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Nigerian lawyer, Elabor Joe Agbebaku on Friday urged Nigerian youth to prepare themselves for the 2023 general elections.
Mr Joe released the statements a few hours after Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari made a national broadcast on #EndSARS protests.
He said that the youth shouldn’t give up but get prepared for 2023.
“Let’s not look at our efforts as wasted labour or sacrifice. Of course, that’s what the elites want us to believe so that we can give up on our pursuit,” he said.
“We have passed the stage of giving up. We have set the ball rolling, we would maintain and keep to the pace”
“For some weeks now, we have been clamouring on the streets and on media spaces agitating for a better Nigeria. In the process, we lost some Comrades that being the highest price to pay for it.
I can say with every sense of sincerity and honesty that I have never been this proud of my generation like I feel today.
“After listening to the President’s address of last night, coupled with all that we have seen and witnessed together in the political system of our country, I felt the urge to let this letter out to my fellow youths out there.
Let’s note that the battle is not lost but not over yet. We can see this as a build-up to what is yet to come.
“In spite of all that has transpired in the last few days, we should not see ourselves as victims but as victors.
Granted, we feel disappointed and I think we have good reasons to be disappointed, given all that we expected and anticipated by our government. But apparently, they are not willing to compromise their greed for obvious reasons.
“After the speech last night, I received some messages from some of my friends and colleagues informing me of their decisions to finally leave the country in search of a better life.
“Another colleague of mine in the UK who was planning to return soon after her program called also, crying and made it clear to me that she is not coming back, and that she and her future kids deserve a better life. When I went on Twitter and other social media platforms after then, I saw thousands of Nigerian youths expressing their frustrations and desire to leave the country immediately.
“Truly, we deserve better than what we are getting from our leaders and government, and unfortunately when we decided to raise our voice to demand what we deserve they tagged us civil nuisance, impudent and insolent youths. When we persisted and pressed on with our demands, they opened live bullets on us. Just yesterday, I received a call that a very loyal youth from my community who was hit with a bullet during one of the protests at Auchi, Edo State, is to undergo surgery for amputation of one of his legs. I am aware that we have worse cases all over within the few days, and above all lives were lost. We deserve better than what we get.
“Our Leaders and government have shown us expressly and impliedly from every indication that they can’t give us the life we want, or help build the nation of our dreams. That’s understandable to a very large extent, in law we say Nemo dare potest quod non-habet (no man can give that which he has not). They have no dream or vision of what we want as a nation, they do not even care about that. They have already established themselves and their generation to live above minimum and average standard. So, it all lies in and within us. Only us can give us what we want.
We have passed the stage of giving up. We have set the ball rolling, we would maintain and keep to the pace.
Let’s not look at our efforts as wasted labour or sacrifice. Of course, that’s what the elites want us to believe, so that we can give up on our pursuit.
“The protest was not futility, it was a great development and shows how we have improved. So many positive things to take from it: we have been able to see the power within us and exposed the weak points of our oppressors; we have been able to show resilience even in the face of death; we have been able to show the unity of purpose; we have been able to show that we can take a stand when it matters most; we have been able to show that we can challenge any oppressor to power; to a very large extent it has shown that we are ready to occupy leadership positions in our nation.
“Should anyone desire to leave, he can do so. He has a good reason to so do. But for those of us who believe in the struggle for better Nigeria, we must not give up. It’s time for us to embrace the tides to overcome it. Let’s brace up to cease the time and create opportunities for ourselves which would never be given to us if we wait or relax, we must create it.
“Let’s leverage on all that has transpired in the last few days and prepare to take the country by storm. The battle for better Nigeria has just begun, we all should see ourselves as actors in this project. It is a journey for the birthing of a new Nigeria. We must chase out and or retire all our common oppressors and enemies of common purpose.
Everyone should get prepared for 2023, being the year for the next general election. It’s going to be a battle for all. We must define what we want through the electoral process. 2023 may appear to be still far, but when you look back to 2015, you would agree that 2023 is just by the corner. Therefore, whatever that must be done, should start from this moment.
“This is not the time to be apolitical, it’s a time to stand up to right the wrongs. It is our chance to redeem the nation, we must cease this moment. Let’s begin with ourselves. If at this point you do not have PVC, it is not late, do whatever you can to have PVC any time before 2023. We should ensure that we have visionary youths in key elective positions in Nigeria by 2023, that should be our goal.
“Thankfully, age qualifications for elective positions have been amended and reduced, this is to enable more participation from the community of youth, we must take advantage of that development.
Experience and records have shown that youths play vital roles in every election, from the strength they pull in during electioneering campaigns, to voting and monitoring of votes during and after elections. We have a good advantage on the field of play if we create synergy and work with one mind and sincerity.
Finance has been a factor that has limited the chances of youths’ participation. However, I believe if we work together in unity all that is required for the project would add up. We should not be discouraged.
Let’s have confidence in our electoral process which has improved a bit with what we saw and recorded in the Edo and Ondo governorship elections. So, we are hopeful for even more improvement before the 2023 general election. That should not constrain us.
“I also understand that we have amongst us a good number of youths who would rather take the peanuts they would get immediately than making sacrifices for a better future, we saw some of them fighting against the protest after being paid to do so. Howbeit, we should take that as part of the project by changing their orientation and make them buy into our dream for a better Nigeria. That also should not discourage us.
Irrespective of our political divides, we should ensure that we represent the youth agenda in any platform we may belong. We should not be blinded with political affiliation and sentiments, it has been one of our major challenges.
Together and with God on our sides, we can build a nation of our dreams. We are not bound to an impossibility.”
Read more from Elabor Joe Agbebaku below.