As young Nigerians, we must not be cowed as we remain a potent and ever dynamic force for the political emancipation and economic development of our great country, Nigeria.
Earlier this year, the Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC) had called for 50 per cent inclusion of young people in governance at all levels in this country, even though it can be much more. Our earnest belief that the destiny of this country rests with the youths has led vibrant youths like Timi Frank, to dedicate his life to youth political empowerment by speaking truth to power, not minding whose horse is gored – often at his personal peril.
However, his outspokenness overtime aimed at righting the wrongs in our polity and recently, to stabilize and correct some unbecoming attitude and destructive tendencies perpetrated by some highly placed persons in APC have marked him out as target of attack by those who are not comfortable with the truth because of their ruinous and anti-democratic conducts.
We are glad to acknowledge that Timi Frank has never kept quiet whenever he feels that things are happening that would detract from the peace, order, security and prosperity of every Nigerian, either within or outside the APC. For this very reason, he has become a subject of vilification and undeservingly so, but we are equally glad to note that he has continued to stay the course and project the image of the Nigerian youths positively – the many denials of his rights within the party architecture notwithstanding. Worse still, he has been marked for suspension or expulsion from the APC. In view of the crucial role he has been playing as an activist and patriotic party man, we sincerely believe that the arrows now arrayed against him shall not prosper because our God is more than able to ensure that even though he walks through the valley of the shadow of death as a result of his penchant for truth and fairness, he shall see no evil.
It is trite to note that Timi Frank has displayed enough resolve and fidelity of conviction to the extent that he would rather choose to be a faceless personality in a just society than to be a king in an unjust society where impunity thrives. He adheres strictly to the principle of “injury to one is injury to all.” This is why he has vowed never to be silent or be silenced in his efforts to ensure this country becomes a society that provides a level playing field for all to thrive and survive.
Notwithstanding the vast armada of attacks directed at his person, by those who feel entitled to tame or possibly destroy him, he has shown tenacity to continue to abide by his humanistic beliefs that no one can achieve a good end through evil means. We further like to reiterate that the fight Timi Frank is fighting is not a personal one but a fight for the young people of this country. He has always stood for the truth and the oppressed in society.
It is also instructive to mention that his being outspoken in the party and society at large is what makes people like Chief John Odigie-Oyegun to be very uncomfortable having him occupy the position that is rightly and legally due him or having Frank around him. Hence, the satanic plot to suspend him.
As the youngest National Officer of the All Progressives Congress (APC), his suspension will directly cut off the youths from highest echelon of the party, where he currently stands as a strong and irrepressible and irresistible voice of the youths of this country.
Therefore, all youths must rise to this occasion by rejecting these anti-youth and anti-democratic machinations of Chief Oyegun and his cohorts. We must not be silenced because in an unjust society, silence is a crime.
We also note that the ongoing differences between Chief Oyegun and Timi Frank is not by any way personal but as result of the National Chairman’s inability to steer the party progressively. We hold that the Chairman of a governing party ought to be a dispassionate father of all – devoid of biases and personal vendetta.These unfortunately have manifested and continue to have negative effect on our great part – the APC, especially how it is perceived by the generality of Nigerians and the international community. It has nonetheless affected the running of the party and the ability of its elected and appointed officials to perform creditably.
For example, the party Constitution is clear on the process for election and removal of officers of the party. In the instance of election and replacement of an officer, where for example a substantive occupier of an office is absent, the deputy acts. That was not done in Timi Frank’s case. In a related development, last week it was said that someone was appointed as Acting National Publicity Secretary of the APC. We beg to ask when did we start appointing people into elective positions in our great party? Anyway, its part of the impunity being perpetuated by Chief Oyegun.
Fellow Nigerians youths, we must resist and reject this impunity against youths who are the future leaders. We can say authoritatively that Mr. President will find the suspension of Timi Frank without due process distasteful because we know Mr. President to be a lover of the young and independent minds of this country. This impunity must stop! We insist, Oyegun must go! We plead with Chief Oyegun to follow procedure and the rule of law. Any move to do the contrary will spell doom for the party. For instance, the activities of Julius Malema of ANC in South Africa are very instructive. Since his suspension, ANC has lost more elections than ever. The party now regrets their action in suspending him, even though it is too late in the day to make amends. Leaders like Chief Oyegun must be ready for leadership, else his place let another take. After all, the leader of the ruling party in Kenya is 29 years and he has made giant strides because of his readiness to serve.
We therefore call on all Nigerians youths, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), National Youth Council of Nigeria (NYCN) and other related bodies to speak up against this injustice and intimidation of young people in the country and the person of Timi Frank in particular.
We, as youths of this great country, cannot afford to suffer from the deadly paralysis of silence at this time because as they say, evil thrives when good people keep quiet. It may be Timi Frank’s turn today, but it can be anybody’s turn tomorrow. A German Lutheran pastor, Martin Niemoller, once said, “They came first for the Communists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew. Then they came for the trade unions, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn’t speak up because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me, and by that time there was no one to speak up.” We hold strongly that if elders represent the conscience of the party, then the youths are its soul. Kill the soul and the body will disintegrate. Let’s not allow this to happen in our time. Let’s rise up for fairness, justice and equity. Let democracy reign!
For: COALITION OF NIGERIAN YOUTHS AGAINST IMPUNITY