Before the month closed, I got an award from YALI Network, Oyo State.

I was at the event to speak on the future of politics and democracy in Nigeria.


There I shared my idea on the synthesis that is being generated in the wake of different movements springing up within the community of young people in Nigeria in response to leadership failure. We lost out at first, now the quake is being felt in different spheres of national life.

Even the historically retrogressive institutions are recalibrating.

The big parties are responding to the youthquake. The revolution is crystallising. Meanwhile, bright as the future might seem, we still have hard battles to fight. At the event, I shared my concerns about the categories of people who are rushing in to benefit from the effects of the youthquake. The idiots, as I call them, on one hand. The idiots are not necessarily mentally retarded. They are the unpatriotic, the cynical and the tribalist who see political participation as a means to acquire wealth. They do not care about community or country.

Their ambitions are self-serving, self-seeking, and selfish.

The danger is an idiot can emerge as president, governor, a political leader. The second category of people joining the race is the citizens.

They are the patriots, lovers of country, those who consider their country, and communities first and whose ambitions are defined by service to the people. Both groups are jostling for influence and power. The citizens have a nation to gain or lose.


As a citizen you should train yourself; wisdom [you cannot lead with an empty mind. You must seek to know], temperance [learn to treat others fairly even when they are wrong], justice, conscience, integrity [only unintelligent people rely on the theft of public funds to sustain themselves]. The citizens must organise. The children of darkness are organised, so they sometimes succeed.

The organisation is important to radical change. Finally, the citizens must not shy away from political participation. If you have a dream, you must work your way to power. Recognising this about half a century before Obama, the Civil Rights Movement formed a bloc within the Democratic Party with their eyes on reforms and ultimately the C-in-C. Although there is still much to be done, much was achieved with power.

The citizens must get involved. But we must not get lost.

Movements seeking systematic change must take on the beast.

“Female or male, the future is young and progressive.”

Thank you YALI Network, Oyo State for this invaluable recognition.


Ojo, Aderemi

Ibadan, Nigeria.




Ojo, Aderemi is a Historian, teacher, public speaker, writer, politician, and community organiser. He was trained at the University of Ibadan and was President of the Students Union.

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