“Calls for youth inclusiveness in nation building”
Rev. Fr. Obimma Emmanuel aka Ebube Muonso, is the Spiritual Director of the Holy Ghost Adoration Ministry, Uke, and the Parish Priest of the Blessed Iwene Tansi Parish, Umudioka, both in Anambra State. In this interview, he speaks on 2023 Igbo presidency, need for active participation of youths in political leadership, among other salient issues.
Recently, you gave a message titled: “You Shall be Lifted Up,” which centered on the need for Nigerian youths to be given the opportunity to showcase their potentials. Would you emphasise more on the topic?
Because of negative orchestrations in our country, Nigeria, which has negatively affected the future of our youths, I felt that the future of the Nigeria youths is bleak.
Considering what is happening in the political and economic scenes, it appears that future of the youths is bleak. This is because, at the political scene, one will only observe the recycling of old people, who have necessarily outlived their usefulness in politics. The message was an advice that the older generation of politicians should retire or give chance; so that the younger generation of Nigerians will make their own contributions.
The youthful age is the age of impart. The Nigerian youths have the energy to turn things around; the only hindrance is that they are not given the chance. In Nigeria, you can see the recycling of power from civilian rule to military rule, all dominated by older politicians. From the presidency to the least carder in politics are old people. Some politicians go to the senate, House of Representatives and the State Assemblies for as much as three times or more; while energetic, well educated and qualified youths are relegated to the background.
I advocate that a law should be put in place to give our youths the opportunity to serve their fatherland, by making their own contributions. The message is also an encouragement for the youths to be hopeful, because, there shall be an upliftment for them. Despite the denials, the future of the Nigerian youth is still bright. Again, I advocate for political revolution. Let there be a revolution. Let these old politicians retire and give way for the younger generation to showcase their talents and potentials. That is my opinion.
The youths are the workforce of any nation. They must work very hard to change the society for the better. Life does not get better by chance; it gets better by change, which comes through deliberate actions. I believe that the youths can change the face of Nigeria. What they need are visionary and selfless leaders with vision; leaders, who can sacrifice their time and resources to bring change to this country. Again, with regard to the present situation of Nigeria, I urge every Nigerian to be hopeful of a better tomorrow. Let the youths be futuristic. I also insist on the need for political revolution. As you can see, Nigeria is dormant and stagnant economically. The present crop of leaders in the country does not have what it takes to move the country forward. However, I foresee a change that will put smile in the faces of Nigerians. That is the summary of the message.
Many youths are poor due to lack of economic opportunities. How would you expect such category of citizens to overrun the political elites in order to bring the desired change?
Power belongs to the people. If the masses want a change, they can get it. That is why I said there is reason and need for a revolution. The revolution I mean is a situation where youths will come under one political umbrella, nominate a leader and tell the political elites and the entire Nigeria that it is either this man or no other person. This will also involve firm resolution of the youths, where they will decide that they are not going to collect money from anybody and sell their political vision. So, I will always advise them not to collect money and mortgage their future. Some youths are like the Biblical Esau, who could not see beyond his physical needs. Esau mortgaged his right because of yam portage. That is problem with some of our youths; they want immediate gain. So, in future elections, especially the 2023 general elections, Nigerian youths must be blunt. It is better they suffer a little while and enjoy forever. That is the attitude of those who have strong mindset to succeed. In 2023, they must not allow themselves to be used as political thugs; because, by so doing, they will be selling their collective future. I insist that the future of the Nigerian youth is presently in jeopardy. So, this time around, they must come up bold under an umbrella and make a declaration. Then again, hard work is very necessary. As a youth, anywhere you find yourself; see yourself as a world changer. Youths must have the mindset for victory.
As an Igboman and a charismatic leader, what is your view about 2023 Igbo presidency agitation?
My view is that if the rest of Nigerians will not allow Igboman to have a shot at the presidency in 2023, Ndigbo should go for any other option that will grant them a voice as a people who have right of self determination. Last time an Igboman was at the corridor of power was in 1983; about 40 years ago, when Dr. Alex Ekwueme was vice president to Ahaji Shehu Shagari. I see this as marginalization. For me, Nigeria should see 2023 as a year for the appeasement of the most marginalized people in the country, the Igbo. Agitations by the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, and similar organizations are as a result of Igbo marginalization. Igbo, as a group in Nigeria, does not receive its fair share. My worry, still, is that some Igbo elites, who are fortunate to find themselves at vantage political positions, fight for their personal gains, as against collective gain and interest of Igbo people. They are not helping the matter at all. They have settled as second class citizens in their own country, and they are comfortable with that. This is very wrong. As far as 2023 presidency is concerned, Igbo should stand on their feet and take action collectively. In 2023, Igbo people should take concerted action to end marginalization. Ohaneze Ndigbo must be seen to be representing Igbo people; not their personal interests. 2023 is a test case for the apex Igbo socio cultural group. Ohaneze must be the mouthpiece of the Igbo people in this regard.
Ohaneze Ndigbo has just elected new leadership under Prof. George Obiozor. What advice do you have for the apex Igbo organisation?
My candid advice is that the leadership of the new Ohaneze should be true mouthpiece of the people. They should be ready to be jailed because of Igbo interest. The new president must make himself true activist. Some of the past leaders failed to confront the ills in the society because; they would either have skeletons in their cuboids or might have interests to protect. Some of the past leaders, instead of working for Igbo interest, lobbied for political posts and federal contracts. That is not what a group like Ohaneze should be. The new president of Ohaneze and others under him must have a blend of action and reasoning in order to succeed. I also advise Ohaneze to come to a round table and present candidate for presidency. 2023 Igbo presidential project should be the target of the new Ohaneze leadership.
The Ohaneze leadership should also draw synergy with the north, the west and other parts of Nigeria, in order to make the vision fruitful. I also call on the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, to see reason in the Igbo agitation for president. The church should also wade into the issue. Our God is a just God; so, CAN should go for justice, and see to it that a people that have been marginalized for a long time receive justice.