Stephanie Frappart became the first woman to referee a men’s Champions League game on Wednesday as Cristiano Ronaldo scored his 750th career goal in a 3-0 win for Juventus over Dynamo Kiev.
The 36-year-old Frappart has already made history as the first woman to referee in Ligue 1, and took charge of the 2019 UEFA Super Cup final between Liverpool and Chelsea. She also made her Europa League debut in October.
“Another barrier has been broken down, we know that she is very good, which is the most important and fundamental thing,” Juventus chief football officer Fabio Paratici said before the game of Frappart.
The Italian champions were already through to the last 16, along with Group G leaders Barcelona, but can still pip the Spaniards to the top spot, sitting three points behind them ahead of their trip to the Camp Nou next Tuesday.
“We’re ready for Barcelona,” said Juventus coach Andrea Pirlo, whose side lost 2-0 to Barca in Turin, a game Ronaldo missed with coronavirus.
“These are games that change the season in terms of self-esteem and we will go there to win.
“But first there’s the (Turin) derby and we need to focus on the league. Even if we are qualified, it’s important not only for the classification but for our progress.
“But I’m satisfied with the game and the approach of the guys. I’m young and I know I have to improve like my players, but I go on with my work.”
Juventus had few problems on the pitch against the Ukrainians who they had also beaten 2-0 in Kiev on October 20.
Federico Chiesa inspired the victory, scoring the opening goal on 21 minutes before helping Ronaldo and Alvaro Morata add two more in the second half.
Dynamo goalkeeper Georgiy Bushchan kept out a Weston McKennie header on 17 minutes.
But five minutes later, ex-Fiorentina midfielder Chiesa got his head to an Alex Sandro cross to beat Bushchan for his first goal since joining Juventus two months ago.
Ronaldo hit the woodwork after half an hour, with Buschan also denying the Portuguese star early in the second half.
The visitors had few chances but Wojciech Szczesny did well to prevent Viktor Tsygankov from scoring an equaliser before the break.
Just before the hour mark, Italy’s Chiesa powered down the right-wing before sending in a low cross for Morata which Bushchan pushed into the path of Ronaldo to tap in from close range.
The 35-year-old extended his Champions League record to 132 goals in the competition and brought his tally for club and country to 750 goals.
Chiesa was again involved in the third goal with 25 minutes remaining, picking out the run of Morata, who took three touches before firing in his sixth Champions League goal of the season, having also scored a brace in Ukraine.
Over 15 per cent of AIDS-related deaths in children and adolescents globally occur in Nigeria, a report by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has shown.
According to the report released to mark the 2020 World AIDS Day, approximately every minute and 40 seconds, a child or young person under the age of 20 was newly infected with HIV in 2019.
These amounts to 2.8 million children living with HIV globally.
The report shows that in Nigeria alone, about 22,000 new infections occurred in children aged 0-14 years in 2019.
It noted that efforts and treatment for children remain some of the lowest amongst key affected populations.
“In 2019, a little more than half of children worldwide had access to life-saving treatment, significantly lagging behind coverage for both mothers (85 per cent) and all adults living with HIV (62 per cent).
“Nearly 110,000 children died of AIDS that year. In Nigeria, 13,000 children aged 0-14 years died of AIDS-related causes in 2019.”
World AIDS Day is marked on December 1 annually to honour the many lives lost from the disease as well as the people living with HIV.
The day is also celebrated to raise awareness about the disease and the need to know one’s status through HIV testing.
The theme for the 2020 World AIDS Day is ‘Global solidarity, shared responsibility’. Nigeria, however, joins the commemoration with a localised theme ‘United to End AIDS in the midst of COVID-19’.
The report warns that children are being left behind in the fight against HIV, adding that COVID-19 contributed to disruptions to HIV services delivery in one-third of high burden countries.
“The world is still struggling with the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic, but there is now hope for a vaccine. But we must remember that there is no vaccine for HIV,” said Peter Hawkins, UNICEF Nigeria Representative.
He said hundreds of thousands of children continue to suffer the impact of the HIV epidemic.
“Children are still getting infected at alarming rates, and they are still dying from AIDS. Even with improvements in recent years, HIV treatment access for children and adolescents is unacceptably low, and much more needs to be done to ensure children get the treatment they need and deserve,” he said.
The COVID-19 pandemic has interrupted vital HIV treatment and prevention services globally, putting countless more lives at risk.
Almost 9 out of 10 children and adolescents of the estimated 2.8 million children aged 0–19 living with HIV are in sub-Saharan Africa, according to the report.
Leaving no one behind
Speaking at an event to mark World AIDS Day, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, said the government is committed to ensuring no one is left behind in the fight against the AIDS epidemic.
He said Nigeria as a country aligns fully with the global solidarity and shared responsibility, which requires the country to view global health responses, including the AIDS response, in a new way.ADVERTISEMENT
In his remarks, the World Health Organisation (WHO) Country Representative, Walter Mulombo, said the fight against AIDS is a responsibility shared by the government and the people.
“Today is very significant because it’s a reminder that the fight against AIDS is everybody’s business.
“The government of Nigeria has committed additional funding to allow 50,000 more people access HIV treatment yearly.
“But the people need to come out to get tested to know their status so that they can access treatment,” he said.
Meeting 2030 AIDS target
The National Coordinator, Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS in Nigeria, Abdulkadir Ibrahim, said there is a need to close the access gap amongst people living with HIV if the world is to eradicate AIDS by 2030.
He said closing the gap means empowering and enabling people to access the services they need, and most importantly putting the patient community at the centre of HIV interventions.
“Ending AIDS epidemic by 2030 is possible, but only by closing the gap between people who have access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support services and people who are being left behind,” he said.
Olivier Giroud scored four goals as Chelsea romped to an impressive 4-0 victory at Sevilla on Wednesday to secure top spot in Champions League Group E.
The 34-year-old striker is the oldest player to score a hat-trick in the competition since Hungarian great Ferenc Puskas in 1965 for Real Madrid against Feyenoord.
He is also the first player to net four times in a Champions League match since Cristiano Ronaldo against Malmo five years ago.
“Amazing solo performance from Olivier. Delighted with him, delighted with the team. This is a difficult place to come,” Chelsea manager Frank Lampard, the last Chelsea player to score four goals in a game against Aston Villa in 2010, told BT Sport.
“I didn’t know until two years ago that you called it a perfect hat-trick when I scored (a treble) against (Dynamo) Kiev in (the) Europa League, I said ‘What do you mean?’ It was good, I had good assists though,” Giroud said.
“I will try to carry on like that — to finish the good job of the team and it’s always nice to be in the club history and we play football to mark our history, so I’m pleased to help the team to win and to score the four goals.”
The France international sent out a message to Lampard, with Timo Werner and Tammy Abraham seemingly above him in the pecking order, by making the absolute most of only his second start of the season.
“Let me enjoy the night and that great win and after that we will rest and we will see what the gaffer’s plan is,” Giroud said when asked if he was now expecting to start against Leeds United in the Premier League on Saturday.
Lampard will now be able to rest players for the final group game against Krasnodar at Stamford Bridge, with his side looking to improve on last season’s run to the last 16, where they were well beaten by eventual winners Bayern Munich.
Giroud wasted little time in putting Chelsea ahead, collecting Kai Havertz’s clever pass before cutting inside and bending a fine finish into the far corner in the eighth minute.
Sevilla were left frustrated as they saw two penalty appeals for handball turned down.
In the 20th minute, claims that Christian Pulisic handled were waved away by referee Artur Soares Dias after he checked the pitchside monitor.
The hosts had another penalty shout turned down following a lengthy VAR delay after an Ivan Rakitic free-kick struck the Chelsea wall.
Aside from those nervy moments, Lampard’s Blues were the more threatening, with Antonio Rudiger seeing a header cleared off the line before Alfonso Pastor kept out Pulisic’s low drive.
The home side started the second half brightly, as Jesus Navas picked out Nemanja Gudelj with a clever pass, but the Serbian international fired narrowly over.
Chelsea doubled their advantage in the 54th minute, though, as Giroud boosted his case for more game time further by latching onto Mateo Kovacic’s pass and clipping the ball over the Sevilla goalkeeper.
But he was not finished there, completing his first Champions League hat-trick since a treble against Olympiakos for Arsenal in 2015 with a looping header from N’Golo Kante’s cross.
Giroud rounded off a virtuoso display from the spot with seven minutes to play, scoring a spot-kick he had won himself.
For more than two decades, I hated myself. I had literally no selfesteem and I loathed the way I looked. Then, in my mid 20s I decided to try to change how I viewed myself. It has taken a lot of time to even begin to like myself.
In my early 30s I became pregnant and I gave birth to my first, and then my second child. The experience of being pregnant, and give birth, taught me how magical, capable and wonderful the female body truly is. These experiences changed how I viewed my body, and after I had given birth, I began to truly love my body. It really became my temple that I honored. I became proud of my body, how healthy, fit and strong it is.
However, in our modern society – being proud of your own body is not something that everyone approves of. Especially not…
“Everyone who listens to my words and acts on them will be like the wise person who built his house on rock” (Matt 7:24).
Isa 26:1-6; Matt 7:21, 24-27
Jesus’ command to his disciples to take the Gospel to “the ends of the earth” has had special appeal for some saints. St. Paul was eager to go to Spain. St. Francis Xavier, whose feast we commemorate today, was eager to go to China after his exhausting ministry in India. St. Frances Xavier Cabrini, named after Francis Xavier, asked Pope Leo XIII to send her and her sisters to China, but he sent her to the United States instead to care for the flood of Italian immigrants arriving here. Pope Francis hoped to be sent by his Jesuit superiors as a missionary to Asia, but God had other plans for him.
The idealism and enthusiasm that moves some saints to want to “go the distance,” taking on hardships and the total reorientation of their home culture and identity, must be well grounded to succeed. Many have felt drawn by the romance of travel and the chance to serve in far away places, but when the novelty wears off the real cost is apparent. In today’s Gospel, Jesus tells his disciples that listening to his words is not enough. They must also put them into action. The familiar parable about building a house on rock instead of sand makes the point.
Advent is a short season of preparation, but it reminds us that our lives as Christians are a long-haul pilgrimage that requires constant renewal and fresh motivation to us keep going. We need to be well grounded. Wherever we are in our pilgrimage, early or late, the call to listen to the Word is always fresh and intimate. “Going the distance” may be doing what we have been doing all along, or it may be to take the next step in a continuum of discernment that leads to something new.
We are blessed with God’s Word during Advent. Listening to it prayerfully and reflecting on it with ears alert to act on it will lay a strong foundation for each day. Then, when the winds rise and the storms come, we will be grounded in faith and ready to live the message we have heard.
James 3:14–4:12 also employs the paired principles of dependence on God and service to others in need. As usual, James puts them in reverse order, discussing service first and trust later. In this case, James starts with an admonition against selfish ambition, followed by an exhortation to submit to God.
Selfish ambition is the opposite of serving the needs of others. The passage is aptly summarized by James 3:16: “For where there is envy and selfish ambition, there will also be disorder and wickedness of every kind.” James highlights a particular practice that overcomes selfish ambition: peacemaking. “A harvest of righteousness is sown in peace for those who make peace” (James 3:18). In typical fashion, he alludes to a workplace—grain harvesting in this case—to make his point. He names several elements of peacemaking: grieving for the harm we do others (James 4:9), humbling ourselves (James 4:10), refraining from slander, accusation, and judgment (James 4:11), and mercy and sincerity (James 3:17). All of these can and should be employed by Christians in the workplace.
Selfish Ambition Is Overcome by Submission to God (James 4:2–5)
Selfish ambition causes quarrels and fights within the Christian community, and James says the underlying cause is their failure to depend on God. “You covet something and cannot obtain it; so you engage in disputes and conflicts. You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, in order to spend what you get on your pleasures” (James 4:2–3). We fail to depend on God when we don’t even ask him for what we need. Interestingly, the reason we don’t depend on God is because we want to serve our own pleasures rather than serving others. This wraps the two principles into an integral unit. James states this metaphorically as an adulterous love affair with the world, by which he means the wealth and pleasure we are tempted to believe we can find in the world without God (James 4:4–5).
Now that we are into the realities of teaching in a COVID-world, I keep hearing similar sentiments from my colleagues, something to the effect of, “It’s going fine, but I don’t feel like a good teacher anymore.” What I hear in these statements is not a bad teacher but one who has lost confidence in their teaching. Whether teaching fully online, a hybrid model, or in-person with social distancing requirements, everyone has had to make changes to the way they teach. The pedagogical style and practices that we previously relied on are either no longer an option or are not as effective given the current constraints. So, we have adapted, learned the technology, and made necessary adjustments. We’re doing it, but we don’t feel like we’re doing it well. We’ve lost our confidence, and thus feel like we’re not good teachers anymore. The good news is that we don’t have to wait for teaching to return to “normal” to feel like good teachers again. We can start to feel confident again by building self-efficacy in our own online or hybrid teaching.
Self-efficacy refers to one’s confidence in their ability to perform a task (Bandura, 1977). Self-efficacy is situation specific, so while we may have high self-efficacy when it comes to traditional pedagogical methods, we can have equally low self-efficacy for online or hybrid teaching. Our individual assessment of our competence to teach, and our confidence to overcome the barriers to doing so, represents our self-efficacy for new teaching styles. While faculty have all shown that they can teach online or hybrid, we don’t necessarily feel confident that we’re doing it well.
Bandura’s self-efficacy theory suggests there are four major sources for building confidence to perform and persevere at a task: mastery experience, vicarious experience, verbal persuasion, and emotional arousal. Based on these sources of self-efficacy, there are a few practical strategies that faculty can use to build confidence and competence for online or hybrid teaching.
Succeeding at specific tasks can boost our self-confidence and likelihood of achieving success at similar tasks. In other words, small changes can ultimately lead to big victories. This requires setting realistic, achievable goals and practicing resilience in the face of failures. Instead of trying every new technological strategy or feature that is available, try just one at a time. Today you might try to use Zoom breakout rooms. Make it a small part of class so that if it flops, the entire class doesn’t have to be scrapped. It may take you one or five class periods to achieve complete success with breakout rooms, but once you do, it can be fully integrated into your class and you can build on that success to try something else. Perhaps you can start to integrate Google docs into the breakout rooms, add a poll, or try a new application all together.
With each small success you achieve a mastery experience that builds your confidence, until eventually, you feel totally competent and confident using a variety of technology-based teaching methods. You may experience failures along the way, but by setting reasonable goals, those small challenges do not ruin an entire class. Instead of becoming overwhelmed and feeling pressure to try every new app or technique that is suggested to improve online teaching, we should take them as ideas and try to integrate them little bits at a time. Select one new thing that will best fit your class or your style and try it for a week or two before adding another new element.
Vicarious experiences and verbal persuasion
Perhaps now more than ever it is important to give support and receive support from our colleagues. Faculty can build their confidence to try new things in the classroom when they learn and see other people succeed, and when they are encouraged by others. If you’re thinking about trying something new, there is probably another faculty member on campus who has already tried it before you. Network with other faculty, talk to them, learn from them, and take encouragement from them. Observing successes and receiving genuine verbal encouragement can help boost our own internal confidence reserves. So, make time to connect with each other and be intentional about sharing your successes, not just commiserating about your challenges.
Our own mental state impacts the way we respond to and perceive our sense of self. Bandura (1977) states that “high arousal usually debilitates performance.” When we are feeling mentally distressed about the circumstances surrounding our teaching, it is more difficult to stay positive and confident about how we are performing in the virtual classroom. It is important to practice self-care so that we can remain physically and emotionally healthy, which will help increase optimism and positivity about our own teaching experiences. Resilience when learning a new pedagogical method is critical and is easier to maintain when fear and self-doubt are not dominating thoughts. Taking a mindful minute before each class, practicing a personal favorite stress management technique, or sharing our concerns with trusted colleagues can help balance our emotional arousal and should be made a priority.
Although I am not a gymnast, I once did a cartwheel in front of my class. I was trying to teach the concept of self-efficacy and thought this would be an effective method for illustrating the concept. I’m not sure what made me brave enough to do it, but I do know I was taking a risk of, quite literally, falling on my face. Now, a decade later, it feels like we’re doing mental gymnastics in class every day as we struggle to adapt to new teaching environments and pedagogical constraints. Every day feels like a risk as we try new technological modalities and instructional styles. And just as much as I lacked confidence in my ability to do a cartwheel, many faculty lack confidence in their ability to teach effectively in an online or hybrid environment. Yet, we are all taking the risk, and most days we don’t fall on our faces, but we also don’t feel very graceful. Despite our self-doubt and stumbles, we can learn to thrive in this new teaching environment and use the self-efficacy theory to offer practical guidance to help us get there.
One of the biggest mistakes I’ve seen leaders make is forgetting everyone doesn’t think like the leader. To lead well, I need to hear from different people.
I have personally made the mistake of assuming what we are thinking is what everyone else is thinking.
Time has proven this to be wrong repeatedly.
The fact is people are different. They think differently. They have different desires. Thankfully – many times – they have different ideas. The way they process and share those ideas are different from the leader.
This can be frustrating, but it can also be extremely helpful, because if the organization is limited to my abilities it is going to be very limited.
So, if you recognize the need and want to hear from different people – and you should – you’ll often have to lead differently from how you wish to be led.
When you fail to remember this principle of leadership – people are different – you frustrate those you are trying to lead. You get poor performance from the best leaders on your team and, worst of all, your team fails to live up to its potential.
Here are some thoughts to warrant against this and hear from different people:
(I am using the word “I” a lot here. I don’t really like the term much, because I think better leadership is a we. But I want you to see how I am being intentional in this area, so I provide a few practical examples.)
This is more of a personal attitude. I have to actually want to hear from people on my team – even the kind of information which hurts to hear initially. I personally want any team I lead to feel comfortable walking into my office and challenge my decisions.
Granted, I want to receive respect too, but I expect to equally give respect. Knowing what my team really thinks empowers me to lead them better.
Intentionally surround yourself with diverse personalities.
One intentional thing I do is try to have good friends who stretch me as a person – even outside or my work. I have some extremely extroverted friends, for example. They remind me everyone isn’t introverted like me. One of my closest friends is a different race from me. I learn so much from him.
Building my comfort with this in my personal life helps me welcome it even more in my professional life. We will all share a common vision, but we should have some unique approaches to implementing it. Ask yourself, “Have I surrounded myself with people who think just like me?”
Ask great questions.
And ask lots of them. Personally, I love to ask questions. I give plenty of opportunity for input into major decisions before a decision is final. We do assessments as a team. I invite different people to staff meetings to hear from different voices. Periodically, I set up focus groups of people for input on various issues.
I want to hear from as wide a range of people as possible and try to consistently surround myself with different voices, so I receive diversity of thought. A personal value is hearing from people who I know respect me, but are not afraid to be honest with me.
Never assume agreement by silence.
This is huge. I want to know, as best as I can – not only what people are saying, but what people are really thinking. To accomplish this I periodically allow and welcome anonymous feedback. I realize, just because of position, and partly because of personalities, some are not going to be totally transparent with me.
I try to provide multiple ways for feedback. Even during meetings, I welcome texting or emailing me (depending on the size and structure of the meeting) during the meeting. I’ve found this approach works better for some who may not provide their voice otherwise.
Structure for expression of thought.
This refers to the DNA – the culture – for the entire team. And it is very important. There has to be an environment with all leaders which encourages people to think for themselves. This kind of culture doesn’t happen without intentionality.
As a leader, I try to surround myself with people sharper than me, but I want all of us to have the same attitude towards this principle of hearing from others. I believe in the power of “WE”. If we want to take advantage of the experience and talents in our church, we have to get out of the way, listen, and follow others lead when appropriate.
It’s not easy being a leader, but it is more manageable when you discipline yourself to allow others to help you lead.
MANY decades hence, memories of the youths’ October protests, tagged #EndSARS, and the rage that came on its heels would continue to haunt Nigerian leaders. Not only for its smooth handling and coordination by the organisers but by the massive looting and destruction of properties that followed when the government mishandled its containment.
It has been insinuated that some agents of government were complicit in the violence unleashed on the peaceful protesters. Thus, one of the first lessons for the youths who are trying to reclaim Nigeria from those at the helm of affairs at present is that their mission is not a tea party. Those who have been running and ruining the country are not about ducking under their wives’ beds because some youths are angry.
While many of our leaders are shivering and foaming in the mouth at the development, not a few patriots are heaving sighs of relief as to the dawn of a new era. For, while police brutality and extrajudicial killings were the issues that ignited the protests, it quickly evolved into a larger agenda. An end to chronic unemployment, poor funding of education and health sectors, obscene salaries and allowances of political office holders, poverty in the midst of plenty, rampant inequality and mindless corruption. Many concerned Nigerians have cried themselves hoarse highlighting these salient issues in the past.
In private conversations with some of my professional colleagues in the last few years on the Nigerian Question, the wonder has been how did Nigeria journey its way back into the wilderness, the political jungle we are in today.
At the dawn of civil rule in 1999, there was hope writ large on the political landscape. The 15-year period, 1984-1999, was a nightmare for millions of Nigerians. And understandably for many journalists, it was no less so.
Last May 29 made it exactly 21 years into democratic rule when Nigerians retired the military to their barracks. Alas, many thought that with their exit, the years of the locusts had ended. How wrong we were.
A new army of invaders took over the helm of affairs from the locusts who had laid the socio-economic and political landscape bare. And the patriots who might have made a difference were side-lined. Since 1999, the nation has been blessed (or is it cursed) with politicians at all levels of government who are nothing but parasites. Those who claim to serve Nigerians have behaved like a neo-colonial army who have nothing to lose. What with their greed and arrogance.
They have behaved like vultures, perching in their multitude on the commonwealth recklessly gorging themselves, giving free rein to their insatiable appetite. The political class’s total indifference to the suffering of millions of Nigerians is at the heart of the youths’ October revolt.
As the young men and women ruminate over the goodwill harvested from the protests, they must realise that going forward is not going to be a tea party. The rapacious and clueless politicians exploiting the nation are too well entrenched with their tentacles sunk deep into the nation’s treasuries. Thus, so used to filthy lucre, which comes to them with little or no sweat, they are not about to loosen their vice grip. Advertisement
So, going forward, how do the youths “move Naija” into a new dawn? Although the streets of the cities and towns that bore the brunt of the youth rage in October are now free of protesters, the disquiet is not over. The genuine protesters are saying government has not done anything about their five-point demand. They include the release of all those arrested in the course of the protest; justice and compensation for the victims and families of police brutality; setting up an independent body to investigate all cases of police misconduct; carrying out a psychological evaluation and retraining of all disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad operatives before redeployment; and above all better conditions of service for men and women of the police force.
And the Youth Rights Campaign, YRC, served notice at a recent press conference that because of this perceived lethargy on the part of government in addressing the issues urgently, the youths might be heading back to the streets shortly. The members are saying the struggle to reclaim Nigeria has become a do-or-die affair.
Considering the losses in both lives and properties to the rage in October, not many Nigerians would be amused. The Lagos State police command has asked the youths not to embark on fresh protests. Even an attempt by the #EndSARS promoters to meet and discuss the issues and lessons of the protests at the Africa Shrine in Lagos was aborted by the police. The authorities are riding on the wave of the public’s incredulity at the massive loss of lives and properties that ended the protests on a tragic note. In a society where transparency is anathema, various figures have been bandied as to the number of people killed in not only the “Lekki Massacre” but at several flash-points.
Many of the wounded, with bullets still lodged in their bodies, are believed to have been left to their fate. A Premium Times report said some of them were hurriedly discharged from the private hospitals treating them because of intimidation by the Lagos State government. The bank accounts of some of the youths regarded as the promoters have been frozen by the federal government. As the epicentre of the protests, the authorities in Lagos State are still trying to come to grip with the massive damage to both public and private properties, estimated to be worth over a trillion Naira. The state has set up a Lagos Rebuilding Trust Fund.
Therefore, against the backdrop of the tragic note on which the protests ended, what next for the #EndSARS Movement? Although the Movement comprises many groups, opinions would surely be divided on what the next steps should be. For, youth is an identity and not an ideology. Many ageing Nigerian leaders of today came into the public limelight as youths. And not a few of the political office holders who emerged in the last few years are youth. And they are all equal in the eye of the storm for running the country aground. Alarmed by the fact that many youths holding public office have not made much difference, many are asking what guarantees there are that those protesting now would do better. Of course, this kind of scepticism is healthy.
Therefore, the ideas as to what to do to reclaim Nigeria will be as many as the different groups involved in the movement. That has its advantages as well as disadvantages. The youths must let these ideas contend. That is not going to be easy. It is an avenue those who don’t want them to succeed in their bid to salvage the nation will use to divide them. Right now, what should be of immediate concern to the youths should be a review of their well organised and coordinated October protests.
In spite of the fact that there is no mistaking the yellow card sent by the youths to the political class, those who have been running the affairs of this country for decades are not simply going to beckon to them to come and take over the reins of government on a platter of gold. As long as democracy remains a political game, the youths must get ready to take power through the ballot box.
Luckily, the Not Too Young to Run law has lowered the age at which Nigerians can contest for political office. The time is ripe to take full advantage of that law. They should not make the mistake a group of prominent Nigerians made in 2018 when frustrated by the mis-governance of the ruling elite of both the All Progressive Congress and Peoples Democratic Party, they rallied to plant a Third Force to counter the duo. The discerning knew immediately that the efforts would not yield much fruit. For, the spirited efforts came too late with barely a year to the general elections. There emerged over 60 political parties. And there were a plethora of presidential candidates, many of whom would not win a chairmanship position in a well contested local government election.
Thus, if the youths must recapture their country from the vice grip of those who have been running its affairs in the past 20 years, they must realise that all politics is local. Thus a mass movement that would embrace the grassroots in all the nooks and crannies of the country must have a taproot at the wards and local government levels. The first step is a mass mobilisation of youths of voting age to register to vote in 2023. Two, they should move to initiate a political platform to unify their vision into a realistic manifesto. The YRC is talking about a socialist state, “in which the commanding heights of the economy should be placed under the control of workers and not for individuals to make a profit at the expense of society”. This statement looks like a rehash from popular communist manifestoes of the 1960s and ‘70s. Against the backdrop of the prebendalism prevalent in our politics and the winner-take-all mentality of the political class, there is no doubt that what form of government to practice is one area that will task the youths in the months ahead. Thus, there will be some groups like the YRC canvassing socialism while others would be arguing for capitalism. Such arguments are healthy though. For it is not possible for all of us to lie down with our heads pointing in the same direction. A word of caution for the socialists though; contemporary history shows us that socialist states have a penchant for curtailing individual freedoms. Two, many workers in Nigeria, especially civil servants, have privatised their individual “fiefdoms”. So, they will be in the vanguard of those resisting socialism. That is because already, a good number of civil servants have perfected ways to earn extra incomes from the jobs they have been employed to perform. So, they have, like political office holders, already attached conduit pipes to the so-called “commanding heights of the economy”. And the harvests are flowing directly into their individual silos.