Nigerian Youth Are the Heroes of 2023 Presidential Election

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No matter which side of the political spectrum you find yourself on, it is impossible to deny that the youth of Nigeria emerged victorious in the presidential election held in 2023 in Nigeria. This group of resolute men and women has had enough of the corrupt politicians and structures that have for so long prevented Nigeria from realizing its full potential. They want to see change. They are genuine heroes who exemplify everything that is admirable about the moral audacity and spiritual psyche of the people of Nigeria.

Citizens who challenged politics as usual have joined forces with these young heroes. They are all working toward a common goal — a fundamental shift away from unethical political leadership and toward leadership that is based on ethics in politics.

As legal battles over who actually won the election continue, it is vitally important to recognize the historic statement made by the young people of Nigeria who spoke out against corruption and demanded an ethical election process. Their voices are heard over any attempt to subvert them, marking a movement toward progress that is unlike anything we’ve seen in Nigeria in the past three decades. It is time to celebrate the unyielding determination of these brave heroes to make Nigeria a better place for everyone. In the most populous nation on the African continent, a country with more than 200 million people, they have initiated a powerful movement toward an ethical election process and democracy.

It is not about the Labour Party or any other political party that the young people of Nigeria are organizing for change. Instead, it is a battle for the spiritual being of one of Africa’s most powerful nations. Because of this, it is more accurate to view the movement as an apolitical collective sentiment with the objective of electing credible people rather than money bags and political parties.

Our young people have accomplished in less than four months what decades of work and billions of naira spent on electoral reform were unable to accomplish. They have proven that continuing with business as usual is not acceptable, and they have dared to engage in political cronyism. They have made the time-honored maxim of Thomas Jefferson, which states that “power belongs to the people” rather than the self-proclaimed “political godfathers,” into a workable policy.

Our young people have shown that their moral principles are more important than receiving bribes, which is a direct response to the institutionalized forms of corruption that have contributed to Nigeria’s reputation as a questionable brand in the international community.

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The youth movement symbolizes an existential struggle for the beating heart of Nigeria, which is the largest economy in Africa. It is a fight for the purity of Nigerian culture as well as a just political order. Indeed, our younger generation should be commended for their bravery and unwavering dedication to the development of a brighter future for both themselves and their nation.

Since 1985, politicians in Nigeria have applied the lessons learned from the reckless corruption of some heads of state. As a result of this, the planting of seeds for a corrupt and decadent nation took center stage. Over the course of almost four decades, these rotten seeds were cultivated, cared for, and allowed to grow into a plague that infected every aspect of Nigerian society, from the corporate world to the public sector. It flourished to the point where it became a harvest of delight for political cronies who controlled the dominant one-party or two-party chase boards. Our national brand has become synonymous with corruption and simply a volatile market in the international community as each new decade has passed. This is due to the fact that our brand has gone from bad to worse as each decade has passed. But the politicians didn’t seem to care because they were content with the security provided by their bulging bank accounts. Meanwhile, their nearest neighbors were forced to forage for food in the gutters.

On the other hand, February 25, 2025 served as a watershed moment in the annals of Nigeria’s history. It evolved into the public manifesto for revolutionary change among Nigerian youth. Our generation is finally at the point where we can say “we are.” Because, as we learn from Wole Soyinka’s novel The Man Died (1972), remaining silent in the face of tyranny is the same as committing suicide for oneself, the time for silence has passed. The politicians in Nigeria have indulged themselves for far too long in the fallacy that “we aren’t.” They are so content in their self-constructed political ivory tower that they fail to acknowledge the fact that the landscape has shifted. They are unable to see clearly because corruption has eaten away at their moral sense of perception.

Our politically awakened young people are involved in more than just social media, contrary to the views that they hold. The younger generation is an unstoppable force for social and political transformation. They align themselves with leaders who play the card of honesty and integrity within the system, those who refuse to buy votes through violence or by bribing voters and election officials, and those who represent the collective will of the Nigerian people for real change. The Nigerian youth support politicians who run for office not because it is their turn or the turn of their family, ethnic group, tribe, or religion, but rather because they are capable of doing the job. Also, young people are champions for the people they choose to serve, not for those who steal their way into positions of power in the government.

Although he deserves credit for symbolizing authentic moral politics that Nigerian youth crave, Peter Obi is not the only factor contributing to the temperature for radical change in Nigeria. It is about the Nigerian people’s collective consciousness as well as their political will for a fresh start. The resilience of the Nigerian youth was on display throughout the election results on February 25, despite allegations of rigging coming from all directions. They showed that they can be found everywhere. They can be hushed by no one. They won’t give up until the corrupt political system in Nigeria has been completely overhauled.

In the fight against tribalism, religious bigotry, and ethnic discrimination in our body politic, the young people of Nigeria have established themselves as a formidable force. Their ability to see through the dishonest strategies used by candidates vying for regional supremacy and power is admirable and worthy of praise. They have shown their dedication to democracy by voting across regional lines despite the fact that doing so puts their lives in danger. They will contribute significantly to the movement. if they refuse any attempt by the political establishment to turn their work into a conflict along regional, ethnic, tribal, religious, or sectarian lines, then.

 

The younger generation in Nigeria has demonstrated that they have an impressive level of technological literacy. In order to maintain the credibility of the elections, it is imperative that the Independent National Electoral Commission conduct a digital forensic investigation of both their Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) as well as their Election Result Viewing Portal (IReV) (INEC). It is not hard to accomplish at all. If INEC is truly independent, then its officials need to demonstrate that. INEC needs to acknowledge this fact and take the appropriate steps to protect the integrity of the voting process.

 

In light of these recent events, it is only appropriate to extend my congratulations to the young people of Nigeria for their tenacity and unflinching dedication to the cause of freedom. The moral apathy of corrupt politicians is in stark contrast to their own unwavering commitment to morality. The courageous pursuit of justice by the young people is a ray of hope for all Nigerians who long for a different kind of society.

 

In light of the fact that we have positive expectations for Nigeria’s future, carrying on with business as usual is no longer an option. The bold, moral, ethical, proud, audacious, and credible young people of Nigeria have emerged as a formidable force in the fight against institutionalized corruption.

 

Assistant Professor of Communication (Digital Media) at John Carroll University, Emelu is a member of the Tim Russert Department of Communication at John Carroll University in the United States.

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