The chances of the likes of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, former Kano State Governor, Rabiu Kwakwanso, former Jigawa State Governor, Sule Lamido, among others, of flying the Presidential flag of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the 2023 general elections, is being threatened, as the party has decided to give preference to youthful Candidates,
Both the National Chairman of the PDP, Prince Uche Secondus, and the Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, Hon. Ndidi Elumelu, gave an indication of the party’s position ahead of 2023, in Abuja, on Monday, at the opening ceremony of a 2-day Zonal and State Youth Leaders Conference of the PDP.
The Conference was organised by the office of the National Youth Leader of the PDP, Comrade SKE Ude-Okoye, and the entire National Working Committee, NWC, of the party, to fashion out ways to further galvanise the youths for greater participation in politics and leadership.
The National Chairman specifically said that the PDP “is going to give preferential treatment to the youths in both appointments and elective positions”.
Secondus stressed the importance of the party attached to the youthful population, which gave birth to the Conference through which he said the youths must get themselves prepared to take over the leadership of the country in 2023.
He stated that the government of the PDP that is coming in 2023, will be youths and women based, because the party has discovered the energy of the youths.
The Chairman berated the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, for being a party of gerontocracy, having old men in positions at different levels of government
He said: “The future of our country lies in the hands of the youth, it cannot be otherwise. You are aware that the APC is a conglomerate of the old generation. You can see them, 80years, 90years, they are still in government, when will the youth take over, and the world has gone digital, it is no longer analog.
“This is not acceptable, this must change, and it is only the youths that can effect this change. We can no longer mortgage the future of the youths, because that is exactly what the APC has done.”
The PDP National Chairman went ahead to cite examples of foremost past National Leaders, who served the country in their youthful age.
He added: “The Great Zik was a youth when he was President, MT Mbu served as Foreign Affairs Minister at the age of 21 years, while Gen. Yakubu Gowon, Murtala Muhammed, and Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo, all became Military Heads of State, at different times in their youthful age.”
Secondus maintained that the “PDP is a party that believes in youths and women, and you know we have affirmative action for the women. By the grace of God, this Conference will end with an action Committee for the youths. The future Leaders of this country, need to take over.
“Most of the youth cannot afford the cost of forms, especially for Presidential election. We will attend to them give them preferential treatment by the grace of God. In most cases, we will remove most of the things for women and youths. They are very important to us.
“PDP is for the youth, and the government of PDP that is coming in 2023 will be a youthful one.”
In his remark, Hon. Elumelu said that all over the world, the youths are the key drivers of the economy and social life, but it is unfortunate that since the last six years, under the current APC administration, the Nigerian youths “have suffered the most dehumanising neglect and relegation by the same set of people who exploited and used them to achieve political power.
“Everywhere you turn, you see stark hopelessness, dashed dreams, wasting talents misery, confusion, anger, poverty, disease, hunger, starvation, homelessness, illiteracy, and bare-faced despondency ravaging our youthful population, with no hope in sight under the prevailing dispensation.
“Our youth have become victims of corruption, incompetence, and insensitivity pervading the system. They have become victims of rising criminality as well as the brutality of the state apparatus of power. They directly bear the frustration of economic depression, devastating infrastructure excruciating unemployment, and other challenges associated with bad governance.
“Only last week, the National Bureau of Statistics, NBS, alerted that unemployment has escalated to 33.3 percent in our country, in a country where over 40 million persons, particularly the youths have lost their means of livelihood.
“More distressing is the fact that over 40 percent of our youthful population (15 to34 years) have no jobs and no access to opportunities that abound in our country.”
He posited that the EndSARS protest by the youths, last year, was a glimpse of the level of frustration among the youths in their quest for a better society.
The House Minority Leader recalled that under the PDP, the rights of the youths are protected, as they are also allowed to fully participate in political leadership and governance even at very top levels.
He disclosed that the party produced Leaders of the National and State Assemblies, State Governors, key Ministers, and Heads of critical Agencies, who were in the 30s and early 40s.
However, Elumelu sadly noted that all the templates set up by successive PDP administrations, that hitherto enhanced the development of the youths, have been wrecked in a space of six years of the current administration.
He, therefore, urge the Federal Government to “listen to the youth, have more interest in their affairs, take urgent steps to bridge the yawning employment deficit as well as decisively address all the issues bordering on a demand for good governance raised in the EndSARS protest”.