind of change do we want? Do we want another form of Fresh Air? Does the environment stink so much that we have realized that what we bought was just a fancy can and not actually an air freshener?

Yes, the Youths want change! I am very annoyed that it is the same calibre of youths who campaigned gallantly for change in 2010/2011 that are still screaming for change right now sans a few who got ‘favoured’ by the god of politics. Cars were painted, faces were painted, songs were composed, and neighbours were harassed door to door all in the name of change.

We still hear sounds of ‘UP NEPA!’ and we are still not happy. We want change we say. I heard that in every dark corner we should seek for light. Well, the light at the end of this tunnel shone bright on CNN, Nigeria’s UP NEPA Brand went global. Our voices got higher, we want a change!!!!

Exactly what do you seek to change? The way the nation is governed? The way the nation’s money is spent?  Or more simply, the president whom most have labelled clueless?

I found out that it is on bus rides that you will discover the best political analysts. Recently, I have found the elite class to the bus riders on Twitter, we know politics, analyse it, criticize it and yet cannot identify the problem.

Look below and see that we have a problem. A problem brought in with democracy.

What are the age requirements to political offices? Let me enumerate it.

President/Vice president
40
Governor/Deputy governor
35
Senate
35
House of Representatives
35
House of Assembly
30
Chairman of Area Council
30
Councillor of Area Council
25

Yayyyy to the Youths right? With the above constitutional requirements, one would think it was a free ride to Aso Villa and the various State houses. However, the law introduced what is called ‘political parties’.

In societies such as the United States of America after which our democracy is modelled, it is regarded as a platform required for giving your interest to develop your country a chance but in Nigeria, it is clear beyond doubts that the political parties birthed another angle to Nigeria’s fastest growing business venture (Corruption).

Take another look at the ages up there, it is interesting right? How come when you see young people in politics, you get amazed and excited? Isn’t that supposed to have been the norm? More of the Young ones and less of the Oldies? Why are we surprised? Aha! You guessed right, politics had been a case of ‘eat or be eaten’ and this special meal has been the exclusive preserve of the rich. You cannot be a poor man and venture into politics. When I say rich, I do not mean your little millions. I mean money, flowing with careless abandon.

Hush before you ask why you need so much money to be a politician, let me inform you that praise singers do not come cheap. First of all, you need to acquire friends. Even on the social media, these friends do not come cheap so do not allow one dude take your money and tell you about Facebook and Twitter friends. You have to make the kind of friends that will make you walk down the streets fully naked believing you are clothed.

Secondly, you have to pick up a form for the position you have been led to believe you are competent for. Do you know the cost of party nomination forms? PDP presidential nomination forms cost Ten Million Naira while ANPP cost Eleven Million Naira. Now tell me my dear 40-year old man, do you still want to be President? The Governorship nomination forms go for Five Million Naira. Let the 35 year-olds raise their hands.

Yet we are here shouting for change. Change can only begin at the foundation of a problem. The Electoral Act has to be reformed to include governing the way parties raise funds. Using nomination forms to raise funds in Nigerian Political parties will only encourage corruption.

What will the ACN, ANPP and CPC proposed merger do differently? We wanted a fresh face in 2011, now in 2015, we want a fresh party (no pun intended).  What will we need in 2019? We change the wrong things therefore, the problem persists.

Until I hear of a party that waives all nomination fees and not just for women alone, then I will know that change is coming to the Nigerian political sphere. I want to be able to see an equal chance for everyone to run for political office.

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