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#BeInvolved: Young Nigerians want to decide who becomes President in 2019

With elections coming in 2019, young people are trying to take charge of their country and their future. The 2019 elections have greater implications for Nigerians, in general, and young people in particular than any other elections in the nation’s history.58 years after the nation’s independence, the political class is still made up of the same people, cabals and families that gained power in the years around 1960.With the exception of Goodluck Jonathan, the former University lecturer turned President, the nation’s highest seat of power has been treated like a revolving door.The result is that, as President Buhari’s government reflects, the youth are not adequately represented and the methods, practices and policies are as dated as the people who make them.No place for the youthYoung Nigerians have learned that the age-old saying, “the youth are the leaders of tomorrow” is a sham.It gives the feeling that the future of Nigeria’s youth has been mortgaged for quick returns and illicit wealth.ALSO READ: Will Nigerians be forced to pick between the devil and the deep blue sea in 2019?As it stands, the youth have many things to deal with; unemployment, a lack of infrastructure, a massive drug problem, crime and a world that’s leaving them behind.It is why, as the elections draw closer, activists, civil society groups and commentators are trying to get young Nigerians involved in the political process.With the hashtag #BeInvolved, young people are trying to take things into their own hands and decide who becomes Nigeria’s President in 2019.  The hashtag has become a trending topic on Twitter over the last few days as participants attempt to spread the scale of the initiative.As 2019 draws nearer, the familiar signs of election season have become more evident.#GetYourPVCsAs is necessary, the first part of the conversation involves getting registered to vote.Using the hashtag, participants are sensitising the Twitter community about the importance of getting PVCs which will be used to vote in the elections. Most of these tweets rely on a smart use of infographics and images. Most of these are extremely detailed; they contain information such as what makes a person eligible to vote and get the CVR, where registration centres are located and how to get the PVCs with little hassle.The hashtag is also being used to share the timetable for the elections, which will be useful for persons looking to spur new initiatives.  As the elections are still relatively far off, this is only far as the hashtag goes, for now.ALSO READ: 5 Nigerian women who have spoken truth to the powers that beThe idea of sensitising the public is important, considering that less than 20% of the youth population voted in 2015.Also, young people need to know the role that they can play in drumming up and mobilising the entire country to approach the elections with a sense of purpose.This will depend on whether people feel like their votes actually matter.In a country where election rigging is synonymous with elections, this may prove harder than it appears.There will also be other challenges. Election violence has, over the years, discourage many from coming out to vote. A history of low voter turnout during elections has almost made it normal to see election booths with few people beyond the officials and party representatives.  Ensuring that the people who get their PVS come out to cast their votes and make their choices will be important as well.In the end, 2019 will be a decisive year, for now, and the country’s long-term future.If Nigeria is to stand a chance of emerging from the present rot, young people must take control of the reins and decide who becomes Nigeria’s president and who holds vital positions after 2019.To #BeInvolved is the first step and right now, the youth seem to be getting things rolling.

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