What Next After The Protest?- The Gatekeeper Strategy & Other Ideas - 2

In the first part, I gave a background and referred to the October 1945 Pan-African Congress which held in Manchester, United Kingdom exactly 75 years ago.
In this post, I want to propose a few thoughts on how to move ahead. I believe these are critical steps to be taken if we don’t want the gains of the protests to go into oblivion.
1. It’s Time For Political Engagement
You have echoed loudly but to make that transition into being a voice, you need political power. Real change can only happen through the ballot box.
You need to now channel your energy into either building your political platform or using the two largest platforms available.
Building your own political platform is a good idea but it requires a lot of work. It looks like an attractive option- I have seen many tweet about Youth Democratic Party- but it’s not going to be a cake walk at all.
Apart from registration which is the easiest part, the real work is in building the party structure and brand. You can see that from the myriads of parties in Nigeria. My fear is that 2023 is almost here.
Alternatively, you can make use of the two largest political platforms-APC and PDP. I know many of you don’t want to hear these names but the truth is that no other party has their reach in this country. They have structures in all the 774 Local Governments.
They have the brand recognition- even among illiterates. As far as I’m concerned, they are mere political platforms and there is nothing evil about them. The platform is not the problem but the people.
Join any party of your choice. Be a card- carrying member. Participate at ward meetings. Be visible. Contribute aggressively so you can be easily recognized. Put your nose to the grindstone too. Carry chairs and arrange tables. Drop that entitlement mentality.
You need to pay the price for power to get it. It involves sacrifice and a lot of hard work. The future will not be inherited-it will be earned.
Your motive is to ensure you become either a party delegate or you become a gatekeeper to your ward. That means you either influence your party at the ward level or influence your community. You know the function of a gatekeeper? He gives access or denies one.
As a gatekeeper, any politician that needs your ward will have to come through you. You then have the opportunity to influence the right choice. That’s the gatekeeper strategy.
You can form a critical mass or pressure groups in an existing political party. Set up accountability groups across local governments and states. Participate actively in the political process. Identify some young outliers and rally round them so as to get them to political office
Imagine if hundreds of thousands of young people become gatekeepers in their wards and consequently local governments! Imagine if more than half of a party’s delegates to a convention are young people who have become gatekeepers! They have the power to effect a real change.
Make no mistake about it- this is not a microwave solution. It’s going to be a journey.
2. Mobilize To Get Your Voters Cards & Turnout For Elections
What does it take to win elections? Numbers!! But having a huge number is useless without voters cards. Let me give you a few statistics:
In the 2019 Gubernatorial elections in Lagos, APC had 739,445 votes while PDP had 206,141 votes. Total valid votes were 958,032. That’s under a million. Compare to the number of #endsars protesters who turned out in Lagos alone. Lagos has a population of 20m people.
We can show the statistics of other states too and you’ll see how youth participation can be a game changer. Get your voter’s card. Your card is your power to effect change. Form advocacy groups to mobilize for this. You can even offer incentives to those who do so with proof.
Closely linked to this is election turnout.
Collecting your voters cards but not turning out for election is an anti-climax. In the 2019 Presidential elections, turnout was 34.75%. That means only 3 people actually voted out of every 10 people who registered.
In Lagos State, the turnout in the 2019 Gubernatorial election was 35.6%. The more recent Edo Guber election turnout was 24.3%. Ondo State 2020 election witnessed a turnout of 31.6%.
Voter turnout in our clime is low when you compare to other countries- 55% for the US, 95% in Malta, 61.2% in Spain, 76% in Israel and 82% in Belgium among others. Low voter turnout has consequences- one of which is that the votes represent just a small sample of the population.
Unfortunately, that small sample will decide what will happen for the next 4 years. Can you imagine if we can improve these figures to at least 50% in 2023? Most of the people that will form the new voter turnout percentage will be your generation.
Let your generation know that you can’t play football on the day of election until you have voted. You must mobilize heavily for this.

I will continue with my thoughts in Part 3.

Bayo Adeyinka

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Dear Young People,

Many of you are disillusioned right now. For some, hope has given way to despair. What you thought was an emerging light at the end of the tunnel now looks like a mirage.
You’re despondent because of the energy dissipated. It’s like a bad ending to a movie you thought was properly scripted. The violence the nation is now grappling with is an unfortunate turn of events and stands roundly condemned.
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