Young leaders with eyes on the 2019 elections on Wednesday held a summit in Abuja on how to achieve a generational shift in the leadership of Nigeria.
The Emerging Political Leaders (EPL) Summit was organised under the theme “From Aspiration to Candidacy: Strategies to Winning Elections.”
According to the organisers, its aim was to bring aspirants below 50 years together at a platform for effective networking and engagement with political party leaders, with a view to ensuring those with the most feasible programmes make it into the ring for the elections.
It wants to ensure no one is excluded from standing in elections for lack of resources or political platform.
The summit focused on major issues that affect young aspirants such as articulating candidacy, finding a political party, process of nomination, primaries, funding and how to become the flag bearer of a party.
Held at the Ya’ardua Centre, the event drew young aspirants from various political parties and movements, most of them presidential aspirants.
They include Ayodele Favour of Young Progressive Party, Aliyu Abdullahi of National Rescue Movement and Yunusa Tanko of National Conscience Party.
The convener, Wale Alabi, said it was the third time the summit was holding, with the previous occasions featuring a lot of discussions.
The third edition, he said however, was to discuss the practical ways to go from an aspirant to becoming a candidate of a party.
“We are doing this to build a platform that in the next few months we can have more vibrant, more intellectual young people in position of leadership,” Mr Alabi said.
“What are the professionals doing? How many professional are in politics? Do we really have what it takes to change the status quo?” he asked.
Mr Favour warned the gathering that one could not keep doing the same thing and expect a different result, stressing there was need for something different to be done.
Another aspirant, Mr Abdullahi, said the old leaders have cloned the thinking of Nigerians to be about money while they focus on power, knowing full well money comes with power.
This mentality, he said, must be changed because citizens are chasing money which at the end of the day they never get while the leaders get both power and money he said they hoard from the public.
Mr Tanko, who was the chairman of the discussion, spoke on issues that affect young aspirants, from nomination to party candidacy and funding, noting the several process involved in moving from an aspirant to a candidate.
Noting that being political is not enough to govern, he said it is not enough to have aspirations but one must be a card carrying member of a party, understand and be in line with the party’s manifesto and constitution, show commitment and dedication to the party and, most importantly, be involved in grassroots mobilisation.
The summit which was said to be under the co-chairmanship of a former governor of Cros River State, Donald Duke, and former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Ghali Na’Abba. Neither of them attended.
Babafemi Ojudu, Ayisha Osori, Mike Igini, Kabiru Turaki, Kingsley Moghalu and Omoyele Sowoore were among the listed key speakers who did not turn up at the event.