2023: EU Ambassador, YIAGA Caution Against Youth Exclusion From Leadership Structures

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The European Union (EU) Ambassador to Nigeria, Samuela Isopi has cautioned political gladiators in Nigeria to always factor the interest of youths in electoral participation, warning that anything contrary to this might be a recipe for violence and other negative vices.

Isopi sounded the note of warning in Abuja, while speaking at a two-day conference for 150 young legislative candidates across the country, organised by Yiaga Africa, a prominent election observer group.

She frowned at how young people are being relegated from power equation worldwide despite having a population of about 1.2billion, aged between 15 and 24.

According to the EU Ambassador, “The world today is very young, the world today is up to 1.2billion young people aged 15-24, Which represents the largest young generation in history with Africa leading in the number of npp meaning young men and women worldwide but indeed, young people not only in Nigeria are excluded from job opportunities, power.

“Exclusion of young people can lead to political apathy, radicalisation and crime.

“This is why it is very important to fully include the young generation in the political life of the country, in the decision making process and in the development of the country, young people have demonstrated worldwide and also in Nigeria that they have the capacity to lead. That they have the capacity to make a change.

“The passage of the not too young to run law was really a good step in the right direction because it has expanded the face to youth political participation, it has translated into a comfortable increase in youth political participation.” She said.

She attributed decline in youth participation in politics to a series of factors which she noted involved: high cost of nomination forms, the need for wealth to do politics in Nigeria and lack of inclusion in political parties.

Presenting a report titled Youth Candidacy in the 2023 Elections, Executive Director, Yiaga Africa, Samson Itodo, noted that findings indicated a decline of youth candidacy from 34 per cent in the 2019 general elections to 28 per cent in 2023 general elections.

Itodo said the report indicated a whole lot of factors responsible for the decline, including the excessive cost of nomination forms, and highly commercialised party primaries, among others.

Youth candidacy in the House of Representatives Election; the report pointed out that despite 3,122 candidates vying for seats in the House of Representatives, only 3,115 candidates have complete information provided. Of this number, 674 representing 22 per cent are young candidates. Two young candidates are people living with disabilities (albinism – 1, others – 1).

Meanwhile, he said 51 young candidates are vying for governorship and deputies, and the total number is 837 representing 12.2 per cent; Senate has 41 young candidates with a total of 1,101 representing 3.7 per cent; the House of Representatives has 674 young candidates with a total of 3,122 representing 21.6 per cent; and State House of Assembly has 3,632 young candidates with a total number of 10,240 representing 35.6 per cent.

According to him, a total number of young candidates is 4,398 and the total number of young candidates is 15,336 which represents 28.6 per cent.

The report also showed that across the geographical zones distribution, the North West has 23 per cent; and South West has 18 per cent dominating other zones with respect to the number of candidates.

However, the North East has 38 per cent more ‘Not-Too-Young To-Run’ candidates after North West 85 per cent compared to other regions. The South East has 20 per cent which is the fewest number of candidates in the Not-Too-Young-To-Run’ category.

The report also indicated that on age distribution fewer than half (46 per cent) of the young candidates belong to the group’25-30′. Across zones, the North West has the highest number of candidates in the age group ‘25 – 30’ and ’31 – 35’. Overall, there are more candidates in the age group ’31 -35’ than ’20 – 25’.