Editors Note: The world today has become a global village and the need to contact numerous number of people at the same time and at a cheaper rate has been made possible by the internet and the social media. The opportunities the social media presents cannot be numerated and to tape into this opportunities, Nigerian politicians have made themselves present on social media platforms such as twitter, Facebook and Instagram. In doing so they have as usual manipulated the Nigerian youths into looking at them as the real power.
- Here in Nigeria there are few young people in real positions of power. The politicians use the youths to drive their campaign, but youths barely have a part in the government.
- Politicians recognise this influence that social media has in the hands of young people, and they're always looking to exploit the thing in their quest for power.
- Politicians don't give a toss about change or youths. They only give a toss about power. Either they're trying to take power or they're trying to retain it.
This article expresses opinion of Adedayo Ademuwagun. The views and opinions expressed here do not necessarily represent those of Legit.ng.
A university student won a seat in parliament in the UK this year. She's just 20 years old.
A lot of countries such as the UK have many young people in their 20s and 30s as part of government at the top level. Youths aren't just venting online in those countries. They're involved high up in government taking part in running their country.
But here in Nigeria there are few young people in real positions of power. The politicians use the youths to drive their campaign, but youths barely have a part in the government. The National Assembly, for instance, is filled with old and washed up politicians who shouldn't even be there in a proper system. Young people helped to put these people in power, and yet they don't get a seat at the table.
Every day you have millions of young Nigerians on Facebook, Twitter and BBM talking and exchanging pictures about current issues. These conversations have a way of filtering into the real life and affecting the society beyond social media.
Politicians recognise this influence that social media has in the hands of young people, and they're always looking to exploit the thing in their quest for power. That's why many politicians get a bunch of youths who have some pull on social media and use them to steer conversations in their favour. You remember how it worked out in this year's elections. It's still working out like that.
READ ALSO: 7 Priority Areas For 8th National Assembly
Often you'll see 'activists' on social media directing the conversations and swaying the people in a biased direction. The conversations look normal like they're wholly from genuinely concerned young people speaking their mind and talking about issues that matter to the people. But it's not what it looks like.
Many get paid to tweet about these issues and sway public opinion in a way that's favourable to some politician. They're hired to control the narrative. These young people praise the politicians and help them spread their propaganda. They give you the impression that they're speaking for the people and that they're the voice of the people. But that's not what it is.
Politicians often used young thugs to cause violence and rig elections in the past. It was common for a politician to have a bunch of thugs at his back that he could use to attack an opponent or invade a polling booth. But that's not so common anymore. Things are changing.
Now politicians don't have to use young people for that form of thuggery. They've adapted with time. Now they use young people online. If you want to attack an opponent, you don't have to get young people to go to his house and shoot him or something. You simply pay some youths on social media to write and talk about him negatively.
You don't have to pull thugs around town because you're campaigning. Get young people and let them pull themselves around for you on Twitter. They'll campaign for you and get behind you pretty much like thugs used to in those days. It's the same system but just with new technology now.
Politicians don't give a toss about change or youths. They only give a toss about power. Either they're trying to take power or they're trying to retain it. The young people they use online to drive their campaigns are just being used. The same applies to the young people online who fall for those propaganda and allow themselves to be led by the nose. We're never going to have the change we want if young people continue to let politicians manipulate them this way.
Some youths may feel fulfilled that they helped to bring a change in the last election. They may feel they've accomplished something — and yes they really have. But that's not the big picture.
We'll get a lot closer to having real change when we have young people getting elected into high places. We'll get a lot closer to having the change we really want when we move away from voting for old soldiers and washed up politicians.
That's why we need young people in government who can change things from inside, not just young people venting on social media and taking crumbs from men with grey hair who have nothing new to offer.