The Chair of the Young Parliamentarians Forum (YPF), Hon. Raphael Igbokwe while speaking at the Colloquium organized by the Forum in partnership with the Youth Initiative for Advocacy Growth & Advancement (YIAGA) has said that Nigerian Youth must begin to show a sense of resourcefulness, integrity, creativity in different sectors of the fabric of the economy.
The Colloquium with the theme “Youth and The Future of Democracy in Nigeria” was organized to provide a platform for reflection on the contributions of youth to Nigeria’s democracy and to underscore the need for youth political participation as a catalyst for democratic sustainability.
“Who says what has been successfully displayed in the entertainment industry cannot be replicated in the political and industrial space of our development, “Hon Rapheal said.
Mr. Igbokwe added that the legislative initiatives of the Young Parliamentarians Forum of the National Assembly, in its push for Constitutional Reforms in reducing the age that qualifies individual to stand for elections into public offices has expressed by the “Not too Young to Run” campaign.
He noted that these are clear examples of the youthful resourcefulness and integrity that is required of Nigerian youth to facilitates their being architects and active participants in Nigeria’s future democracy.
Speaking further, Mr. Igbokwe noted that to help the democracy, the teaching of civics education must be restored in schools to educate children on how government works the interest of youth in socio-economic and political history must be reactivated. He said these teaching will help the children understand the importance of their participation in the lifestyle and development of the Nation.
The Colloquium had a panel session which discussed: Harnessing the Demographic Dividend in Youth Through Civic & Political Engagement’ moderated by Adaora Onyechere.
The panel session had Cynthia Mbamalu, the Program Manager Youth Initiative Advancement Growth Advancement, Aminu Nyako Senior Legislative Aide to Senator Abdulaziz Nyako, Funke Baruwa, CEO, Nigerian Women Trust Fund and Honorable Babatunde Kolawale representing Akoko South East/South West Ondo state.
Miss Mbamalu highlighted the need for young people to understand that decisions are taken daily that affect them, and the need to be involved, adding that young people should not be forced to participate in politics rather they should be given a reason to participate in politics and be educated on the necessity and importance of youth political participation.
Raising pertinent points on how efficient is the responsiveness of the Government to the needs of the people, the need to ask if Democracy is working for Nigerians and the willingness of Nigerian people to continue with Democracy.
She added that most people get involved in politics for financial gains. There is a need to educate our citizens, especially young people on the notion of leadership as service, work for the public interest.
“There is an urgent need for political leaders to frame their language appropriately to include young women. Youth political participation is also about inclusion of young women, “she said
Honorable Babatunde Kolawale, representing Akoko South East/South west in Ondo state who was also present at the event stated it is possible to win elections in Nigeria without spending millions of Naira.
Speaking of the place of money in Nigerian politics, Hon. Babatunde informed the gathering that he spent only N5 million during the electioneering period.
“I do reach out to the youths in my community a lot. I’m a grassroot person. That was why during the elections, while my colleagues from the East spent N200 million for election in their constituencies, I spent only N5 million from primaries until the end of the election.
“We cannot take away the issue of godfatherism from Nigerian politics but if you can prove that you have the capacity to deliver, you will gain the support of your people. “I have served two terms now, and I promised my people that when I’m leaving, I will be handing over to another young person.”