In its effort to change the narrative of politics in Nigeria, an international non-governmental organisation has launched the Politics With Values campaign in partnership with a network of young Nigerians.
The Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD) says it is working with young Nigerian politicians to strengthen democracy in the country.
Speaking at the Workshop on Leadership Development and Inclusion of Underrepresented groups in Politics with Values, in Abuja on Wednesday, the Country Representative of WFD, Adebowale Olorunmola, said there is a need to change the narrative on how politics is played in Nigeria.
He said the campaign, which is being implemented on the platform of the Inclusive and Accountable Politics (IAP) programme funded by the Department of International Development (DFID), will engage with political parties and the legislature to work towards changing the negative narratives about politics.
“Politics with Values campaign is targeted at promoting positive values in Nigeria’s politics against the backdrop of the need for change in the values that have pervaded the entire politics since her return to democracy in 1999.
“The campaign will engage with political parties and the legislature to, among other objectives, work towards changing the negative narratives about politics by emphasizing core positive and democratic values that are fundamental for improving the inclusion and quality political participation of young persons, as well as effective and value-based representation of citizen.
“Towards this, forty (40) young male and female volunteers who are interested in participating in politics were trained at a Master Class, to monitor and evaluate the legislature and political parties, using value-based scorecards,” he said.
The Inter Advisory Council President, Peter Ameh, said the campaign was coming at a time when the sustainability of democracy in Nigeria has become fundamental.
He urged young people to join political parties and make themselves relevant if they hope to change the narrative.
“It is very key to belong to a political party. You must belong to a political party because the most important thing in our democratic governance and practice is participation. It’s very important because if you don’t participate, nobody is coming to the house to pick you.
“And the price you pay for not participating is that you get inferior people to govern you,” he said.
He added that politics in Nigeria drives everything and that the young generation of leaders need to bring values to politics for the desired change in Nigeria.
The founder of ASPIRE Women Forum, Zainab Marwa-Abubarkar, said there is a lack of inclusiveness of women in politics in Nigeria.
She said Nigeria has a very small number of women in both elective and appointive positions.
WFD’s engagement in Nigeria supports sustainable democratic growth, through inclusive citizen participation and strengthened institutions capable of accountable governance sponsored by the Department for International Development (DFID) and the Foreign and Commonwealth office (FCO) in the UK.