Nigeria: Banky W Hopes to Inspire Youths Into Political Involvement

11 February 2019

When Olubankole Wellington, popularly known as Banky W, announced his ambition to run for a seat in the Federal House of Representatives, he was clear that there was a need to do more than just talk. There was the need to get beyond hashtags to roll up the sleeves, get down in the murk and battle for the country.

Banky W, who is running to represent Eti-Osa Constituency in the lower chamber on the platform of the Modern Democratic Party, believes his goal is to start a movement of credible people, who care, who have a heart for the country and are willing to come in to serve.

"It's simple, I think that as a generation we've done a lot of talking and a lot of complaining and a lot of tweeting. But that's kind of where we've stopped. We've stopped at the point of talking and not enough of us are getting to do something about it. It's not enough to talk about the problem we actually have to get into the system to fix it," Banky W said in an interview with CNN.

He believes there is a reticence to vote by the youths who seem content to discuss the ills of the country and the unsuitability of a candidate on social media.

The Nigerian government signed the Not too Young to rule bill into law which effectively reduces the eligible age for aspirants looking to contest political positions.

Despite the bill, there still isn't a groundswell involvement of youths in the often derided political sphere.

The major candidates in the presidential elections are both septuagenarians largely unable to properly appeal to the youthful populace of the country.

Registered voters between the ages of 18 and 35 years constitute with 51.11 per cent, which is 42,938,458 voters of the total registered voters.

Banky W, 37, has been a strong advocate for youth participation in politics and for the need for credible candidates to get involved from the grassroots level.

In his keynote speech at MDP's convention, Wellington said: "We want to fix Nigeria, but we must begin by rebuilding our communities. Everybody seems so obsessed with the Presidential race - it's one of the most frequent suggestions I get - "Banky W, run for President". But see, like I said earlier, I do believe in dreaming big, but I believe in starting small, and working your way up."

He rehashed the point in the interview stating the need to effect change in the smaller communities.

"I'm not just talking about it from the presidential level. It's like we're obsessed as a generation with who's running for president, who's running for governor, forgetting that at the House of Representatives, your representative has responsibilities to the country and to your community."

"Part of what I am doing is inspiring this generation to care again, inspiring us to pay attention to who we are allowing into office inspiring us to participate and hold leaders accountable and also inspiring other credible candidates to say you know what maybe we can't do the presidency yet, we can start one community at a time."

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