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No one knows Nigeria’s real population – Osuntokun

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An Emeritus Professor of History and International Relations, Akinjide Osuntokun, has said it is perplexing that Nigeria has no accurate population figure.

Mr Osuntokun who was speaking as chairman at the book reading of Aisha Osori’s ‘Love Does Not Win Elections’ organised by the Ibandan School of Government and Public Policy, (ISGPP), on Friday evening, explained that there is need to have a discussion on Nigeria population so as to have a censor which would give the correct population of Nigerian citizens and electorates.

Mr Osuntokun said Nigeria’s population is being beefed up by migrants from neighbouring countries including, Niger, Cameroon, Benin Republic and others.

He further advised Nigerian youth to form parties that are ideologically focused which would be relevant and able to change the ineffectiveness of governance in Nigeria.

According to him the likes of PRP, NRC were all ideological parties which contributed immensely to the political development of the nation.

Mr Osuntokun encouraged young people that active presence on the social media would not win them the elections or change the current situation in the political arrangement of the country; but only their active participation in politics and elections will change the game.

While he condemned the running of government in the night he advised that government be run during the day to increase transparency.

Said he; “Young people should think of forming ideological parties that would bring the desired change. They should also understand that no amount of cyber presence, posts, tweets can win them elections.”

The book, ‘Love Does Not Win Elections’, chronicles the experiences of Aisha Osori, in her quest to secure her party’s ticket to contest an electoral position in the country. It details the build up to her conceiving and kick-starting her grassroots mobilisation for the ticket; her experience with political patrons, the question of indigeneity as regards her candidature, her efforts as an aspirant, the politics of delegates, the gender dimension of her campaign; and the intrigues that took place before during and after the party’s primary elections.

Referring to the book, ISGPP EVC, Tunji Olaopa said the conversation was able to x-ray the challenges faced by young people in navigating the political party space particularly in the face of the lack of internal democracy and electoral process driven by pecuniary considerations.

In her brief review of the book, Director, American Corner, Ibadan, Adefemi Bucknor-Arigbede said that the book detailed the problems, prospects and challenges of Nigeria’s electoral systems while adding that the political process has been superficially monetised.

“May be we should ask this question, are we rich enough to run for elections? Power wouldn’t be given to the young people just because they are young but would get it if there are values we are bringing to the table,” she said.

In his own account, Community manager, for sub-Saharan Africa, Global Voices, Nwachukwu Egbunike, said that Nigerian youth should understand that elections are not won by being active only on social media alone, but going to the field to actively participate.

“Nigerian youth should learn from the author who left her comfort zone to creatively disrupt the electoral process in Nigeria, this has to be done on the field, social media alone do not win elections. It is not by smart phones, twitter, facebook, we either participate or perish.”

Edem Ossai encouraged parents and guardians to also ensure that children are introduced in to politics from an early age, so that they can continue all through their lives. She explained that it is counterproductive when kids are raised basically into the corporate world, professional careers without ensuring that they understand the importance of politics as the major determinant of whatever happens to anyone and the generations to come.

While giving the vote of thanks, Olabode Lucas expressed displeasure concerning the low participation of women in politics, he encouraged Ms Osori, to link up with other women of like minds.

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