While many say (Nigerian) politics is dirty and some prefer to participate only via social media comments, Ahmad Abba Dangata is one of the few Nigerian youths determined to actively get involved ahead of the 2023 general elections.
Ahmad Abba Dangata, a 28-year-old student of Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria is contesting for the position of APC’s National Youth Leader.
In a Facebook post on Saturday, October 2, former Senate president Abubakar Bukola said: “Young people must decide to take ownership of the political process. You have the numbers to decide who leads you at every level… You also have the numbers to demand a seat at the decision-making table!”
Saraki can’t be more correct. Young Nigerians indeed have the numbers. They constitute the largest demographic in Nigeria, with over 56% of the population aged under 25 years, according to Stears Business.
Democracy being a game of numbers, the young Nigerians ought to have been the force to reckon with in the nation’s politics.
Sadly, they have over the years largely stayed away. One could say the fault is not entirely theirs. As Angela Ajodo-Adebanjoko wrote for the LSE, they “are too poor to run for political office”.
But are they poor to vote (for their preferred candidates)?
In a report by We Are Restless, Abideen Olasupo, executive director of the Brain Builders Youth Development Initiative, said research shows electoral violence is one of the key factors behind voter apathy in Nigeria.
Ironically, to install good governance and rid the nation of electoral violence, the youths need to actively participate.
Fortunately, as the nation moves closer to the 2023 general elections, there appears to be some ray of hope. Recently, a committee led by Saraki advised the PDP to waive nomination fees for youths interested in contesting political offices in 2023.
At the national convention of the PDP in October, Muhammed Suleiman, a 25-year-old, emerged as the national youth leader of the opposition party.
This was a significant shift from 2012 when the party’s national youth leader Malam Umar Garba Chiza was 60 years old and from 2014 when a 52-year-old Ibrahim Jalo emerged the APC’s youth leader.
Meanwhile, ahead of its national convention scheduled for February 2022, the ruling APC has pegged the 35-year age limit for those aspiring to be youth leaders.
Taking advantage of the development, Ahmad Abba Dangata has declared interest in becoming the ruling party’s national youth leader.
Who is Ahmad Abba Dangata?
Ahmad Abba Dangata, aged 28, was born in 1993 in Kore town, Garki local government area of Jigawa state in the northwest.
Dangata attended Kore Central Primary School in 2006 and Government Day Secondary School Majia in 2012.
He studied English and Geography at the College of Education, Gumel, Jigawa state after which he proceeded to the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria where he is currently studying English (Education).
Dangata who describes himself as “simple and socialist” says he “always does his best in serving humanity”.
Why aspiring to become APC’s national youth leader?
Dangata says it’s time Nigeria had “real youth” occupying “youth offices”, not “old men representing us as youth leaders.”
If he wins, the ABU student says he will do all his best to bring better youth representation, assist his peers in their “various needs” and “orient them on the importance of peace and unity”.
Part of his plans is also to bring the youth into politics that is devoid of “bitterness” and encourage them to contest for any position of their choice without fear “because the time is now.”
In short, Dangata says his key interest is to see positive changes in the representation of political offices/positions meant for the youths.
He notes that the emergence of Muhammed Suleiman as the PDP’s national youth leader is “very commendable”.
“This is very interesting indeed, and every youth in the country was very impressed by this,” Dangata tells Legit.ng.
How can APC attract more youths?
Dangata believes a viable way to do that is to create jobs for the youths.
With a touch of confidence and assurance, he says inclusiveness in governance and job creation will help the ruling party to attract more youths to its fold.
2023 presidency: the questions of age and zoning
Recently, former military head of state, Ibrahim Babangida, said that the next president of Nigeria should be in his 60s, among other factors.
Though Dangata wants the youth to participate more actively in politics, he does not agree with Babangida’s statement on age-limit.
On the argument on zoning, the APC national youth leader aspirant aligns with those who want the ruling party to zone its presidential ticket to the southern region.
He tells Legit.ng: “To me, I think the party should zone the presidential ticket to the south.”
Can APC retain the presidency after Buhari’s exit in 2023?
Dangata is optimistic that the APC will win the 2023 presidential election. However, he says the ruling party’s victory can only be guaranteed if it gives its ticket to a prominent and qualified candidate.
His words: “Yes, I think and sincerely believe that the APC will win in 2023. But that’s if the ticket was given to a prominent and qualified candidate.”