Not too young to rule, but…

June 12, 2018 Nigeria , Opinion , OPINION/NEWS

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Prince Charles Dickson



You can’t stay young forever. But you can be immature for your entire life.



Life is tactfully in these four phases:


  1. You believe in Santa Claus.


  1. You don’t believe in Santa Claus.


  1. You are Santa Claus.


  1. You look like Santa Claus.




Let me start this admonition with the following story.



An elderly farmer in Florida had a large pond down by his fruit orchard. One evening he decided to go down to the pond and took a five-gallon bucket to pick some fruit.


As he neared the pond, he heard female voices shouting and laughing with glee. As he came closer he saw a bunch of young women skinny-dipping in the pond. He made the women aware of his presence and they all went to the deep end. One of the women shouted to him, ‘We’re not coming out until you leave!’


The old man thought for a second and said, ‘I didn’t come down here to watch you ladies swim or to make you get out of the pond naked.’


Holding the bucket up he said, ‘I’m here to feed the alligator!


Moral: Old men can still think fast.



Are the youths aware of what it takes to run for political office in Nigeria? Is the system and structure ready; are the youths themselves ready or are they pepper-souping, naija-betting and premier-leaguing?


A social media revolution is unfolding before our eyes, forever changing the way we connect. The young boys of Lagos preoccupied with their cell-phones; a young girl tweeting from a health-care clinic in Abakaliki; a young nurse taking notes on an iPad in Jos at the school of health. My 14-year-old son is on WhatsApp and chatted me the other day on Facebook Messenger.



Yet another story…



A couple in their nineties are both having problems remembering things. During a checkup, the doctor tells them that they’re physically okay, but they might want to start writing things down to help them remember.


Later that night, while watching TV, the old man gets up from his chair. ‘Want anything while I’m in the kitchen?’ he asks.


‘Will you get me a bowl of ice cream?’




‘Don’t you think you should write it down so you can remember it?’ she asks.


‘No, I can remember it.’


‘Well, I’d like some strawberries on top, too. Maybe you should write it down, so as not to forget it


He says, ‘I can remember that. You want a bowl of ice cream with strawberries.’


‘I’d also like whipped cream. I’m certain you’ll forget that, write it down.’ she says.


Irritated, he says, ‘I don’t need to write it down, I can remember it! Ice cream with strawberries and whipped cream – I got it, for goodness sake!’


Then he toddles into the kitchen. After about 20 minutes, the old man returns from the kitchen and hands his wife a plate of bacon and eggs. She stares at the plate for a moment.


‘Where’s my toast?’


Nothing enhances the good old days more than a poor memory.



When I X-ray the not-too-young to run bill that was recently passed into law and the politics of age there are several questions begging answers including this fact to the possibility that we are not even asking the right questions or have refused to provide the right answers. While I rejoice with our youths it is important to know if indeed this bill has asked the right question, does it solve the pertinent problems in our polity?


Our youths, do they have the financial muscle; can they wrestle the polity without an overhaul. Do they have the experience or they want to learn on the job?


Amidst these questions and fears I remain cautiously optimistic when I see the commitment of young people around the country. Over the next decade and beyond, if we are to solve the most pressing issues of our time, we need to tap into the dynamism of youth movements and young social entrepreneurs, for they have the potential to disrupt inertia and be the most creative forces for social change. We need to ask ourselves: if they are not too young to run are we not old to run, that being the case, how do we empower the youth to drive social progress in developing Nigeria through new and innovative projects?


Today’s youth sustain power in them to raise and cure the political, social and economic issues and bring the change they wish to see in the nation. The generations coming forth have the capabilities, ideas, strength, and knowledge to develop and implement innovations within all the sectors required for a balanced society. They are the roots of the economy on which a strong tree stands. An active and major participation could only unfold the hidden potential lying beneath the veils of stereotypes and prejudices.


At 25-35 the youths are all strong, free spirited and full of ideas, they believe in everything including Santa Claus…soon the same youthful persons are threading the lines of 35years-50 they start doubting all they once stood for, questioning the system and blaming everybody but themselves. They don’t believe in Santa Claus. As you celebrate your golden jubilee you are the problem, you the issue, you are Santa Claus; if the core of the young persons that have strived and believe that they deserve a chance in this dispensation don’t take charge, they soon will become Santa Claus.


Nigeria is currently governed by those that look like Santa Claus, they don’t know what they believe in, what the people believe and are incapable of any form of belief, they are…Not too young to rule, but…too old to say still. Is Nigeria ready…the youths are coming, are we prepared or is this another bill on a dust gathering journey—only time will tell.






Prince Charles Dickson

Currently Prince Charles, is based out of Jos, Plateau State, and conducts field research and investigations in the Middle Belt Region of Nigeria with an extensive reach out to the entire North and other parts. Prince Charles worked on projects for UN Women, Search for Common Ground, and International Crisis Group, among others. He is an alumnus of the University of Jos and the prestigious Humanitarian Academy at Harvard and Knight Center For Journalism, University of Texas at Austin. A doctoral candidate of Georgetown University

Born in Lagos State (South West Nigeria), Prince Charles is proud of his Nigerian roots. He is a Henry Luce Fellow, Ford Foundation grantee and is proficient in English, French, Yoruba Ibo and Hausa. Married with two boys, and a few dogs and birds.

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