Over the years with the emergence of social media we have had a tremendous change in the system which government operates and also information can easily be accessible from the use of our mobile devices other than the days of old where we can only access information from print media, television/satellite channels and radio stations with the government having little or no idea of how the people (youths & old persons) feel about their policies & system of government.
Government officials, agencies now have social media accounts which the general public can express their concerns by sharing their views, comments & suggestion using the various social media platforms like facebook, twitter, instagram and others.
Who are the youths? Just as the Nigerian youth policy (2009) defines youth as persons between 18-35 years. The youth charter declares that youth or young people shall refer to every person between the ages of 15 and 35 years while the United Nations defines youth as persons between the age of 15 and 24.
As youths we need to be very careful in our dealings with government affairs and issues concerned with the government. Remember the federal government is composed of three distinct branches; legislative, executive, and judicial, whose powers are vested by the constitution of Nigeria in the National Assembly, the President, and the federal courts, including the Supreme Court, respectively. So therefore if there are laws, activities, policies by these public servants which is not helping the people but rather making life unbearable, creating unemployment or whatever it may be that is not in any way beneficial to the people that needs to be changed, adjusted or completely removed the youths can play a major role by airing the views without fear using the various available social media platforms which will in turn bring about positive outcome to be benefited by us all been members of the community, state and country.
A good example of the impact of social media can be sighted in the 2017 twitter harsh tag “#EndSARS” which brought about public outcry and experiences people have had with the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (F SARS) and the call for it to be abolished. Many expressed the views and experiences on how they have been molested, beaten and robbed by the agency which is meant to protect them. Many said they were been searched on daily bases and dragged to ATMs to withdraw money as the they were tagged fraudsters known as yahoo yahoo meanwhile they are youths simply working as entrepreneurs, some graphic artiste, web designers and others involved in e-commerce and other businesses. The harsh tag brought about a protest which led to re-organization of the Anti-Robbery Squard (FSARS)
The bring back our girls harsh tag in 2014 also brought about the attention of the international communities all urging the government of Nigeria to bring back the girls who were kidnapped by the book haram terrorist group. The Nigerian government was forced to put more effort in tackling and fighting the terrorist group. Now that’s also the power of the social media.
Like we all know over 90% of our youths today use the social media, many use it for the wrong reasons, like fraud, promoting nudity and others but if the youths can deviate from such dubious and immoral activities and focus of goal driven activities that can bring about improvements in our daily lives and raising topics that will bring about making good government policies, decisions tackling unemployment, low power supply and other issues. Should there be a light Nigeria harsh tag or employ Nigeria hash tags today then I believe we would have a good and better country, but then we need to be serious about it for the government to work towards it.
The government can govern the people if they are well informed of the problems of the people so therefore we must lay our complains, comments and observations using the social media freely.
The 2019 elections is months away from today so I urge the youths to be careful in their dealings so they don’t make a wrong choice by supporting the wrong candidate. We should compare the past, previous and present government and be sure we are supporting the right candidate. We should run a background check on whoever we are supporting and not just only show support on social media but also come out and vote when the day comes.
Remember your views on social media can help change people’s opinion about others so the youths must try as much possible not to make mistakes. Other issues can be discussed on social media like health and others but then as we talking about youths and government we should vote for the right candidate.
Bello Shuaibu (@badmusbello)
Social Media Expert
Thank you for reading.