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General News of Wednesday, 22 June 2022


Labour Party’s Peter Obi, ADC’s Chukwuka Monye top list of youth’s favourites

Peter Obi and Chukwuka Monye Peter Obi and Chukwuka Monye

Less than a year to the end of President Muhammadu Buhari’s tenure, Nigerians across states, gender, income groups, religions, political orientations, and educational qualifications are vocalizing their expectations about the character and competence of his ideal successor.

Seven years after the retired general rode into office on the slogan of “Change” with promises to address insecurity, poverty, unemployment, and failure of governance, Nigerian voters have expressed their dissatisfaction with the administration’s performance, especially in the areas of security, the standard of living, foreign exchange rates, inflation, and gross nepotism in his appointments.

Even though trust in the integrity of the electoral selection process has remained poor, voter apathy is a major concern as the country prepares for general elections in the first quarter of 2023. Electoral violence and the manipulation of results have convinced so many people that getting a voter’s card or turning out to vote is a futile exercise.

In recent times though, this is changing. We are beginning to record loud and vocal chants of the youth who have categorically expressed their unwillingness to cast their votes for either PDP or APC. Despite the expected voter apathy, they have expressed high turnout in the forthcoming elections, especially with the emergence of the Labour Party aspirant, following his exit from the dominant PDP Peter Obi, and new but fast-rising favourite entrant into the scene – Chukwuka Monye of the ADC who reflect their choices in many more ways than ever seen.

The country’s youth bulge has clearly stated its preferences for the new president on several competencies like technical capacity, experience, a good track record and most critically, the next president’s age.

The median age in Nigeria currently stands at 18.4 years, whereas the constitution sets a minimum age of 35 running for the office of president. Despite popular campaigns like “Not Too Young to Run” that encourage the transfer of power to the youth, the average age of presidential candidates in the dominant All Progressives Congress and Peoples Democratic Party are 64.

Peter Obi has been a youth favourite because he ticks many of the criteria highlighted above. He is very vocal and consistent about his track record in Anambra State during his eventful regime from (2006-to 2007, and 2014). Popularly known for his “saving public money and rescue mission” mantra, his passion and expression of his tactics resonate with the youth who believe the time to rescue Nigeria is now.

Although there are several mixed feelings and debates about his exit from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to Labour Party (LP). Is he loved? Yes. Does he show competence and technical capacity? Yes. So what are the considerations that currently don’t sit well?

The term youth candidate is loosely applied in Nigeria. Strictly applied, it would bracket the age of the candidate between 35 and 47. This is where Chukwuka Monye of the ADC stands out compared to other candidates, and the youth demographic is beginning to see the infinite potentials he brings to the scene.

“SPEC” as Chukwuka Monye is fondly referred to, has quickly become one of his party’s favourites as he has played a very key role in uniting several factions of the party and attracting many more technocrats to the party. In less than a quarter of a year, he has been to almost all the states of the federation meeting one on one with party chieftains, state chairmen, local government chairmen and delegates who have continued to express shock that it is the first time a presidential aspirant would come so close to their level.

He is also known for flying the ADC flag, takes pride in the party and is not afraid to show it. He is loved and is tagged the Man of the People. He has vast experience in building businesses and managing big conglomerates in health, commodity trading, finance and economics. On the party side, he has done brilliantly well and shown capacity in leadership, mediation, and even funding for party activities across several states. Does he have the required funding to go all the way if he emerges?

Recent mentions on TV interviews, Facebook, WhatsApp, and online news sites seem to favour both candidates as their efforts in waving their party flags have even more recently peaked. Peter Obi was in the UK at Downey Street and visited past presidents like H. E Olusegun Obasanjo, H. E. Ibrahim Babangida, as well as several other notable political elites in the country, continent and the world. No less can be said of Chukwuka Monye, who has also consulted with H. E Olusegun Obasanjo, H. E. Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, The Olu of Warri, The Emir of Kano and The Obi of Onitsha, amongst several others.

Why are these two candidates on everybody’s lips? More than one year after national EndSARS protests triggered by abuse of police powers rocked cities across Nigeria, frustration among Nigerian youth remains high. Droves have voted with their feet by migrating to Canada and other Western countries; but for the upcoming election cycle, these two are responding to the ideals the youth majority are looking for. Peter Obi’s supporters organized a million man march to raise awareness for him, ready to vote for him on whatever platform he finds himself.

We can say that the forthcoming elections are looking positive for fresh candidates and these two have shown capacity despite the reckless show of delegate-buying by the two biggest parties APC and PDP.

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