Benny Umoren is the Founder, Benny Umoren Foundation, a youth and women empowerment advocate, a social-political analyst. In this interview with CYRIACUS NNAJI, she spoke on what the youths must do to ensure that power returns to the younger generation, the way out of the current situation the country is facing. Excerpts:
How will you describe the current situation of our country?
Our country is currently experiencing serious crises that have distracted everyone of us, by paying attention to the multi-facet problems facing us. The rage across the country in the past weeks via #EndSARS protest, took all the onlookers aback. Nobody expected that our youths would ever develop such guts to face the men with armoury without shivering. This is commendable, and a win for the Soro Soke generation. Though, a lot of our heroes were allegedly killed by the Nigeria Army at the Lekki Tollgate protest ground, while they were holding the Nigerian flag and singing the National Anthem, they were never deterred. They remained strong and united in pursuit of one goal. The Nigerian voters that opted for Next level in the presidential election of 23rd February, 2019 could not have reckoned that their living conditions would be worse off just a year after.
Do you think that the protest will help to ensure good governance?
The oneness, the organization and the love Nigerian youth have shown during the protest gives one so much hope and shown the readiness of good governance if they giving the opportunity. No citizen deserves to be killed or live in distress or fear because of how he/she dresses or the phone and kind of car he or she uses. Nigerians are actually suffering yet go all out to be their own government by striving to survive irrespective of the hardship and to disrespect them and have them killed mercilessly should prick the heart of any human with a conscience.
How would you rate the current Administration?
It is no exaggeration to say that the current administration has failed the youth and also failed to keep the social contract they willingly entered into with the Nigerian people, which is one of the greatest calamities that has ever happened to Nigeria.
What is the best approach to have youths inclusive governance?
Some set of youths have resolved to form a new political party as alternative to the existing powers that be, in order to take charge of the government. However, it will be benefiting to make it known to our youths that forming an alternative political party, that will be dominated by the youth is not the way out of the quagmire Nigeria is facing as a country. Our youths need to know that we need a gate keeper who will ensure that, power shifted to their generation, and opens the gate of governance to them, by their inclusion in governance.
Who is the best candidate you believe that can open door for the youths?
The only person who can serve as a gate keeper, is someone who truly understands the feelings, yearnings and aspirations of the youth. I believe that someone like Atiku Abubakar can understand the demand of the youths. He is generally seen as a liberal-minded; and detribalized politician. He is an advocate of youth inclusiveness in government. For the interest of equity in Nigeria, to have a very cordial relationship with the youth and their inclusiveness in governance will help in ensuring a digital representation in a digital world, in order for Nigeria to achieve sustainable peace, unity and progress. It is very obvious that, many youths, are tired of the endless transition of power from one old politician to another, which has made the Nigerian economy to remain in a stagnant position in their hand, with little or nothing to show when it comes to development and job creation.
But Atiku has been in politics just like other old politicians, what different do you think that he will make?
His past record clearly showed that He just wanted an avenue and opportunity to use the modest resources of the nation to develop its infrastructure, provide security and excellent social amenities and also empower the youth and shift power to their generation.
If you are appointed in government today what will be your first project?
My first assignment will be job creation, because without the security of job, no country can have security, which means that without jobs, there is no future for the youth and for Nigeria.
But don’t you think that the youths want something new entirely?
It is my utmost belief that, our youths would work and align with anyone who is ready to build the bridge between the elites and the masses and shift power to our generation. A versatile politician in Nigeria at this point is what the youths need for the needed generational transition.