Time and again, and especially since the ‘end’ of the endsars protest, the idea of the ‘youth’ taking leadership position has again bubbled to the top. But again, there is still the usual confusion about power transition. Now that I think about it, perhaps it comes from our practice of political syncretism, with governance of our spaces straddling traditional and Western models. Some appear to assume that it is a case of the King dying or abdicating for the prince to take the throne.
Whatever it is, I need to make this point again, at least, for those in the young generation genuinely invested in power attainment for collective good, but are beholden to the illusion of idealism. Power transition, at the top bracket, is hardly a linear arrangement, with power moves from one generation to the other. Power at the top hardly changes hand, in a democracy, through one generation holding down the other, as if it is a wrestling match, with the winner going with the belt.
Power transition usually takes place through a process of infusion and diffusion. That takes place largely at the bottom. It is a routine. It is an ongoing process. While celebrity-Activists and Social Media Politicians have been shouting themselves hoarse about power transiting to the ‘youth’, that has been taking place, at the bottom, for ages. Since 1999, most of those who have been elected at local government level, into the State Houses of Assembly and as Governors have been young, some barely 30, many less than 50.
Power transition, in a democracy, is not an orderly arrangement which sees to power changing hands, at the top, from one generation to the other. Even at the top, where many are fixated with, it ought to be noted that the youth will gravitate in a direction, not just on account of the contestant’s age, but on account of shared ideology, beliefs or interests. The same youth who rallied around Obama, with freshness, energy and oratorical power counting for him, shifted base in support of a 75 year old Bernie Sanders in the subsequent election cycle and even at 79, in spite of his age. It is not just about age.
It is amusing seeing people decreeing power transition across generational lines. It is a naive proposition, with no sound basis in logic or precedent. People will always move in whatever direction their interests are perceived to be best served or a sundry emotional reasons that have nothing to do with generational affiliation. Power hardly changes hands, in a democracy, by blackmail. Look around you, pay attention to what is happening at the local level, power transition is taking place within the system. Seek an understanding of the system you want to change. There is a lot happening, beyond the ‘noise’ on social media, especially at the bottom, at the retail level.