Politics is a system that dictates who is in power and what they do with such powers. It is the center of Nigeria as it is today and what it would be in the future. Being informed on what goes on in the political sphere and how it affects you and everyone at large is what is termed political awareness.
Being politically aware means knowing yourself. Following up with current events allows you learn more about your stance on disputed issues. It is easy to fall into what others believe without thinking on your own. Following up with the news allows you to form your own opinions separate from the opinions of others and opens your mind to causes you did not realize you cared about in the first place.
How can you refuse getting involved with a system that affects you on a day-to-day basis? How can you be in denial of the reality in front of you? Reasons abound why you should be politically aware, especially if you are young. Understanding Nigeria politically will develop your values and beliefs as well as issues that translate into your own identity.
Contrary to popular belief, politics does not exclusively concern middle-aged men who read Newspapers and watch NTA news every day and argue with their peers on every political topic in poorly ironed suits; in fact, it is quite the opposite.
Saying political matters do not interest you serves as the foundation for a destructive mindset. For instance, #EndSARS and police brutality may not affect you directly, but it is certainly changing the very future of the people around you. Young and old people alike tend to follow this narrow path of political nonchalance. You try everything possible to avoid political discourses and erase politics from your immediate surroundings by curating your own Facebook feed, unfollowing people who tweet about Buhari and his disregard for court orders, listening in on radio programs for entertainment instead of programs like Office Of The Citizen that encourage citizens’ active participation in politics.
How many people know who their state and federal representatives are? Yet, there are online platforms like shineyoureye.org that provides contact details of elected officials. While this nonchalance may seem harmless at first, the truth of the matter is that pretending everything is okay does not make it disappear. In fact, it only serves to disrespect the people that are affected by the issues plaguing the country. To put it bluntly, people are being hurt, wronged, tormented, slaughtered, rejected and are facing heaps of injustices each day and you do not care? If you argue that a Nigeria without politics makes your life happily uncomplicated, then you are likely one of the lucky, unaffected few. Such a mindset is like sitting in your apartment in Lagos, sipping champagne while your neighbor’s apartment is being burgled but you watch it happen anyway because it is not your apartment; people are getting massacred in the north but you do not mind because it is not you or anyone you know that is affected. Politics not only keeps you accountable for yourself, it keeps you accountable for everyone else.
Ignorance is not bliss. It is the highest form of selfishness if we are being frank with ourselves. It is justified apathy. Understanding politics, harnessing the simple notion of caring about what’s going on in the country, is how human beings are able to feel for one another.
We have experienced a growing participation in politics by the youth but this progress is often diminished because there’s a larger population of young people who still shy away from being politically active. Older people love to believe that every youth is like this, and therefore, in their eyes, none of them have any substantial thoughts or ideas worth listening to. Changing this stereotype by attempting to engage yourself in politics is a great way to enforce the idea that young people are aware of what is going on in the world and they want to be a part of it. A majority of what occurs nationally and internationally affects their population directly, and everything enacted will be a part of their future.
To be active in politics is to be at the forefront, to witness and be a part of change as it happens, to be part of a greater whole you helped contribute a piece to. Saying you are not political isn’t only selfish, it is foolish.