A civil group, Ernest and Ibrahim Foundation, has urged Nigerian youth to develop skills and competences before seeking elective positions.
The group’s founder, Ernest Nwosu, spoke at the #FixingNigeria National Youth Conference (second edition) on “Promoting Good Governance & Active Youth Participation in Politics.”
The event was held in Abuja on Tuesday.
Mr Nwosu said for a young person to contest the 2019 election, “the candidate must have built a level of competence in business, leadership and people management.”
“Three C’s are essential in the democratic process especially for candidates contesting a particular position: Character, Competence and Capacity are the major core values of the process,” he said.
Mr Nwosu said this is the best time to educate the youth on the importance of their mandate and their ideologies for contesting in the 2019 general election.
Similarly, Samson Itodo, a promoter of the ‘Not Too Young To Run Bill ‘said Nigeria needs an accountable, innovative and responsible leadership in order to promote and sustain democracy. He noted that the current model “we have is not providing for that kind of leadership.”
According to Mr Itodo, “the country is in a fix and needs to be fixed. We have not succeeded in diversifying our economy and the resources we have as a people. There are issues of insecurity, violation of human rights and other issues that contradict the values of democracy,” he said.
Mr Itodo said the nation is advancing in democratic expedition as it has gotten regular elections since 1999.
“Regular election does not translate to democracy though elections are the cardinal point of democracy. There is still the issue of cohesion within the parties, and we are still struggling with basic internal party democracy and ideology.”
He said most political parties do not uphold the values of accountability and transparency.
Mr Itodo said the parties have no regards for the constitution, “policies they wrote and even deny their campaign promises and manifestos”.
“Nigerians need to vote for people who have what it takes to meet the needs and challenges that have held us back. It is essential for the leaders to feel concerned about the welfare and security of the citizens, It is important for the 68 million Nigerian youth to vote and monitor our votes count,” he said
Ayisha Osori, author of “ Love Does Not Win Election” said the youth need to be more active in the political space.
“Using presidential election as yardstick, less than half of the registered voters come out to vote. Being involved and protecting democracy is about caring about the foundations of elections which are political parties,” Ms Osori said.
According to her, major decisions are made in the political parties, therefore it is important to belong to one.
She urged the youth to focus on values in the selection of political candidates and in the value chain of election and safe guarding of the votes.
“Organising values centre on how young people come together to a pursue a common goal, even the legislators are not left out of bad governance. It should not matter if we are voting a Southerner, Northerner, Westerner or Easterner, we should be able to identify the qualities we want in our candidates and the candidates Nigeria needs,” she said.
“Nation building cannot fully take place without supporting our country and defending her against adversaries of progress,” Rukayya Ibrahim-Iyayi, student affairs manager, Baze University, said.
Ms Ibrahim-Iyayi also said Nigerians need to unite together and appreciate their differences, complexities and diversity in order to become true patriots .
“We are Nigerians and Nigeria is us, if we uphold her, we too shall be honoured. If we continue to let her down,we will be looked down upon and we must remember that great nations were not built by government, they were built by passion and zeal of citizens demanding for what they deserve and love,” Ms Ibrahim-Iyayi said.