As the 2014 general elections draw closer, the air is rife with propaganda especially aimed at the nation’s youth that make up a sizable portion of the populace. The youth have a monumental role to play in deciding our nation’s future.
To my mind, a vital area for youth involvement is politics. However, before participation, the youth must establish a political ideology – in a nutshell, a set of ideas, dogmas and policies; a political moral code. A political ideology is the foundation of one’s political thought and the vehicle by which political goals are realized.
How does one develop a political ideology? Depending on whom you ask, this question could produce astonishingly different responses; some simple, others not so much. But one thing is certain; chances are that as you read this article you already have your ideology formed. As we journey through life, experiencing various events, we form opinions and harbour beliefs on various issues. These opinions and beliefs in turn motivate our actions and applying them to public governance activities and concerns will form a political ideology.
Political ideologies are the drivers of political action. That is what issues you take up, causes you pursue, candidates you support and ultimately; the political party you join. Thus, cultivating this ideology isn’t an issue to be taken with levity.
Given the importance of youth to a nation’s development, youth participation in politics should be welcomed and encouraged at all levels. However, without a principled guiding ideology, most youth will inevitably stand as unwitting foot soldiers in the political machines of savvy veterans; often used to serve ignoble ends.
“One who stands for nothing, will fall for anything” is an apt way of capturing the folly awaiting those who fail to cultivate an ideology and remain impressionable to whatever fad or whim comes their way. Consider this; if students participating in the recent umbrella movement hadn’t campaigned for a more democratic election process in Hong Kong, the world wouldn’t have been alerted to the seemingly autocratic system of government in operation there. Their campaign was moved by an ideology, and even more potent; an ideology held by a number of individuals in common.
Nearly two years ago the Arab Spring which was youth led successfully paved route for entrenched leaders in Northern Africa to be ousted from government. Such is the power of the political ideology.
Nigerian youth should no longer be idle bystanders in the political process and should have a rethink before wading or as is more common – jumping into political waters. A firm ideology will serve as a compass in hand, guiding its wielder aright and will see him never falter from his purpose. The Nigerian polity abounds with opportunities for youth to discover and form their views and opinions on pressing issues, issues that as politicians declare intention for office, will enable youth separate the wheat from the chaff; supporting only those who share their leanings and persuasions. This will finally see Nigeria begin her march towards “unity and faith, peace and progress”.