The Independent National Electoral Commission has recorded a major breakthrough to increase youth participation in the electoral process in Nigeria.
The Commission during the meeting on Wednesday with stakeholders including the civil society, Youth Ambassadors, National Youth Service Corps and National Orientation Agency, it expressed confidence that youth participation remained uppermost to the success of any democratic process.
The event was organised by INEC with support from YIAGA Africa and the European Union Centre for Electoral Systems.
In a statement by INEC Deputy Director (Voter Education and Publicity, Andy Ezeani, he said the chairman of the commission, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, represented by a National Commissioner and chairman (Outreach and Partnership Committee), Dr. Adekunle Ogumola, emphasised the significance of youths in the electoral process.
He said, “The commission is a threshold of developing a youth document, a document that codifies INEC youth focal activities with the ultimate objective of increasing the young people’s awareness and informed participation in the electoral process.”
He stated that the commission’s idea to develop a youth strategy to structure and sentient youth participation in the electoral process started before 2017, with basis consultation meetings with experts on youth matters and youth focal CSOs to lay groundwork.
Ogunmola said, “This was immediately followed by an inaugural meeting in January 2018 with broad spectrum of stakeholders with technical support from Youth Initiative for Advocacy, Growth, and Advancement to draw up a plan of action to guide the development.”
He also disclosed the commission’s determination towards a more rich electoral process with the increase of youth participation.
“The commission is passionate about integrating youth matters into the mainstream electoral process. Hence, it’s determined efforts at providing structure and funding in a sustainable manner to address the institutional, socio-economic challenges impeding youth unhindered participation in the electoral process”, Ogunmola stated.
Ogunmola giving commendation to YIAGA Africa and ECES towards its contributions to the development of the document, noted that the assistance from the commission’s partners has not only made the meeting possible but also assisted INEC in developing a strategy document for youth that will stand the test of time and also continue to fulfill the objective of promoting young men and women’s interest and awareness in the electoral process.
INEC Director (Voter Education and Publicity), Nick Dazang, in his comment revealed that the youths constitute about 66 per cent of the Nigerian population and were positioned to move the Nigerian economy forward if their energies are adequately utilised.