On Sunday, 7th April the ReadytoRun Show returned to the stable of Channels Television with a phenomenal success story. This was the story of a winner emerging from the 2019 elections; the member-elect of the Benue State House of Representatives, Cephas Dyako-Ashwa. For anyone not conversant with the ReadytoRun Movement and its direct initiative, one may wonder of what imperative this success story is. However, it is clear as day. Cephas did not just emerge as a winner of his Constituency amongst his competitors, but he won by a wide margin.
And most important of all, he is twenty-seven (27) years old.
In a country like Nigeria with a backstory of young people’s inability to political opportunities, Cephas’ story is a win for history. He is currently the youngest member-elect of the Benue State House of Assembly, a first-timer who got elected not by political experience or background but of competence and character, an expectation from his people that he will be the spokesperson for them within the Legislative. These feats of achievement can be attributed to the success of the NotTooYoungToRun Initiative that has now become a law, enabling more interest of youth participation within Nigerian politics, and their wins and success stories thereafter.
The show shed light on Cephas’s abilities; why he ran for office and why he believed he won. Undeterred, the newly-elected legislator looked calm and confident as he replied the questions with a flurry of intelligence and intellect. “I wanted to do something. I just wanted to bridge that gap between leaders and electorates.”
He also went further to say what his intentions are for the people; how it is pertinent not to give out so many unrealistic promises but to start from the grassroots of empowering the people, giving them the will to better their lives and to develop themselves in all aspects. “It is easier to empower and train people, to encourage diversity in the quest of empowerment in agriculture, trade and commerce etc. So I will be interested in empowering the young people and women in my state and constituency.”
On how he began the journey to his monumental win, Cephas had an answer laced with simplicity. “I started with (virtually) nothing. My friends and I started with the little monies we had and just began the process.” The drive to help his people was more impending on him. “We connected with what I would call ‘professional’ politicians. At first, they did not take us so seriously, but when they saw I was serious with my quest, they began to.”
Cephas declares that his plans for the future as a legislator are quite succinct. “After inauguration, will come to know what projects to run on and start with.”He also believes that in the future, he can aspire to become the Speaker of the House, even with no or little experience in his past. The level of confidence that permenates this young legislator is one to applaud and reckon with, and with his success story in tow, there is indeed a rise in the candor of young aspiring politicians who are proving each day that they are equipped with all needed to lead and be standing forces of good governance in Nigeria.