British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Paul Arkwright has commended YIAGA Africa and young Nigerians for securing the passage of the Age Reduction Bill, popularly referred to as #NotTooYoungToRun Bill by both National and State Houses of Assembly, as the bill awaits Presidential assent. Mr. Arkwright stated this during the Commonwealth Big Lunch event on Thursday in Abuja.
The Big Lunch event had participants from various Youth Organizations in attendance, including YIAGA Africa. In his address, Mr. Arkwright noted that, the Big Lunch event in Nigeria is themed around Youths who are important to the Commonwealth as 60 per cent of Commonwealth Nations citizens are below 30 years of age. He further stated that, 40 per cent of the world youth live in Commonwealth countries and 1 Billion people living in Commonwealth countries are under 25 years of age.
The High Commissioner noted that, activities of youth organizations are important to the Commonwealth and matters to the future of Nigeria as well, saying young people in Nigeria face challenges and the good work youth organizations carry out provide solutions to those challenges.
Citing example of efforts of young people in Nigeria, the High Commissioner stated, “For example, you should all be proud of your role to secure the passage of the #NotTooYoungToRun Bill, a reform that has been long overdue and a reform that I and a number of other High Commissioners here present have also supported. I was delighted to meet the YIAGA Group earlier and many congratulations to you for pushing through. I hope that it leads and open the doors to greater youth participation in politics and in policy making throughout Nigeria.”
“Activities of youth organizations are very important to the Commonwealth and matters to the future of Nigeria. British Prime Minister Theresa May have put youth at the heart of the upcoming CommonWealth Summit in London. She has invited youth delegates to address commonwealth leaders in New York in September to talk about their vision for the Commonwealth”, he said
Employment, Climate Change, Peace and Security and how to improve trade amongst Commonwealth countries are all part of the agenda for the September Summit according to the High Commissioner.
“At the Summit before the leaders meet, there will be a Commonwealth Youth Forum that will provide the opportunity for young people of the Commonwealth to build cross-cultural connections and networks to debate the challenges facing young people and to agree youth-led initiatives to influence decision makers and to ensure young people have a voice in their future”, he added
“I encourage you to see the Commonwealth as a network and vehicle for supporting your campaigns on behalf of young people in Nigeria. My team and I look forward to working with you on the commitment that would be made at the London Summit.
The future of Nigeria is the future of young people and if young people are not included in that debate, then the future of Nigeria will but be a happy one. I am confident that it will be a happy one because people like you will be involved and I encourage you to stay involved and get involved in elections and vote. Make sure your votes count”, he concluded.