By Udora Orizu in Abuja
The International Republican Institute (IRI) in collaboration with United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has held a youth political leadership intensive training for 80 participants from Adamawa, Bauchi, Ebonyi and Sokoto States.
The graduates were tutored under Module 7: “Youth Inclusion in Parties and Governance”, this brings the total to 102 with 22 others who graduated from the IRI Young Political Party Leaders Academy (YPLA) in 2017.
The objective, according to IRI, was to equip participants with requisite skills for increased participation and effective representation in politics and also to take up leadership positions within political parties.
The institute lamented that political parties operate without the tenets of internal party democracy and women, youth, and persons with disabilities (PWDs) are often excluded and marginalized within political parties, adding that this phenomenon in turn fuels disillusionment and apathy among these groups.
This according to IRI, overlooks the potentials of youths to speak on behalf of the party, reach out to other young people and employ their digital skills to make the parties work better, hence it’s a struggle for youth to rise within party ranks to the point of becoming party of the decision makers in the party.
Speaking at the graduation and closing ceremony for the participants, IRI Country Director Mr. Sentell Barnes said the institute was working with young people for them to be free and be ready to present themselves for political leadership.
According to him, “The IRI is also working with the political parties to better understand the importance of having young people, women and persons with disabilities within the parties”.
“And to open up the space to ensure that new people come in to the party, we are also working with the party leadership to booster their policies to reach out to citizens. The training if for note sharing, networking to ensure that there is information sharing, best practices”.