A popular Nigerian singer and rapper, Oludemilade Alejo, popularly known as YCee, has expressed worry over the President Muhammadu Buhari’s refusal to assent to the Electoral Act Amendment Bill after a 30-day period stipulated by the constitution.
The much anticipated bill was passed in October.
It seeks to resolve issues regarding the use of modern technologies in the electoral process and prescribe a particular mode of primary election for political parties to choose candidates seeking elective offices.
It had generated controversies during the consideration.
President Buhari has, however, officially written to the National Assembly, rejecting the Electoral Act Amendment Bill.
Mr Buhari cited financial, security and legal consequences for rejecting the bill.
He added that it would infringe on the rights of Nigerians to participate in governance and democracy.
Ycee expressed his disappointment on Monday, at the ‘Not Too Young To Run Music Festival’ in Lagos.
YCee said Mr Buhari’s refusal to assent to the electoral bill is worrisome. He, however, urged the youths to remain undeterred in voting and aspiring for positions in the 2023 elections.
He said : “I’m as worried as everybody else because we want to believe we are living in democracy. We want to believe we have leaders that have the interest of people at heart, but when you see things like this, it just begs the question of who the leaders are.
“The youths are ready as ever, if not then never before. I would like to implore a lot of young people that are always thinking their votes won’t count and these old people won’t leave power, they are going to rig the elections and all that. Please go out there and get your PVCs, be very much active, and be a part of the electoral process.
Ycee added that he is willing to influence a lot of young people, starting from registration for permanent voters cards and ultimately voting in the elections.
“I’ll be registering for my PVC next year and I’m looking to make something where it is not just me, but I’m going to engage a lot of my fan base to come out and get their PVCs.
“A lot of people look at the process of getting PVC as stressful and comes with much hassle, but it boils down to education and letting people know easier ways to get their PVC.Trust me, your vote is your power. That is the highest form of protest. That is the only way you can secure your future and make sure that the change you want to see begins with you,” he said.
Mi Abaga, too
Also speaking at the conference, popular Nigerian rapper, Jude Abaga, popularly called M.I Abaga, said his organisation, TASCK, is focused on using the power of creativity to drive social impact and change.
“The country needs its young people to show up as active citizens who can engage, and be counted amidst the electioneering process.
“People are thinking about elections, they are thinking about 2023, but there is a year that is more important and that is 2022, which is the registration to vote. If a lot of young people do not register to vote, what happens in 2023 won’t matter because their votes are not among the numbers,” he said.
Mr Abaga said on the surface, entertainers are right to say it’s not their responsibility to mobilise people to vote and be voted for.
He, however, said it is everyone’s civic responsibility as a Nigerian, including entertainers to participate in elections.
“Entertainers are also citizens of Nigeria and they have roles to play, except if they are comfortable with the affairs of the country,”he said.
The rapper also added that the Nigerian youths are the most powerful force on earth and they need to leverage the power of force and culture to change the country for better.
Not Too Young To Run Music Fest
The Not Too Young To Run Music Fest is a two-day event, organised by Yiaga Africa with support from UKAID and partnership with TASCK.
It seeks to engage Nigerian youths on the need to actively participate in the 2023 general elections.
According to the organisers, the festival will bring together over 200 young people from various local government areas, tertiary institutions in Lagos state, and members of Not Too Young To Run (NTYTR) hubs.
Through music and entertainment, the organisers seek to inspire youth political participation and promote political inclusion of young people ahead of the 2023 elections.
The festival will feature talk sessions, workshop labs, arts exhibition, music concert, one-on-one conversations with young thought leaders, among others.
Cynthia Mbamalu, the co-founder of Yiaga Africa, said the organisation is poised to provide technical support, media profiling and capacity building for prospective aspirants that meet the three Cs of the organisation – character, competence and capacity.
She said during convergence for southwest youths in Lagos, 200 aspirants showed interest in running for different offices in the 2023 elections.
“Next year is the primaries and the primaries help us understand who the candidates are, but there are a lot of young people slowing down their interest.
“Yiaga is non-partisan and does not give financial support. One of the things we do is to provide solidarity across the board, opportunities like helping them to understand how to find raises, how to organise campaigns, and how to address legal issues,” she said.
Mrs Mbamalu said part of the objectives of the music festival is to showcase the possibilities in leveraging collaborative platforms for discussion on political inclusion and electoral participation of young men, women and persons with disability in Nigeria.
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