By Diana Omueza
A Former Chief of Staff to the Imo State Government, Uche Nwosu has advised young enthusiastic voters not to superimpose their choice of candidates for the forthcoming general elections on the elderly and aged.
Nwosu said this at a News conference in Abuja, that the outcome of the elections should not be influenced externally or internally but should represent the people’s mandate.
He adviced Nigerians to vote according to their conscience adding that nobody should impose their choice of preferred candidates on another, especially on elderly and aged voters.
“When it comes to the issue of voting in electing and who you want to represent you, it is a thing of the mind, it is you actually knowing what is good for you and what is not good for you.
“If you decide that it is B and you see the qualities of representation in B the better for you, and if you see the qualities of representation in C or D and you decided to go for any of them, the better for you .
“Democracy is not something you have to force the voting or ask somebody that they must choose this person, it is a thing of decision.
“Who ever you want to choose, choose freely and nobody should force you to choose who you don’t want to chose,” he said.
Nwosu added that “If a 70 years old man decides to vote for another 70 years old man that’s his choice, if a 30 years old man decides to vote for somebody in his 30s, that’s his choice.
“So my choice should not affect another persons choice, its a thing of joy to choose who you want to vote for and allow another person to choose who they want to vote for,” he said.
Nwosu said that in the sequence of Nigeria’s leadership, there had been series of administrations, both administrations led by older leaders and younger leaders.
He added that series of older rulers had failed as well as younger leaders and as such age was not a determining factor for any successful eadership.
He urged Nigerians not to vote based on the ages of the candidates but on ideologies, ability to represent, capacity and exposure, wellness and leadership prowess, antecedent and other valid criteria for electing a good leader.
“That you are voting a young person does not mean that you are assured or that you are voting an 80 or 90 years old does not mean that you are assured.
“So let your conscience allow you to look at those people who are running for elections and choose who you think can represent and lead the nation and lead you when it comes to the Senate and House of Representation,” he said.
Nwosu lauded the politicial awareness and enthusiasm amongst the youths, saying that it was interesting and quite different from the enthusiasm at the inception of Nigeria’s democracy.
He said that democracy during the era of Former President Olusegun Obasanjo, it was the elderly who participated during elections while the youths cheered the outcome.
He however said that the narrative in regards to youth participation in election processes began to change during the time of late former president Umar Musa Yar’adua.
Nwosu added that the youths mass enlightenment was further brighten during former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan’s era.
This he said brought the current political awareness, enlightenment and enthusiasm in youth participation in an electoral process in Nigeria.
“In a country where the population of the youths is 60 per cent, what it means is that they are the people that will determine who becomes the president, who becomes the governor.
“The senator, the federal house of representative members, state house of assembly members and even the local government chairman.
“With the current situation of things now and the awareness and enthusiasm in our young people, it shows that they are really awakened and the elections will not be the same story or business as usual.
“Because even the old ones are aware, that if this young people are not carried along or are not treated well, there may be severe consequences,” he said.
Nwosu cautioned the youths against being used as election day thugs or political tools to incite violence that could lead to the destruction of lives and properties and also mar the entire electoral process.
He urged them to conduct themselves properly and peaceful before, during and after the elections and to cast their votes, ensure their votes are counted and the votes count in order to enjoy the outcome of the elections.
“The issue of violence is all over the country and what we should preach amongst our young ones and amongst our brothers and sisters all over the country including in Imo state is for them to know that if we miss this opportunity.
“And tomorrow you start shouting on the streets that you did not elect this person or that you don’t want this person.
“Just remember that you have the opportunity now to actually decide who will be your president, your senator, your house of representative members and governor, ” he said.(NAN)