Sunday, 17 February 2019

A Call for Youth Corp Members to Boycott The Forthcoming Elections

17 February 2019 

I'm calling on all youth corp members, trained as ad hoc staff, to boycott the forthcoming elections; refuse to participate in the elections of the 23rd of February and 9th of March 2019 unless conditions are put in place to treat you as human beings. 

I received several complaints and saw horrible pictures of our brothers and sisters who were sent to remote villages and abandoned to their fate. They had nothing to eat and nowhere to sleep. We have seen pictures of these young people sleeping in empty classrooms, on hard bare floors; some of them slept in forest, in bushes and hanging on trees. 

Don't do this anymore. 

I know someone is telling you that this is patriotism. Some of you think this is your own little way of contributing to your country. You think it's your own little contribution. I love this kind of thinking, but you are wrong. 

This is not patriotism. By allowing yourself to be treated like this, you contribute to the problem without even knowing it. This is how they treated corp members in 2015 and because they allowed themselves to be treated like that, that's why nothing changed. That's why you are being treated like that today. You can change this. Demand to be treated right, for your sake and for your brothers and sisters that will be deployed as ad hoc staff in 2023.

You change a nation by refusing to take rubbish not by enduring rubbish. To be patriotic is to demand that monies budgeted for logistics should be used to provide decent feeding and accommodation for you; patriotism is not sleeping on trees like apes. 

I know you need the money, no matter how small. I know that. We are together in this struggle for survival, so I know what a 12k or a 20k can do. I know. But for how long are we going to continue using our poverty as an excuse to be treated like trash? Is it not better we die with some dignity than allow ourselves to be treated so badly and still die? 

They keep us poor and still treat us poorly. This has to stop. We must stop it. You can stop it. No feeding, no accommodation, no elections, at least not with you as ad hoc staff! When you arrive your areas of assignment and the conditions there are subhuman, walk away. Be patriotic, take a walk. If you walk away, the elections will not hold and they will treat you better next time. By this singular action you will contribute greatly to the development of this country. 

Don't believe them if they tell you there is no money. How much do they take home as salaries and allowances monthly? How much do our legislators take home? Their wardrobe allowances alone can provide you with accommodation for many days. 

Don't be fooled. The only reason they are not treating you right is because you are not demanding for it, it's because you are taking their trash. 

So, tell your friends to tell their friends, on the 23rd of February and 9th March 2019, or any other day they might postpone the elections to, no feeding, no accommodation, you will not work as ad hoc staff. Our youth corp members will not sleep on trees and bushes any more. 

I know you need the money... But for once, demand to be treated like a human being... Do this for you, for your brothers and sisters, for your country. Refuse to work as ad hoc staff unless you are treated right. 

First Baba Isa (FBI) is a Legal Practitioner and writes from Abuja.

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