2023: Youths launch nationwide mobilisation for inclusion, kick against marginalisation
Ahead of the 2023 general election, Northeast youth under the egis National Youth Inclusive in Governance Organization (NYIGO) has decried decades of political marginalisation of Nigerian youth.
To address the problem, NYIGO launched a campaign for inclusion and equal opportunity through negotiation of a better future ahead of the 2023 general election during their zonal caucus meeting held in Bauchi on Sunday.
Convener of the group, Sheriff Yusuf Banki while addressing journalists at Pali Resort, Bauchi, explained that the meeting was to strategise for more youth inclusion in the forthcoming general election.
Banki observed that youth have been worst hit since the returned to democracy in Nigeria in 1999 after almost three decades of military rule.
“One of these ingredients of democratic governance is the input of youth in the political process. Therefore, the youth are the seeds of representational democracy because they help immensely for democracy to germinate with constructive philosophies and principles; they also nurture politics of social, economic and political transformations,” Banki said.
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He opined that Nigerian youth can only realise their potentials and participate actively in the struggle for social transformation when they are empowered.
Banki observed that youth in Nigeria were yet to find a strong foothold in the political system admitting that the task before them was both enormous and challenging.
“Nigeria has a robust youth environment and an increasing youth population. It has one of the most youthful populations in the world. The 2008 declaration by the African Union General Assembly affirming 2009 to 2019 “African decade for youth” is in recognition of youth identity and politics as a global driving force for social transformation.
He lamented that active and constructive youth participation in the Nigerian political process has gradually become non-existent over the years.
“Apparently, most youths in the political space, particularly those in political parties, are oftentimes used as thugs by politicians who seek selfish political gains through the perpetuation of violence.
“For an all-encompassing and participatory democracy to thrive in Nigeria, young people must play important and active roles in determining the political future of their country by engaging political actors with demands for inclusion and equal access to political participation.
“The present status quo of entrenched youth marginalization is viewed in some quarters as a factor that fuels insurgency, criminality and violence across the length and breath of our dear country.
“Exclusion of youths from political participation and decision making is underscored by trivial responsibilities apportioned to y
outh such as posting of posters, distribution of campaign materials, singing and dancing during campaigns and party conventions, mobilization of thugs and crowds.
These can neither be referred to as inclusion nor qualitative participation since they do not translate into access to the structures of decision making.
“Since democracy thrives on the ability of citizens to enforce their rights by participating in decision making, young people must be given the opportunity to contribute to the development of their communities through political participation that grants them access to structures of governance where decisions are taken.
“That access and opportunity to participate must be provided as a matter of rights and not a privilege as enshrined under section 14 (2) in the 1999 constitution as amended, and as reiterated in National Youth Policy (2009), African Youth Charter and the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Good Governance.
With over 60% of the country’s voting population dominated by young eligible voters, it is critical to give them their rightful place in the political space”
Banki stated that as the country heads towards the 2023 general election, it is not going to be business as usual.
“The youth forces under the egis of NYIGO and affiliate are determined and have since launch an aggressive mobilization across the length and breadth of the country. There is no doubting the fact that the input and resources of the youth are needed to further accelerate the engine of progress in the country.
“So far, the youth have been neglected and forced to surrender to their fates, resulting in politicians using them as tool of violence and destruction, political corruption and misdemeanor. For the proper appreciation of their role in governance and democratic deepening, the youth should be empowered with political education, mentorship and employment opportunities which will ultimately serve as succession plan for them to take over the affairs of governance when the time come”