BY: Eba Alobo
As momentum keep gathering around the polity of the National Youth Council of Nigeria (NYCN), Cross River State chapter, two key actors who have clearly indicated their interest for the chairmanship position are Comrade Dan Obo and Comr. Victor Ndifon- two brothers from the same federal constituency.
However, one name which keeps ringing bell in various fora, gathering, meetings and consultations is that of Comr. Victor Ndifon and so I am tempted to ask “Why”.
It is no longer news that there have been series of hatched plans to scheme out the former Students leader from the race using the flimsy excuse of being ” weak” and a “gentleman agreement of old Ikom and Old Obubra”.
The NYCN which is apex youth body of Nigerian Youths is an organization that us posed to make a difference with a mandate to build a greater nation. If this mandate remains sacrosanct then the actors who aspire to lead the state chapter should not be afraid of competition by trying to scheme anyone out of the race.
While reminiscing through the modus operandi of the council in the last few years, I suffice to say that the state chapter needs a young, vibrant, firm and proven leader who is poised to harness and harmonise the entire youths across the state through well thought out plans and programmes.
Now back to the question bugging my mind- Why is Comr. Dan afraid of Victor?. Could it be as a result of these factors:
INTEGRITY/SINCERITY: The hallmark of any leader is the ability to clearly speak out and act his/her words. Integrity which refers to the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles is one thing Comr. Victor Ndifon is bringing to the table of the NYCN. As a serving Secretary General of the council, he has proven beyond reasonable doubt that he is a man of his words through his actions and inactions. As a former Student Union President, Comr. Victor proved himself to be an honest unionist who strived to galvanize and project the interests of the students above self interest and aggrandisement. This alone earned him the title of one of the best SUG presidents in the history of the state university.
For his ambition as state Youth leader, Comr. Ndifon has rolled out policies and programmes that are all encompassing like community engagements where young people especially in the secondary and tertiary institutions will be constructively engaged in activities geared towards improving their welfare and well-being. As an advocate for improved education, he is bringing to the table an avenue where all young intellectuals from Cross River state will be engaged and supported to achieve their dreams considering the fact that every development is tied to education.
According to him in one of his meetings “I want the Youth Council to have a gift of influence and we cannot achieve this without integrity”. So can one say that because of his straightforward and sincere policies, some are feeling very uncomfortable?. In the words of John Maxwell ‘Power really is a test of character and in the hands of a person of integrity, it is of tremendous benefit; in the hands of a tyrant, it causes terrible destruction’.
AGE: As a young man in his mid-20s, Comr. Victor has been labelled a “Weakling” in several fora maybe because of his calm and gentle nature or just maybe because he has not exhibited a ‘thug-like’ attribute in all the years he has been saddled with leadership roles. Now the question is- Can a young man who led the armless battalions of CRUTECH students as an SUG president at a very young age be considered to be ‘weak’? How come he was never tagged ‘weak’ when he diligently performed and is still performing all assigned roles as the state scribe of the council.
On the issue of age, the constitution of the NYCN stipulates that the candidate for the position of chairman should be between the ages of 25-35. If it is so, then Comr. Victor Ndifon is eminently qualified to gun for that position and should not be adjudged ‘weak’ when there is no evidence to prove that he has been found wanting in any responsibility he was saddled with.
PEDIGREE/ANTECEDENT: Comr. Ndifon is known to have set a record as one of the best SUG presidents and till date has remained one of the most vocal scribes of the NYCN in the state. Could it be that some persons are afraid of this antecedents or there just don’t like someone with a quest for changing the narratives?. This remains to be seen in the days ahead as we continue to navigate through the politics of the NYCN in the state. As a young man, Comr. Ndifon has always shown capacity in whatever endeavours he found himself and is poised to replicate same if given the mandate to sail the ship of the NYCN in the state. In the words of Marvin J. Ashton “We tend to evaluate others on the basis of physical, outward appearance: their “good looks,” their social status, their family pedigrees, their degrees, or their economic situations. The Lord, however, has a different standard by which he measures a person. When it came time to choose a king to replace King Saul, the Lord gave this criteria to his prophet Samuel: “Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; … for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.”
ZONING: The issue of zoning happens to be another raging storm in the politics of trying to scheme out Comr. Victor Ndifon from the race. According to feelers on ground, there is a purported ‘gentleman’ agreement that the NYCN chairman should be zoned to the Old Obubra bloc of Central Senatorial district which comprises of Obubra, Yakurr and Abi LGAs respectively. However statistics available shows that in the history of the NYCN in Central, it is only Etung LGA that has never produced a state Chairman or deputy. Obubra has produced a state Chairman in the past, same with Yakurr and Boki while Abi and Ikom has produced deputy state chairs respectively but Etung where Comr. Ndifon hails from is yet to occupy any of those two offices. So I am tempted to ask, who brought up the the ‘gentleman’s agreement’ and on what basis should Comr. Ndifon be asked to sacrifice his ambition on the altar of a gentleman’s agreement that has no bearing whatsoever even in conventional politics of Central if we go by the recent happenings where the Old Ikom bloc has continuously dominated the senate seat of the zone since 1999 from Sen. Ndoma Egba to Sen. Owan and now Sen. Sandy. How come the Old Obubra bloc has not insisted that the gentleman agreement be honoured and why should we bring such arrangements into an apolitical youth council?.
PASSION/LOVE FOR YOUTHS: In whatever gathering Comr. Ndifon has been found, he has consistently stated his passion for the growth and development of young people across the state. From the programmes he has earmarked to embark on if given the mandate to the issues of street kids which has been like a burden in his heart, to the issue of galvanizing young intellectuals of Cross River descent and creating a platform for mentorship for the younger ones in the areas of Science, innovation, politics, economics amongst other sectors. In his exact words “I want my strength of character to reverberate across the structures of the youth council in the stare. I am going to be firm and opened as possible. I want us to leverage on the intellect of young Cross Riverians across the globe”. This to me depicts a young mind who is poised to change the narrative and think outside the box of conventional politics to create a lasting impact on the minds of young people from various frontiers and if you ask me, he should be given a chance rather than the attack he is presently getting from some quarters.
Considering the few points raised, it behoves on all stakeholders, delegates, advisers, and indeed the entire young people drawn from all frontiers across the state to see the the aspiration of Comr. Victor Ndifon Jnr as one that is borne out of genuine love for the Youth Council and not out of any personal interest. He should be supported rather than seen as a ‘threat’. He should be encouraged rather than discouraged to drop his ambition. And for the sake of posterity, there should be a level playing field where every candidate who has the ambition to lead the youth council should be allowed to exercise their rights to vote and be voted for without intimidation, fear of favour.
Eba Alobo is an Online Publisher and a Public Affairs Analyst.