Many may have wondered why politics at the grassroot level in Nigeria is seemingly dead; only coming alive during election time. The answer is simple- we do not have a culture of grassroots political participation in the country. A quick flashback to precolonial times and the quest for independence attests to this. Most of the recorded agitations (by the Nationalists) typically played out on the national stage. Perhaps this was the fault of the so called “nationalists”, a set of people who were all bent on scoring their own political points while engendering their political ambitions/interests instead of actually carrying the people along.
Now fast-forward to postindependence Nigeria, the ill effects of the absence of effective grassroots political foundation are glaring. We have a large percentage of the population who have no idea of the political power they wield. And this gives the corrupt politicians the freeway to do their worst.
Indeed, the importance of grassroots political awareness cannot be overemphasized. No democracy anywhere in the world can be “useful” if the people at the grassroots do not get to participate in the political process as they should. Mind you, when I talk about grassroots political mobilization, I do not refer to the type that obtains here during election time whereby unscrupulous politicians successfully buy people’s votes in exchange for foodstuff. Instead, I am talking about a situation whereby the people at the local levels realize the power they have in the national polity and actually wield said power both during and after election periods.
People have to take up the task of mobilizing Nigerians at the grassroot level for democratic effectiveness. I put this call across to my fellow Nigerian youths. Who could possibly be in the best position to repair the broken foundations of our national polity than the very youths who will inherit it?!
We complain a lot about the exclusion we currently face; no thanks to gerontocracy. But there is a huge opportunity available for us all to make impact. Politics is not all about the scramble to occupy the highest elective posts in the land…