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Niger­ian Youth can be the Can­di­date not the Thug — Engr. Paul Jacob

Engr. Paul Jacob Ochai

The sign­ing of ‘Not Too Young to Run Bill’ by the cur­rent admin­is­tra­tion under the dis­tin­guish lead­er­ship of Pres­i­dent Muham­madu Buhari (GCFR), have encour­aged youth inclu­sive­ness in Nige­ria pol­i­tics.

Today, youth like Fela Duro­toy, Omoyele Sowore (Sahara Reporters), and many oth­ers are re-writ­ing his­to­ry by tak­ing bold steps in run­ning for Pres­i­dent of Nige­ria.

While speak­ing to Toktok9ja Exclu­sive, one of the pio­neers and advo­cate of ‘Not Too Young to Run Bill’ Engr. Paul Jacob Ochai expressed opti­mism of youth occu­py­ing var­i­ous elec­tive posi­tions in the upcom­ing gen­er­al elec­tions 2019.

Engr. Paul is the founder and Pres­i­dent of ‘Youth in Pol­i­tics Move­ment of Nige­ria (YIPMN)’, a non-par­ti­san youth move­ment whose aim is to sup­port youth inclu­sive­ness in Nige­ria pol­i­tics.

Recent­ly, Engr. Paul led del­e­gates of Youth in Pol­i­tics Move­ment of Nige­ria (YIPMN) on a vis­it to the res­i­dence of Hon. Dav­e­mat­ics Ombugadu where he pledge sup­port for Hon. Dav­e­mat­ics  guber­na­to­r­i­al ambi­tion in the com­ing elec­tions.

Hon. Dav­e­mat­ic is rep­re­sent­ing Akwan­ga, Nasarawa Egong and Wam­ba Fed­er­al Con­stituen­cy of Nasarawa State and cur­rent­ly run­ning for the guber­na­to­r­i­al seat of the State under People’s Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty (PDP).

Engr. Paul who is a prac­tic­ing struc­tur­al Engi­neer shares his thoughts and expec­ta­tions for the upcom­ing gen­er­al elec­tions 2019.

Intro­duce your­self and tell us a brief back­ground of your­self

My name is Engr. Paul Jacob Ochai, a prac­tic­ing struc­tur­al Engi­neer base in Abu­ja and a youth activist for good gov­er­nance; I am also the founder and Pres­i­dent of Youth in Pol­i­tics Move­ment of Nige­ria.

What is Youth in Pol­i­tics Move­ment all about in terms of ide­ol­o­gy and vision for Nige­ria?

Youth in Pol­i­tics Move­ment is an encom­pass­ing move­ment, it is based on the val­ues for the youth in democ­ra­cy, the youth form 70 per­cent of the elec­torate but were not giv­en chance to lead, if the youth can vote then they can as well be vot­ed for, but instead they are use as thugs for the old­er politi­cians, and being a thug mean so many things are involve, it means they are always on drugs, abuse of drug is involve, idle­ness is part of it, crim­i­nal­i­ty is part of it and rape and wom­an­iz­ing is part of it too.

When we found out this things destroys our youth on dai­ly bases in this dis­pen­sa­tion of pol­i­tics in Nige­ria we decid­ed to form this move­ment ‘The Youth in Pol­i­tics’, the vision of youth in pol­i­tics is to cre­ate aware­ness to every youth that they can be “the can­di­date not the thug”, we want to bring them out of these social vices by empow­er­ing them through self-reliance such as skill acqui­si­tion, train­ing and retrain­ing, schol­ar­ship to our youth and most impor­tant­ly sup­port­ing any youth with pos­i­tive agen­da into pol­i­tics.

Also, our vision is to see that the div­i­dend of democ­ra­cy finds its root in every con­stituen­cy in Nige­ria to the ben­e­fit of our youth and com­mu­ni­ty at large, we are going to work with all leg­is­la­tures to make sure they deliv­er there con­stituen­cy projects and we send our youth mem­bers to make sure all projects are car­ried out with good qual­i­ty mate­ri­als and exper­tise. We are also a pres­sure group in press­ing for good gov­er­nance.

How did it come into exis­tence?

Youth in pol­i­tics move­ment came into exis­tence in the year 2018, while we are all ana­lyz­ing the sit­u­a­tion in the coun­try, and we dis­cov­ered that the youth are being mar­gin­al­ize in all aspect of gov­er­nance in Nige­ria.

How do you see pol­i­tics and gov­er­nance under the present admin­is­tra­tion?

This admin­is­tra­tion has done well to its own capac­i­ty, maybe that is the lev­el they can oper­ate for now, they need to learn a high­er lev­el of pol­i­tics, you can’t give some­one a com­put­er to oper­ate while his lev­el is to punch cal­cu­la­tor, these are two dif­fer­ent lev­el of punch­ing key­board, but they feel they are punch­ing the com­put­er key­board, where­as it’s the cal­cu­la­tors they are punch­ing still, the admin­is­tra­tion need to upgrade by inject­ing more youth in the admin­is­tra­tion.

As the Nation­al Coor­di­na­tor of Youth in Pol­i­tics Move­ment, why and what dif­fer­ence do you think you can make in the com­ing gen­er­al elec­tions?

The dif­fer­ence have start­ed already; we have been cre­at­ing aware­ness to the youth and cre­at­ing more jobs for them through skill acqui­si­tion, in this forth com­ing elec­tion you’ll find less of thug­gery and more of youth par­tic­i­pa­tion in pol­i­tics.

How would you rate the pre­pared­ness of INEC for 2019 

INEC are always ready to deliv­er weath­er good or bad, they will always tell you they are ready, but the truth is INEC have nev­er been pre­pared for any elec­tion in Nige­ria only selec­tion.

What is your plan and strat­e­gy to give the youths a voice in the com­ing gen­er­al elec­tions 2019

Our plan is to cre­ate greater aware­ness to the youth and tell the gov­ern­ment of the day that the youth are ready to take over, check it out you can see greater par­tic­i­pa­tion of the youth.

Is there a kind of Alliance or coali­tion among oth­er youth move­ment like yours in order to dis­lodge recy­cled and old lead­ers in the com­ing elec­tions?

There has been alliance already, it might not suc­ceed now but it must sure­ly suc­ceed, the alliance and the move­ment are not only to dis­lodge the recy­cled old leader but also to give the youth the oppor­tu­ni­ty to serve in oth­er capac­i­ty in gov­er­nance.

There have been talks about restruc­tur­ing, min­i­mum wage and ASUU strike, what is your per­cep­tion?

My per­cep­tion on all this is polit­i­cal, why is it just spring­ing up now, but also it’s the right of the cit­i­zen too to demand for there right, for me the gov­ern­ment have the capac­i­ty to pay 100 thou­sand naira min­i­mum wage, the leg­is­la­ture should also be place on min­i­mum wage and see if things will not work in Nige­ria.

What is your advice to the Youths on the upcom­ing gen­er­al elec­tions?

They can be the can­di­date not the thug.

Is there any oth­er angle we might not have touched that you wish to chip into?

The youth in pol­i­tics move­ment of Nige­ria are orga­niz­ing the biggest event in the his­to­ry of this coun­try, it’s the youth in pol­i­tics gala and award night, it’s the first of its kind, it is title POLITICS IS PEACE, this event will fos­ter uni­ty among all polit­i­cal par­ties before the elec­tion, so many peo­ple will be award­ed no mat­ter the par­ty you belong we want to tell all the sup­port­ers that pol­i­tics is peace. Thank you.

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