Ready To Run Movement: Another Opportunity For Young People To Make A Statement

Written by Uzor Darlington 

Recently, there have been a lot of claims from the ruling elites in Nigeria that young people are not ready to run for elective political office, allegedly due to lack of experience and capacity. However, there is good news. Born out of the Not Too Young To Run campaign is the Ready To Run; a non-partisan movement dedicated to inspiring young men and women to run for public office. The movement aims to make a statement that young people have immense capacity to address Africa’s governance challenges.

Ready To Run movement is the first of its kind in Africa, practically ready to train, profile and support young aspirants running for different elective offices, compared to other platforms that only encourage youth participation in governance. Ready To Run will locate competent youths, with integrity and character who are interested in running for elective office, inspire them to successfully run for public office and win, support young aspirants with capacity building, promotion and resources, and link aspirants to training opportunities etc.

The independence of African states from colonial rule signaled strong prospects and hope for a better and prosperous continent. However, that hope never stood the true test of time as it seemed to have been dashed by the plagues of bad leadership, corruption and mismanagement. This is not unconnected to the sad fact that, despite abundance of human and natural resources, Africa is still characterized by penury and underdevelopment.

Africa is unarguably one of the most endowed, fertile regions of the world and the richest continent on earth in terms of natural resources. But today, the image of the world’s most resourced rich continent has been damaged by corruption, mismanagement and bad leadership. Using Nigeria as a case study; abject poverty, infrastructural decay, the king of the jungle; high rate of unemployment pervade the land and mostly corruption—these and more developed out of failure in leadership, mismanagement of resources and corruption, and this has kept Africa and Nigeria in perpetual under-development.

Nigeria in particular has suffered from these menaces more than other African countries. According to the African Development Bank (AFDB), about 152 million Nigerians live on less than $2 a day, representing about 80 percent of the country’s estimated 190 million population. According to the AFDB, which stated this in its 2018 Nigeria Economic Outlook, the level of poverty in the country is unacceptably high.

The experiences of many Middle Eastern and North African countries during the 2011/2012 Arab uprisings show both of these dynamics at work. Youths played a central role in overthrowing autocratic rule in Egypt, Libya and Tunisia, sparking protest movements across the Middle East. Young people in the Middle East, especially the growing urban youth population, have been hurt by low wages, unemployment and high food prices that have exacerbated their livelihood.

We must remember that Nigeria is a young nation and was one of those at the forefront for the struggle for African independence. We must also remember that young people have always designed the promise of this country. The heroes of our past, our founding fathers, people like Nnamdi Azikiwe, Tafawa Balewa, Saudauna of Sokoto, Aminu Kano, or Obafemi Awolowo, initiated and realized the most important projects of their lives as young people.

Despite comprising more than half of the Nigerian total population, her youths have been historically marginalized from entering political space be it at the state or federal level. Aspiring to increase youth’s participation in Nigerian politics, the YIAGA Africa launched the #NotTooYoungToRun campaign which is a movement of youths and civil society groups advocating for the reduction of age for running for elective offices to mainstream young men and women in electoral politics.

We can agree that the Not Too Young To Run is Nigeria’s largest and most successful youth movement in recent times. The movement is driven by the compelling need to restructure the country’s political system, to address the deeply entrenched and undemocratic political exclusion, to institute inclusive politics, transformative leadership and electoral competitiveness in the electoral process. The historic Bill which was recently signed into law by President Muhammad Buhari will definitely increase the number of young people running for various elective offices, especially with the help of the Ready To Run campaign. Ready To Run is poised to solve this African Leadership problems by grooming ethnical young leaders with innovative ideas, capacity and character to change the narrative come 2019.

 

Uzor Darlington is a passionate youth activist and development enthusiast. He is a Program Officer for the (Ready to Run) team at the Youth Department of YIAGA Africa.

PRESS RELEASE: VICTORY FOR THE ANTI-CORRUPTION CRUSADE

Another Victory for Anti-Corruption Fight

The war against corruption in Nigeria recorded another victory as two ex-governors were convicted for misappropriation of public funds. Jolly Nyame was convicted by a high court of the Federal Capital Territory to serve a jail term of fourteen (14) years for diverting N1.64 billion, while Joshua Dariye was also sentenced to fourteen (14) years for misappropriating N1.16 billion ecological funds while he governed the state between 1999-2007. This feat clearly shows that the fight against corruption and impunity is gradually becoming a reality and we hope to see more of this across board.

YIAGA Africa would like to commend the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for this laudable stride in ensuring that justice prevailed despite the length of time involved. Also, YIAGA Africa would like to commend Justice Adebukola Banjoko who deserves some accolades for dispensing justice without fear or favor while calling on other judges of the appellate courts to exhibit boldness in ensuring that justice prevails at all times so as to restore public confidence in the judiciary and ensure that the administration of the Criminal Justice Act 2015 is implemented.

This shows that the fight against corruption can only succeed with the cooperation of the judiciary and sets a precedent for a string of similar pending cases. The convictions of Jolly Nyame and Joshua Dariye are a good step in the right direction and would boost anti-corruption efforts and potentially help to speed up pending cases; it also gives hope to ordinary Nigerians that the long arm of the law will always catch up with corrupt public office holders. With the diligence of the EFCC in prosecuting these cases, we are hopeful the nation will witness more convictions of former corrupt political office holders.

Corruption is a deep rooted problem which has taken its toll on the government, people, infrastructure, business and life of the average Nigerian. The impact of corruption perpetuated by the likes of Joshua Dariye and Jolly Nyame is the reason why we have hindered growth and development in the country. Lack of basic amenities, low level of qualitative education and the fact that millions of Nigerians die due to poor health care system is a direct consequence of corruption. It is against this back drop that YIAGA Africa launched the Bounce Corruption Project to among other things, urge Nigerians to own the anti-corruption fight by holding their leaders to account and blow the whistle where they detect a corrupt act.

YIAGA Africa wishes to implore the government of Nigeria and the EFCC to take the anti-corruption crusade a step further by recovering stolen monies and investing it in public service to benefit the state. YIAGA Africa is a non-profit organization that promotes democratic governance, human rights and youth political participation.

Signed

Executive Director

YIAGA AFRICA

YIAGA Africa commends EFCC over conviction of Dariye, Nyame

Another Victory for Anti-Corruption Fight

The war against corruption in Nigeria recorded another victory as two ex-governors were convicted for misappropriation of public funds. Jolly Nyame who was convicted by a high court of the Federal Capital Territory to refund monies diverted and serve a jail term of fourteen (14) years for diverting N1.64 billion, while Joshua Dariye was also convicted to serve a jail term of fourteen (14) years for misappropriating N1.16 billion ecological funds while he governed the state between 1999-2007. This feat clearly shows that the fight against corruption and impunity is gradually becoming a reality and we hope to see more of this thread across board.

YIAGA Africa commends the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for this laudable stride for ensuring that justice prevailed despite the length of time involved. YIAGAAFRICA also commends Justice Adebukola Banjoko who deserves some accolades for dispensing justice without fear or favor. This shows that the fight against corruption can only succeed with the cooperation of the judiciary and sets a precedent for a string of similar pending cases.

The convictions of Jolly Nyame and Joshua Dariye are a good step in the right direction and would boost anti-corruption efforts and potentially help to speed up pending cases, with the diligence of the EFCC on prosecuting these cases. We are hopeful the nation will witness more convictions of former corrupt political office holders.  YIAGA Africa also wishes to urge the Appeal and Supreme Court to ensure that justice prevails at all times to restore public confidence in the judiciary

Corruption is a deep rooted problem which has taken its toll on the government, people, infrastructure, business and life of the average Nigerian. The impact of corruption in Nigeria is felt by every layer of the population. People have to survive in the country where rules can be omitted if you have money and this has tremendously widened the gap between the poor and the rich which has led to lack of good roads and portable water, poor educational and health facilities. It is on this basis that YIAGA Africa launched the Bounce Corruption Project to among other things, urge Nigerians to support the anti-corruption fight by holding their leaders to account and blow the whistle where they detect a corrupt act.

YIAGA Africa wishes to implore the government of Nigeria and the EFCC to take it a step further by recovering these stolen monies and invest it in public service that will benefit the state.

 

Signed

Executive Director

YIAGA AFRICA