Elections: Yiaga Africa wants financial support for young candidates
Yiaga Africa, a civil society organisation, has advocated for affirmative action to be included to free Nigerian youths from financial burden in the highly monetised electoral ecology.
Yiaga Africa made the call in a research report on ‘Youth Political Participation In Lagos’, launched by Yiaga Africa with the support of UKaid.
Sylvester Akhaine of Lagos State University, in his presentation of research findings on the level of youth participation in political affairs in Lagos, said godfatherism, adultism, and lack of proper information, among others, discouraged the youth from participating.
According to Mr Akhaine, a professor of political science, youths do not need godfathers before participating in politics, but rather, a mentor that could guide them in the right direction due to their experiences.
He encouraged the youth to be more committed and consistent in making way for themselves in the nation’s political affairs. In his recommendation, Mr Akhaine said the federal government should establish, at all levels, more agencies for the political socialisation of the youth.
On affirmative action, he advised the need to create specific positions for youth in the hierarchy of public affairs to inspire them as successor generations.
According to him, affirmative action should include freeing the youth from financial burden in the highly monetised electoral ecology.
He added that government should create positions dedicated to youth to facilitate their transition into the mainstream of governance in the country.
“Government must respect and promote the rule of law for order and stability in the political system. If abidance by the rule of law is promoted, it will certainly break the strongholds in the way of youth participation in politics,” said Mr Akhaine. “The counterproductive role of adultism and godfathers will be a thing of the past.”
Ezenwa Nwangwu, Yiaga Africa board member, called for a rejig of youth organisations like the National Youth Council and the National Association of Nigerian Students.
Mr Nwangwu, the Partners for Electoral Reform chairman, tasked youths to be responsible, urging them to “stop following some politicians aimlessly looking for leftovers.”