Political Parties as the Bane of Youth Candidacy – Linda Chiahoake

It is becoming a sour taste as the new voices and energy ushered in through the signing and passing in of the Not Too Young to Run bill gradually fades into extinct. The bill which had cause uproar of excitement across Nigeria especially among the youths can now be said to be an unattainable reality. Many Nigerian youths have over the inception of the bill indicated interest for different offices come 2019 with the help of the bill which serves as a tale of faith, hope and a chance for transformation. The bill since inception becomes a well-defined setting and a realistic backbone for youth inclusion. Unfortunately, months after the Not Too Young to Run bill was signed into law, the hope and young aspirants enthusiasm to run for different positions come 2019 seems to have reduced to a large.

This may not be unconnected to the fact that political parties are adamant in maintaining outrageous nomination fees irrespective of awareness created by the Not Too Young To Run Movement. The Movement in collaboration with other Civil Society Organisations and volunteers, carried out several advocacies which included a National Day of Action across the federation with the aim of ensuring Youth candidacy and reduced cost of party nomination forms along with democratic primaries.   The movement advocated for equal level-playing field for all aspirants during party primaries to ensure a transparent process.

Unfortunately, the alarming amount at which the forms were sold made sure many young aspirants had to reconsider their stand, some had recoiled back into their shell while others have decided to withdraw and come back in 2023. However, some young aspirants were determined to pursue their quest even with the high cost of obtaining a nomination form. Some also have termed Nigeria to be a country where only the rich have the power to rule.

Data from the Ready To Run movement showed that most of the young aspirants losing interest in running for various offices are those who are unable to meet up with the purchase of the party forms within the stipulated time of purchase. With the Not Too Young To Run campaign and advocacy, one will expect the cost of party forms will be made relatively affordable considering young aspirants who may not have attain that level of affluence like older aspirants. This high cost in party forms goes a long way to question the obvious, that is, if the interest of the youths were captured while passing the bill or if it was just a mere stunt for publicity and part of political campaign.

According to Sam Namo a young aspirant vying for the office of senate has frowned at the high cost of party form. Another young aspirant has suggested that the’ Not Too Young to Run’ be change to ‘Not Too Poor to Run’. As funny as this suggestion may look, it is a perfect picture that clearly shows the frustrations and predicaments of young aspirants whose dream for a better Nigeria gradually fades to thin air.

As usual, the typical Nigeria campaign circle revolves around the elites and the older generation, while youth inclusiveness which is the panacea for transformation of Nigeria from its status to a more purposeful Nation gradually becomes an unobtainable possibility. With all these, one will raise a quizzical brow as to when will the interest of youth be captured in a country that is bent on maintaining a vintage and orthodox methodology and system.

Linda Chiahaoke is a Youth Corp Member serving at YIAGA AFRICA



Gabriel Gutap WTV Zonal Program Officer

Plateau State LGA Election : A template for Nigeria’s Fragile Democracy – Gabriel Gutap

There is a strong belief that democracy is for the good of the masses and is popularly defined as a ‘government of the people, by the people and for the people’. However, the gross misconduct, manipulations and undemocratic nature of some politicians and their political parties often gives an impression that the will of the people doesn’t matter when pitted against the personal interest of the politicians. This causes a loss of confidence in the system on the part of the citizens.

The recently concluded Plateau State Local Government election has become the latest template to describe a flawed electoral process as independent observers who keenly observed the process raised serious concerns about the credibility of the process. Right from the pre-election phase, observer group, called Plateau State Coalition on Electoral Reforms and Good Governance (PLASCER) complained about the poor engagement of stakeholders before the election, thereby limiting the information about the process in the public domain and ultimately resulting in poor voter information and education.

Report also has it that parties that contested in the Plateau State Local Government Elections Also, were passive in engaging the electoral process before the election. These factors set the stage for public distrust in the process from the onset and put the integrity of Plateau State Independent Electoral Commission (PLASIEC)

Doubts in the process began to creep in when on the Election Day (10th October 2018), there was a notable delay in the arrival of PLASIEC polling agents and materials in some parts of Langtang North, Langtang South, Qua’anpan, Shendam, Pankshin and other LGAs. This was followed by reports of malpractices such as use of ballot papers which had already been thumb printed, ballot box snatching, multiple voting, incidences of fake result sheets, and cases of underage voting in most LGAs. One of the most disturbing occurrences was the absconding of Returning Officers (ROs) in some Local Governments, and in the case of Mikang Local Government, Election Officials (EOs) and Retuning Officer (RO) disappeared at some point during the collation of results. Similarly, in Bassa and Bokkos LGA’s, the Retuning Officers absconded before the final collation of results, but winners were announced at the PLASIEC State Headquarters and hurriedly sworn in by the Governor. In Lantang North and Mangu, results came in but were not collated at the Local Government level and the elections in those Local Governments were declared inconclusive for no justifiable reason.

The election process was largely marred by irregularities and gross misconduct that were showcased in the open. The electorate frowned at the process and protested en-masse. As tensions were raised, violence erupted in Mikang and Qua’anpan LGA’s where youth attempted to burn the PLASIEC offices. In Bassa LGA, Hon. Sarah Balis’s house was set a blazed (the woman who emerged as the winner of the election).

This farce of an election raises the question about the fate of democracy in Nigeria, where the will of the people is not respected, no legitimate government can emerge. This must be corrected before the 2019 General Election for the unity and progress of the country.


legality of INEC


On October 9th, 2018, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), in an official communication, declared the All Progressives Congress (APC) ineligible to field candidates for all elective positions in Zamfara State in the 2019 general elections. This was on the basis of the party’s failure to meet the October 7 2018 deadline for conducting primaries to elect candidates for the 2019 General Elections as stipulated in the Timetable and Schedule of Activities for 2019 General Elections released by INEC in January 2018.

As contained in the Timetable, political parties were mandated to conduct primaries to nominate candidates for various elective positions in the 2019  General Elections between August 18th and  October 7th 2018. By virtue of Section 87 of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended), political parties seeking to nominate candidates for any election must hold primaries (direct or indirect primaries) to nominate candidates. Even where there is only one aspirant in a political party for an elective position, a political party is still mandated by section 87(6) of the Electoral Act to convene a special convention or congress to ratify the aspirant’s
nomination. Consequently, complying with the deadline to hold primaries as stipulated in the Timetable is a mandatory step for every political party seeking to participate in the 2019 General election.

Download the Full detailed discussion paper the Constitutional Power of INEC and its legality to bar political parties from fielding candidates for elections

Legality of INEC Decision to Decline List of Party Candidates


WTV Party primary reports

WatchingTheVote Report on the Observation of Party Primaries for 2019 Elections

YIAGA AFRICA, is a civic non-governmental organization promoting democracy, governance and development in Africa through advocacy, research and capacity building. Our mission is to build democratic societies anchored on the principles of inclusion, justice, transparency and accountability. Our thematic areas of work include Elections; Legislative Engagement; Youth and Accountability & Justice. YIAGA AFRICA Watching The Vote is Nigeria’s largest citizens-led electoral integrity movement dedicated to the promotion of credible elections, civic participation and democratic accountability. YIAGA AFRICA has been involved in election observation since 2007 and it is one of the leading organizations working on elections in Nigeria.

Download Full Report of YIAGA AFRICA’s Watching The Vote Party Primaries Observation Below

Watching The Vote Report on Party Primaries for 2019 Elections