Oghenevwede Ohwovoriole in Abuja
Ahead of the 2023 general election, the Youth Democratic Party of Nigeria (YDPN) has merged with the Social Democratic Party to wrestle power from the ruling All Progressives Congress.
This was revealed at the national secretariat of SDP at the weekend after the Chairman of YDPN, Zekeri Hashim held a strategic meeting with the leadership of the party.
YDPN, one of the groups that protested against the defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) in 2020, comprises young Nigerians, who are in need of a political platform to fully engage in politics in order to reform Nigeria.
Among others, the National Chairman of SDP, Shehu Gaban; its National Secretary, Dr. Olu Agunloye and National Youth Leader, Chukwuma Udechukwu attended the meeting at the national secretariat.
After the meeting, Hashim said the movement was formed with the hope of being registered as a political party, but was not registered by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)
He said: “After the protest, we came together and decided to register our voice. We applied to the INEC for registration. When we did not get registration, we then decided to look for a platform to get involved in participatory politics. When we look at all the political parties, we realise that the SDP is the one that has what we need.”
Hashim, also, explained that the group “has a database of over three million members. The APC led administration has failed Nigerians. The federation needs young leaders that can transform its potentials into success.”
In response, Gaban accepted the request of the group, lamenting that the weak leadership in the national assembly was responsible for many shortfalls in the country.
He urged Nigerians “to vote for competent persons from any part of the country. As you know, parties are not easy to build. As you try to build, others are trying to collapse it. So, you have to battle both sides.
“If we must sincerely produce leadership in this country, then we must be responsible enough to do that. We must understand the ladders that must be climbed properly so that you will not miss your steps and start retrieving everybody.
“Your intention as the EndSARS movement was quite good but was later hijacked and it created massive economic havoc for the country. So whatever you are going to do as youths, you have to recruit like minds to succeed. Otherwise infiltration is very easy and that will certainly set your goals backward.
Gaban urged the youth “to collapse their nationwide structure and worldwide networks into those of SDP. The party would give automatic waiver to anyone who wants to contest among them.
“Let us work together and have a strong belief that we have a nation to build. Our diversity is not for weakness; it’s for growth. So, we need to change Nigeria for good. What is remaining is for us to use our senses to move the country forward. Have a competent person, wherever he comes from so that he can move this country forward.
“We must also strengthen our capacity to talk to the National Assembly to do the right thing. I believe that in any country that has a strong, responsible National Assembly, some of these shortfalls will not be available. You can see in other countries how the National Assembly engages the executive arm of the government, it does not happen here.”
Agunloye said the young people are the strength and solution to Nigeria. We are happy that the youths are willing to participate in politics and we are assuming them a level playing field. You will use social media to mobilise your fellow youths to vote for the right candidate.
He advised the group to make use of the social media to mobilise its members to vote for them in the forthcoming general election
Also speaking after the meeting, Udechukwu said the party changed the narrative, saying the party leaders changed the narrative from the youths are leaders of tomorrow to the youths are the leaders of today.
According to SDP’s national youth leader, the leadership of the party deliberately gave the youths the opportunity. In the last congress we had 30-40 percent youths as state party chairman. I am happy that the YDPN has chosen the SDP as a platform.