Written by Bolu Ayeye, Head of the Operations and Comms of the Young People Advisory Board
My dad would always tell me that his generation’s moment and job for Nigeria was to set it on a path to security, prosperity, and enjoying the dividends of democracy: they failed.
Nigeria as it stands is a nation on the precipice of collapse, mired by insecurity, divided along religious and tribal ties and a country with an economy bogged down by debt.
The 2023 election was an existential moment that will determine if Nigeria survives. In the election Gen Z and Millennials had their moment. They fought tirelessly for their own future and a better Nigeria. The youth registered to vote at an unprecedented rate. But rigging and disenfranchisement were still obstacles in their way.
Nigeria is a complex nation, it is made of over two hundred tribes and a multitude of religions. The country was born of colonial rule and fraught with tribal differences. It is the most populous nation in Africa with over 210m people.
The country endowed with natural resources and untapped human capital has the potential to become the economic superstar of the African continent. Bola Ahmed Tinubu of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) was declared the winner of the fiercely contested election.
But his win was mired in controversy as the opposition parties led by the Labour Party’s Peter Obi and Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) argued the result was a sham.
Yet, the story of the election season was the youth’s chosen candidate, Peter Obi, who became a formidable contender due to many young Nigerians believing he represented a fresh start and a new direction in Nigerian politics. This is due to his relatively unblemished record as a businessman and governor.
Young Nigerians are very scared, the last 8 years have been difficult. The election added to that fear as there were confirmed reports of disenfranchisement, rigging, result changes and electoral violence.
As a Nigerian it has been one of the most painful experiences of my life with our electoral bodies compromised. Watching the country descend into tribal divisions with Yorubas, my tribesman, leading the charge against the Igbos.
The Labour Party and the PDP are taking the APC to court for the poor conduct of the elections. The APC is a threat to Nigeria’s already weak democracy. People are getting arrested by security agencies for speaking up against the political party.
Nigeria has reached a turning point.. Results are being overwritten and governors are abusing their power. Millions of Nigerians like myself saw this election as a step into a bright future but it has become a nightmare that we are too powerless to change. Although what happens next is unknown, the bravery and ingenuity of the Nigerian people will be rewarded someday.