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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

2010: Nigerian youths drag IBB to Facebook


Last few weeks have been awash in Nigerian media with the verdict of former president Ibrahim Babangida on youth’s inability to take mantle of leadership. But they dragged IBB to social networking site, Facebook, with reactions, reports REMMY NWEKE.

FORMER military president of Nigeria, General Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida (IBB), was recently dragged to the most popular social networking website by some Nigerian youth who were simply not excited about his dream to aspire for the number one position again.

This is coming on the heels that the former military president and presidential aspirant on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), a fortnight ago reportedly declared his ambition to return to Aso Rock, due to what he perceived as lack of competent younger people to take over the mantle of leadership in the country.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) described youth as persons between the ages of 15 and 24, while the United Nations (UN) in its agenda for the youth recognizes it as those persons between the ages of 15 and 24 years, without prejudice to other definitions by Member States.

This definition was made during preparations for the International Youth Year (1985), and endorsed by the General Assembly (see A/36/215 and resolution 36/28, 1981). All United Nations statistics on youth are based on this definition, as illustrated by the annual yearbooks of statistics published by the United Nations system on demography, education, employment and health.

In some other instances, youth has been described as those from 19 to 40 years, especially in the religious.

However, these media reports, were largely an extract from IBB’s interview with the Hausa Service of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). Babangida was quoted as saying that his desire to return to Aso Rock was spurred by the signs that Nigerian youth were not able to lead the country.

“… So, we feel we should help them. May be, they are not given the proper education that is why. I have spent 17 years since I left office. But a country like Nigeria cannot be ruled by people without experience. People like the Obama that you are speaking about have the experience. He started from the State House of Assembly to the House of Representatives and to the Senate. If our youth are like this, we will say they have the requisite experience. But we have not reached that level. Honestly, it is our wish that God will bring the younger people that will take over from us if they are available,” he said.

He also exonerated his eight-year stint at the Presidency from promoting corruption, describing the level of corruption in the country then as a far cry from what obtains today.

As one would expect, Nigerian youths and those youth at heart dragged him to their world of cyberspace, especially social networking sites with the prime being Facebook, which has more than 400 million active users.

ITRealms Online gathered that Facebook has estimated 50 per cent of active users log on in any given day within average user having 130 friends, while people spend over 500 billion minutes per month on Facebook.

Equally as the case attracted literally ‘venom’ from Nigerian youth, they went on to some online advocacy against IBB including Campaign Against IBB for President 2011, which main course is politics. On this group’s description for instance, it read: “Enough of Soldier go, Soldier come, It’s time for fresh and new ideas to emerge and lead Nigeria and Nigerians, so we can attain our rightful place in Africa and the world. Babangida is not the answer to our problems.”

The group pointed out that IBB wanted to turn “Nigeria and Nigerian citizens into party of what him and his people own. We must stop these old thieves from ruining our dear country. No to IBB 2011,” creator of the campaign declared in the profile.

Another concerned youthful Nigerian, while responding doubted if IBB actually looked closely at the demography of Nigerian voters lately before making that comment, recalling that even Babangida himself became president in his 40s as well as Buhari.
“… Gowon became President in his 30s, Murtala also in his 30s, Obasanjo became resident in his 30s, even Ojukwu became President of his own faction of the country in his 30s. So, when they come to the present and want to tell us that it is impossible for Nigerians in their 30s or 40 to govern this country, I begin to believe they’ve gotten so old that their brain cells have all died off and they don’t recall reality,” one of the respondents wrote on his Facebook wall.

According to this respondent, “IBB could be suffering from amnesia, and we must NOT allow him to take charge over our affairs again. For me, this is not about youth against old age-after all how old was Ronald Reagan when he won the US presidential election? But the likes of IBB have messed up Nigeria and want to continue to mess it up. No, they won’t! We won’t let them!” he insisted.

In his reaction, the presidential candidate of the African Democratic Congress (ADC) in the 2007 election, Prof. Pat Utomi urged Nigerian youth who are certain that IBB comments on BBC recently undermined their intelligence to speak out, mostly in the area of incapable of leadership and poorly educated.

“Nigerian youths must stand up to those who have no confidence in them,” he said, maintaining that “If we want a better Nigeria we need to create it. It will not just happen. We should not be tied to our past, we need to be tied to our potential.”

He attributed comments such as the one by IBB to Nigerians high tolerance for
ineptitude, stressing that was why all manner of failed and recycled former leaders feel the urge to talk down on the youth and insult them instead of campaigning for their votes.

He counseled Nigerians, whether from North or South, to think back on their past sufferings and “if you do not want more of ... the same, stand up and say enough is enough, because 2011 is the make or break year.”

For Mr. Increase Frank, “no matter how tall an okro tree may be, it would be bent by its owner when the time for harvest comes,’’ he declared, saying that for IBB, he knows that the youth are out not just for anything but the right thing. He thinks that by making such a statement the youth would be afraid.

“Oh no, you have failed. We’re out this time and out for the good of our country,” Frank reiterated.

And for Nosa Ihama, he pleaded with Nigerian youth to control their anger because he was sure IBB would be frustrated by his party and even if he succeeds, he would not win come 2011, alleging that Babangida contributed to the difficulties Nigerians and mostly the youths are presently facing as a nation in his youthful days as military dictator for eight years.

“He definitely cannot do anything to remedy the situation in his present age. The youths of Nigeria possess the ability to right the wrongs ... ‘Nigerian Youth, Yes We Can’” Ihama declared. This much was corroborated by Geli Okobi, another FB enthusiast.

While some described IBB’s comment as crazy, others urged him on, saying that if he is ready for the battle, he can give it a trial, after all, he knows that there would be no light at the end of the tunnel for him, because it is the nation’s money he stole while in office for eight years that he wants to use for his campaign.

“IBB is a joker. He won’t run. Let just eat the money he stole from us. He knows that if he comes and doesn’t win in 2011, he is finish,” said Joe Stanley.

Another youth, Deji Dero, promised that Nigerian youth would wage war against IBB come 2011, noting that his comment on BBC connotes that he does not have hope even in his own children, who are also youth of this country.

In her submission, Menye Ify noted there are 25 Laws of Democracy and Law 5 was particular about seeking information consistently.

Therefore, she quoted Lai Labode saying in 25 Laws of Democracy: “In the multiple-faced character of politics in any democracy, an uninformed choice is a moral crime to self and any side of an electoral divide. Information is the oxygen of a truly free choice.”

ITRealms Online recalls that the chief executive officer of Connect Technologies and President, Institute of Software Practitioners of Nigeria (ISPON), Chief Chris Uwaje in one of his inserts in the recently launched e-Knowledge: Time is Running Out, stated while discussing challenges in globalization and information society, that it demands higher levels of efficiency in governance, economy and commerce since there is now only one global standard in ICT, which played out in this IBB saga.

This gross implication, he said is that globalization could essentially be viewed as a ‘global technology revenue basket’ where inventor participate by earning credits or consumer nations by paying debts, noting that whichever way one is service knowledge.

This goes to justify the Lai Labode’s theory for a lot more Nigerian youth in the 25 Laws of Democracy No. 5, which is crucial for the political class to stop undermining Nigerians, especially the youths at this information age, because the soldiers of new media would not stop at anything than to make their votes count.


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