By Oluwatope Lawanson
Yiaga Africa, an NGO, has decried low participation of youth candidates in the 2023 elections.
The NGO also called for more youth candidates to be given appointive positions in governance.
Mr Ibrahim Faruk, Programme Manager, Governance and Development at Yiaga Africa expressed his concern at a media roundtable on youth reporting organised by the NGO, in Lagos.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Yiaga Africa is a civic hub of change makers committed to the promotion of democracy, good governance, and civic participation.
Faruk also decried the low participation of youth candidates in the 2023 elections.
Presenting a preliminary report on the Youth candidacy in the 2023 elections in Nigeria,
Faruk said the 2023 polls stood at just 4,398 out of a total of 15,336 candidates, representing a paltry 28.6 per cent of the total number of candidates.
“Key findings by Yiaga Africa from the 2023 candidates analysis also indicate that 43.2 per cent of youth candidates in the 2023 elections were direct beneficiaries of Not-too-Young-to-Run Act.
“Moreover, of the 15,336 candidates in the ballot in the 2023 elections, 4,398 are youth candidates, with only 1,899 between the ages of 25-30 years,” he said.
He added that among the youth candidates, seven individuals representing 0.2 per cent, belong to persons living with disabilities in the 2023 election, while 11 per cent are female youth candidates.
Faruk attributed the low participation to the excessive costs of nomination forms, highly commercialised party primaries, substitution of candidates and the de-registration of political parties.
“The highly monetised party primaries shrunk the political space and limited fair competition.
“This was a development that stopped most young aspirants to pursue their political aspirations due to non affordability of the forms and lack of resources to procure delegates,” he said.
“We are, therefore, of the opinion that to secure electoral victory for youth candidates, political parties should provide technical, financial and logistics support to young male and female candidates during the campaigns.
“The general public are encouraged to to support youth candidates by making financial donations to candidates with competence, character and capacity,” he added.
Similarly, a youth candidate, Mr Folarin Joseph, 35, representing Mushin Constituency 11, Federal House of Representatives under the Young Progressives Party (YPP) said youths should be given an opportunity in governance and political process.
Joseph said that as a youth, he would give voice to the youths if given the opportunity.
He said: “I believe in social justice therefore, every sector of the society needs to be heard.
The youth candidate who also decried the high cost of governance said there was need for the salaries and emoluments of lawmakers to be drastically reduced in line with the country’s prevailing economic realities.
On his part, Joseph also said he would create value by encouraging youth upskilling through skills development for youths whereby ICT firms could take on youths/school dropouts to train.
He added that he would propose bill to introduce peace education in the academic system noting that for there to be development, there was need for peace.
Joseph also called for system overhaul in the primary health sector in other for it to work efficiently and effectively.
“There is need for judicial reform that will give room to timely judgment and justice dispensed without fear or favour. (NAN) (www.nannews.ng)