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Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde, yesterday, declared that with a new leadership soon to take over the administration of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), he was hopeful that the party would begin to take actions that would show Nigerians that it was different and ready to work for Nigerians’ best interest.
Makinde, who said elective office holders on PDP’s platform must show that the party was ready to engender good governance at all levels, added that there was a connection between the performance of elective office holders and the high level of voter apathy in the country.
In a statement by the Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Mr. Taiwo Adisa, Makinde, who chaired one of the sessions at the retreat for newly-elected PDP Officers, in Abuja, urged the party to end voter apathy by mobilising women and youths, who represented critical segments of the voting population.
According to the governor, the PDP must address the issue of voter apathy ahead of the 2023 general election, as the results of the 2015 and 2019 presidential election showed that less than 30 million voters participated in each of the elections, whereas, the number of registered voters was just below 85 million.
He, however, stated that in order to address the issue of youth and women participation in politics, the party must deal with the issue of elective office holders breaching the trust and confidence of voters.
He said: “I would like you to bear in mind, each time the speakers mention youth, that Nigeria has a population of about 78 million persons, who fall between the ages of 16 and 40 and when they say women, we should be thinking in terms of about 100 million persons.
“So, in total, we are discussing a population of about 120 to 140million.
“I have decided to lead with this information because as politicians, we are interested in numbers. The 2015 presidential election was won and lost with a voting population of less than 30 million. In 2019, the figures were similar – less than 30 million people voted. In both cases, the total number of registered voters was just below 85 million.
“From these numbers, we can clearly see that we have an election participation problem. First, those eligible to register are not registering to vote. Second, over 60 per cent of those who register, shun the elections.
“So, looking towards 2023, one of the key issues that we need to address is voter apathy and we cannot effectively address youth participation in Nigerian politics and mobilising youth and women in Nigerian politics while ignoring the reason behind this apathy.
“If we are being honest, we will agree that the failure of the political class to make itself relevant to the voting population is chiefly responsible for voter apathy. We over-promise and under deliver and the citizens pay the price.”