Oluwafunke Lasisi

The International Press Conference (IPC) has educated students in higher institutions and the youths of the nation on methods to participate and engage in the electoral process, governance, and other activities without becoming hooligans or causing violence both within and outside schools.

The programme was organised in collaboration with UKAid and ActionAid under the initiative of Strengthening Citizens Engagement in Electoral Process (SCEEP) titled ‘Towards a more inclusive participation of campus youths in electoral process and democratic governance’, recently in Lagos.

It was billed to enlighten students in Universities, Polytechnics and colleges on issues of how to make requests, present challenges before the government and other parastatals on their bothered needs without becoming hooligans.
Legal Practitioner, Citipoint Chambers, Mr. Tomi Olagunju who shared his experience, while in school as an activist and not being a hooligan, spoke on ‘Engaging the electoral process: youth as vanguard in deepening the democratic process’ stressed that whatever students do at certain points while in school will have ability to affect the larger space in the entire world now or thereafter.

He expressed that activism is not hooliganism if the person(s) in question has good manner approach and are respectful, and added that engaging in electoral process is critical while students should also learn the task of good presentation.

While speaking on youths restriction in participating to win top seat in politics, he urged youths across the country to participate in politics both in schools and in the general public, saying people below the age of 35 years constitutes 60 per cent of votes during election in Nigeria and if youths can vote for youths, they will be in power.

Olagunju explained that youths can engage in electoral process through three ways such as: youth ministries where the agenda setting of government should be democratic; youths running for office, and voting intelligently during an election. “There are ways youths use their vote to either engage democratic political for change or violence”, he added.

Speaking at the event, Executive Director, Journalists for Democratic Rights (JODER) Mr. Wale Adeoye, who spoke on the ‘Realities, difference between academic life and the society at large to articulate youth activism as agents of development’, said students should think globally because the world is a continuity of force where they should not depend on certificates obtained from school but being creative and acquiring universal knowledge to go higher as one can meet himself/herself anywhere in the world.

He advised students not to limit themselves to a particular area both in their studies and the activities in the society, and that they can become something else without the knowledge of whatever course they may have desired to study.

He said having certificate without good character and morality would limit the length at which the youth can go in life as there is reward for everything people do.

He mentioned that activism is an act of correcting, eradicating and challenging any form of abnormal behaviour and acquiring necessary needs that were supposed to be done but refusing the right.

The schools present at the programme titled ‘campus conversation on governance, elections and related electoral issues’ included University of Lagos (UNILAG) and Yaba College of Technology (YABATECH) and the students were happy to have obtained such knowledge from well-meaning dignitaries.