Mixed feelings have continued to trail fifteen-year-old Mercy Williams’ dive into politics.
A student of an undisclosed Lagos secondary school, Williams recently launched a political support group under the aegis of City Boy Progressive Group to promote the presidential ambition of the All Progressives Congress presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu.
Her father, Friday Williams, was a broadcaster who worked with Faji FM and Jordan before he retired prematurely owing to his health challenge.
While a considerable number of the APC stalwarts applauded her courage by starting politics at an early age, others, including the National Publicity Director of the party, Bala Ibrahim, frowned upon her action.
But young Williams remains defiant and undeterred in her chosen career path.
In an exclusive interview with The PUNCH, the Director General of the City Boy Progressive Group told our correspondent that she veered into politics at a tender age.
She said, “I got attracted to politics at the age of 10. I even campaigned actively for Muhammadu Buhari, who is our current president. Before then, I have been closely studying the contribution of Asiwaju Tinubu and his achievements, especially in Lagos politics. I like everything about him so much that when he announced his intention to run for presidency, I was motivated to create a group this year to rally support for him.
“I didn’t even know the group could be this massive today. We presently have state coordinators in some major states to date. Even on Facebook, our followers cut across the 36 states including the Federal Capital Territory and the Diaspora. Quite a lot of people have also bombarded us with requests to join the City Boy Progressive Group.”
Meanwhile, young Williams has yet to meet Tinubu in person almost nine months after she launched the support group to promote his ambition.
On why anybody would want to promote a politician she had not met, Williams, who dreams of combining her political career with acting, said it didn’t matter to her.
“What matters is that I am able to contribute to his winning the 2023 presidential election. It is true that I have not met him physically. But I am eagerly looking forward to meeting him before or after the election. That is because I am sure he will become the next president of Nigeria,” she stated.
When quizzed on how she successfully registered the group without the party leadership raising an eyebrow concerning her age, Williams claimed the registration did not warrant her visiting the secretariat in person.
When asked if they were comfortable with allowing a teenage politician to lead a serious support group in the build-up to a major election, the Abuja Coordinator of City Boy Progressive Group, Pastor Olanrewaju Omolayo, disclosed that it had nothing to do with age.
While describing her as a special personality, Omolayo disclosed that “Williams has shown so far that she has the charisma and leadership skills to lead.”
The National Secretary of the group, Aliu Solomon, also affirmed his position, when he said only people without progressive minds would not admire the ideology of Tinubu.
According to him, the former Lagos State governor shares the same philosophy and ideology as the late former president of the country, Musa Yar’Adua, and winner of the annulled June 12 election, MKO Abiola.
“For those who have been following Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, they will know he shares the same ideology as late Yar’Adua and MKO Abiola.
“If you follow the manifesto of everything these people have worked for, it is rightly for the progressives, especially the youth. In the system today in Nigeria, those who are governors in the last 20 years and those who have been presidents have no plan for the youth.
“Fortunately, it was only Yar’Adua that strove to make a positive change to the fortune of Nigeria. But we all know what happened to him before he died. I want to believe that the same manifesto is what Asiwaju wants to execute,” he said.
Efforts made to reach the National Publicity of the APC, Felix Morka, proved abortive.
But the party’s publicity director kicked against the idea of allowing a teenage to run a political group.
Ibrahim stated that aside from amounting to abuse of privilege, it could be viewed by critics as an attempt by the APC to recruit underage people for election.
He stated, “Fifteen years is underage. She is a teenage girl and cannot vote or be voted for. She is legally not qualified for such a position. Anything done in that direction amounts to abuse of rights. She is being taken care of and cannot take care of anybody.
“If the group is to support people in her age bracket, that is another thing entirely. She could be a guinea pig in the project. Certainly, politics is supposed for people who can participate. The truth is that if you cannot vote, how can you protect and champion the cause of those who can? How can you canvass for positions in the party when you are not eligible to vote or be voted for?
“Otherwise you will have school children filling up the whole place. It has many implications. Otherwise, this could be one of those things that could be used by the opposition. They will easily accuse their ruling party of using underage people to vote on the day of election,” he said.
Source: PUNCH NEWS