A former Lagos State Commissioner for Home Affairs and Culture, Alhaji Oyinlomo Danmole, on Wednesday called for more active participation of youths in politics by vying and voting for credible candidates during elections.
Danmole made the call at a seminar organised by the Leadership Empowerment and Resource Network (LEARN) in collaboration with Youth African Leaders Initiative (YALI) in Surulere.
The conference, with the theme: “Not Too Young to Run, What Next”, was targeted at youths aspiring to go into politics.
Danmole said: “The first thing is to join a political party, be a card carrying member, always go to party meetings and pay their dues because illiterates have taken control of politics.
“Politics is a serious business; people want to shroud you on what is going on in politics but they are not stopping you from joining.
“You should make your point with all sense of sincerity without insulting anybody; politics is not a religion, it is about who you want to be or what you want.”
Also speaking, a former Vice Chairman of Surulere Local Government, Mr Tokunbo Oguntola, noted that the financial resources required for contesting elections was a major hindrance for youths.
According to him, this promotes “God Fatherism’’ as most youths cannot afford the kind of money that is involved.
“If you are vying for political position, your money will speak for you; you need to align yourself with the `who is who’ in the party.
“If you don’t align yourself with them, you will not be voted for and they will not even give you a chance to run,’’he said.
Danmole, who spoke on Dynamics of Running for Political Office in Nigeria, urged Federal Government to make public offices less attractive to attract only people who have the passion to effect change.
“Let us make the offices less attractive because it is the money that politicians are interested in; they should have the passion to work for the country and not the mindset to make money,’’ Oguntola said.
Also, Mr Owei Lakemfa, Secretary-General, Organisation of African Trade Union Unity (OATUU), said it was ideas that could bring development and not the age of leaders.
“There are other countries that we started together but they have developed more than Nigeria; it is not about the age of leaders but the ideas.
“Our leaders need the qualities of leadership and sound programmes that can propel the country and provide for the citizens,’’he said.
In her remark, Mrs Abimbola Fashola, wife of Minister of Power, Works and Housing, lamented poor voters’ registration among youths.
Fashola said she was surprised that less than 10 out of the 50 youths at the conference had obtained their Permanent Voter Cards (PVC).
“I am taken aback that not up to half of the people in the conference have their PVCs.
“It is your right and there is time for you to get your PVCs; go and collect your PVC now,” Mrs Fashola said.