Ibrahim Shuaibu in Kano
The Youth Initiative for Advocacy, Growth and Advancement (YIAGA Africa) and its parent partners have been commended for their dedication to youth empowerment and mobilisation for political participation, transparency, and accountability.
Development Director of the British High Commission, Dr. Christopher Pycroft, made the compliment yesterday in Kano at Convergence 4.0.
Christopher explained that the role of young people in political leadership and governance generally is hugely important for Nigeria’s development and democracy.
He added that: “Nigeria is a young country with an average age of its population just over 17. But young people are too often excluded from Nigeria’s political processes, left without a voice, without influence.
“Inclusive political participation is crucial to building stable and peaceful societies, and to building an effective social contract that establishes the relationship between the state and its citizens.“
The development director further stated that the passing of the ‘Not Too Young To Run’ Constitutional Amendment Bill was a major milestone.
According tio him, “It was followed by a clear increase in the number of young candidates and elected officials at the last general election.
“From 5.1 percent of elected officials in 2015 to 6.6 percent in 2019, a modest increase, but an important trend.”
Christopher said yet at the 2019 general elections, only 46 percent of young people turned out to vote at the presidential and National Assembly elections
“YIAGA Africa’s assessment shows a decline in young candidature from 2019 to 2023.” he pointed out.
Christopher stressed that young women are being further left behind in the push to strengthen youth political participation in Nigeria, as women accounted for less than 5 percent of elected officials in the 2019 general elections.
“Nevertheless, I am encouraged by the
enthusiasm and commitment to youth and women’s participation by organisations such as YIAGA Africa and other partners,” he said.
The Development director unbundled that the UK has been a long-term strategic supporter of Nigeria’s democratic journey, adding that “we believe that peaceful, transparent and credible polls in 2023 are fundamental to consolidating the gains of Nigeria’s democratic journey.”