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Chinedu Eya: Youths and nightmares of ‘Not Too Young To Run’

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Just recently, and especially in the new media, our youths: the great, energetic and ebullient young politicians of Enugu State took to the social media to bamboozle online readers with the above political creed – ‘Youth O’ clock’. The youths who are mostly rail-roaded into believing the cliché above by the Youth Council of Nigeria, Enugu State chapter and other top youth bodies in the State are either neophytes, naive or ignorant of the song they chant without an end (No apologies).
Without mincing words, the youth bodies and its leaders who bandy the ideology overleaf are either government cronies, arm-chair politicians or government stooges. They have never, and would not anytime soon, test the real political hemisphere, atmosphere of the state, as they clearly depend on the crumbs that fall from the tables of government.
For the records, I contested for Enugu North Senatorial election of 2019, during which I garnered a wide range of experience on what is truly and sincerely obtainable out there as against the narrow range of experience open to the gullible (follow-follow) youths of the state, who are not ready to test the murky waters of the state putrid politics.
Now, hear this all time and timeless revelation of mine, garnered over the period of my senatorial bid.
When I ran for Enugu North Senatorial position as sole opposing contender to the incumbent Senator Chuka Utazi in the just concluded 2019 general elections in Enugu State, every day seemed and appeared endless to me as the daunting tasks billed and piled up as hurdles in my quest to engender qualitative, egalitarian and responsive representation to our ever constituents were daunting.
During such times, I remember how I had hid from the prying eyes of the public, so as to be saved from a possible mob or likely assailants, owing to the way our people perceive, go about politics and political positions. The experience I am about unveiling to you culminated in many nights of brainstorming and strategizing between my media aide, Solomon Gwiyi and myself, who from day one, shared the same view with me that the battle was a win-win for us, both in the primaries and the main electioneering exercise.
In our minds and in the hearts of many Enugu State indigenes and residents, Chinedu Eya was most favorite to cruise home in victory, as opinion polls indicated that we would carry the day, with the incumbent coming distant second, with a very long and wide landslide, should the election be free, fair and credible or anything near it.
That was our optimism and the propelling force behind the hurricane we engineered and superintendent over prior to the circumstances that led to my withdrawal which was personally spearheaded by the state’s helmsman, Rt. Hon. Dr. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, our executive governor. Nevertheless, I lasted for two years and half years in the contest, simply because I wanted to gain first hand experience while in the race.
Each of the days in the contest gulped me over N30,000 daily at home, just for hosting guests, which included well-wishers and party faithfuls. And then, I spent between N100,000 and N200,000 when I had public functions to attend, while I expended between N500,000 and N1,500,000 when I had to attend any function where the Governor would be in attendance.
To me, that was really an eye-opener and big insight into the shenanigans of our current day politics and its players and a major reason for their eventual unproductivity after ascension to power, as they would spend their tenancy in office, trying to recoup what they had invested during elections.
This, no doubt, remains the greatest undoing of our evolving democracy as it has become practically impossible for young and enterprising Nigerians to realize their ambitions of representing the downtrodden in the modern-day Eastern Nigerian politics. The privileged few who are currently in positions of authority as youths are people who got power willed to them on a platter of gold, no labour, no stress. And I refer to this group of leaders as ‘uncircumcised.’
Back to my tale and sojourn. While my struggle for Senate in 2019 lasted, and Enugu state being dominated by the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) at all levels, it dawned on me from realizations and counsels from close associates that I needed a nod from the state’s top man, Rt. Hon. Dr. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, who eventually gave his consent after several text messages to his phone numbers.
In his words while assuring me of his willingness to ensure equity and fairness in my quest to represent my zone at the Parliament, the helmsman assured me thus: ”carry on, I am the father of the state, you will see my strength in due season”. And then, my mind grew in glowing confidence, and my hard earned resources became the worst hit as I even ended up borrowing from banks as the case may be.
At the last minute when the expression of interest forms were open for aspirants to pick in the state, I had already been liquidated financially, with My Brother, Dr. Emeka Mamah coming to assist me with some funds, even when he had his own hands filled with his own election ahead, which seemed to him like a settled matter, owing to the fact that he was favorite to clinch the Reps ticket.
Not ready to budge as I had already staked a lot in my mission to represent my people at the Red Chambers, I clandestinely put one of my properties in Enugu metropolis on sale. And then, even took a Microfinance Loan to buy a nomination form. But gracefully, My brother Dr. Emeka Mamah had continually counseled me not to buy the nomination form until I got a green light from the Governor, which I adhered to and kept my fingers crossed until his call came eventually!
”Edu Boy! Thanks for your respect for me which is evident in all you do, I am with all the deciding actors in the state here, and here is our collective resolution – that your opponent, Sen. Chuka Utazi has suffered for so long for that seat. And relieving him of same, just after a tenure wouldn’t have been enough for his compensation in commensuration to his impute. My advice is that you allow him to return to the Senate and I will make sure you play a key role in my next administration.”
At this juncture, i was shattered and could only mutter one response to him: ”if you had told me this all this while, I wouldn’t have gone this far. But being a man I respect to a fault, I will take your opinion as my political father as final. Meanwhile, my own support in your ambition to be reelected as Governor of our dear state remains unquestionable, unwavering but I will have to give that behind the scene.” And he responded in acceptance.
Dear readers and my fellow youths, this is it.
However, while I would and will continue to support youth participation in politics, how many of our youths can afford and lavish N150million and above just like I did?
In all honesty, by the time I left my Senatorial race, I had spent over N150Million and was even owing banks about N28million which I have now repaid through a dint of my personal hard work.
Conclusion: My Sincere Prayer for Nigerian youths is that our contemporary leaders equip us with every leadership tenet or they will be leaving a desolate people without leadership behind.
This post is just a documentation of my personal experience and should not in any way be misconstrued, misinterpreted or misquoted by any quarter or mischief-makers!
Again, Shalom!
Chinedu Eya is a former Senatorial Aspirant, Enugu North Senatorial Zone, Enugu State.

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