The initiative tagged #SixtyPercentOfUs will hopefully see 60 per cent of eligible young voters register collect their Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs) and vote in the 2023 elections. This the organisations hope to achieve by using traditional and non-traditional tools of political mobilisation.
The project is also aimed at leveraging a large number of potential first-time voters – majorly Nigerians who have just attained the legal age of 18, which translates to about 18-20 million youth.
Although young people between the ages of 18-35 make up 51.1 per cent of registered voters, only 46 per cent of these voters turned out to vote in the 2019 elections – a situation the UNDP described as a missed opportunity for young people to shape governance in Nigeria.
The organisations assured that the missed opportunity can be reversed with a political mobilisation strategy premised on innovation, inclusion, collaboration, consistency, and context-specific interventions.
Speaking at the launch of the project in Abuja, the UNDP Nigeria Resident Representative, Mohammed Yahya, said besides the need for democracy in Nigeria to flourish, there is also the need for young people to participate in all the electoral processes.
This, he said, is because young Nigerians and women can act as catalysts for social change and good governance simply by participating in the election process.
“Their enthusiasm, resilience, and creativity need to be harnessed, paired with the right platforms and opportunities for engagement, to help catalyse important changes in Nigeria’s political system.”
On his part, Yiaga’s Executive Director, Samson Itodo, said Nigerian youth do not only have the numbers to determine elections but can also vote for good governance.
He said the initiative is not just to push for huge numbers of young people to come out and vote, but to also vote for issues and for candidates that will deliver the good governance Nigerians yearn for.
He explained that some key focus of the project includes the use of technology to vote, #thepowerof18 (aimed at supporting young Nigerians with brilliant ideas on how to mobilise more youth to register and vote), ensuring that more women and persons with disabilities are included.
Another focus is working with the electoral umpire, INEC, to develop content targeted at getting young people to register and vote, providing a means of transportation for CVR and PVC collection. as well as citizens’ and candidates’ debates.
The project, he said, will elevate politics beyond recognition and ethnicity.
The project will also define Nigerians’ issues and strategies across religions while leveraging every platform, Cynthia Mbamalu, Yiaga’s Director of Programs noted.
She also said besides unifying the messages of the Nigerian youth, the project is aimed at making sure women, who make up a huge percentage of voters in an election, show power and strength come 2023.
According to the UNDP, the project aims to achieve the following objectives through the various activities that will be carried out:
Increase youth voter turnout in the 2023 election from 33.5 per cent to 60 per cent (which is 29 million young voters) through traditional and non-traditional means in order to ensure that young people play a significant role in determining the next set of leaders for Nigeria.
Empower young women and men to build a community of young civic actors who are passionate about democracy.
Complement INEC’s voter mobilisation initiative through youth mobilization, digital campaigns and offline campaigns.
Build a solid peer-to-peer voter-mobilisation system to build a Nigeria where young people, with their large numbers, can determine the next set of leaders.
The #SixtyPercentOfUs initiative will focus on states with low voter registration and PVC rates across the country to ensure that there is a high turnout of youth voter turnout in the 2023 elections.
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