Having successfully trained young people across 34 states in Nigeria on Campaign, Advocacy and Movement Building (CAMB), YIAGA AFRICA on Wednesday revealed that its coordinators have successfully conducted 26 Town Hall meetings across Nigeria on promoting Inclusion of Youth in Government for Development.
Speaking during the evaluation and impact assessment workshop in Abuja, YIAGA AFRICA’s Program Officer on Youth, Ibrahim said, increased youth participation in governance in Nigeria has gradually become the topic of discussion in Nigeria’s political space as history is witnessing a huge rise in the competence and availability of Nigerian youths to contest for public office.
According to Ibrahim, the clamor by youths for inclusive governance has also evolved the conversation on youth affirmative action. “Presently, some competent Nigerian youth’s political ambitions are thwarted by the age long reason of “inexperience”, experience which can only be derived from stewardship or being given the opportunity to prove that knowledge gained is proportionate to the job description”, he said. Youth affirmative action according to Faruk is the only policy that can ensure competent young Nigerians have a space at the decision-making table in Nigeria.
According to Ibrahim, “YIAGA AFRICA, with support from Ford Foundation elevated the discourse on youth affirmative action when she trained a cohort of 34 youths from the different states in Nigeria and West Africa on campaign, advocacy and movement building (CAMB) and equipped them with advocacy, organizing and mobilizing skills”.
“All organizers also conducted National Days of Action to political parties with demands for youth tickets, direct and democratic party primaries. This has yielded a crowd of young political aspirants in almost all political parties”, he said
Ibrahim said, a large chunk of organizers shared their experiences as skilled organizers. They also implemented activities which have been attributed to the knowledge gained during the CAMB training. Some of their shared experiences are captured in the context of their state engagement.
Speaking with one of the youth organizers from Ogun State, Adefemi Adeleke Soneye attributed the success of his townhall meeting the to the lessons learned on partnership as he leveraged on established institutions like INEC and local leaders in state to achieve more from the campaign. According to Sanusi Mabera from Sokoto state, the state was confronted with political crisis as political parties were at war with each other. Amid all the drama, he was able to use his negotiation and organizing skills to bring members of all political parties together to understand the need for youth inclusion that can only begin when political parties give youths tickets.
Similarly, Joy Ehiozie Eghaghe from Delta state said she was able to leverage on the power of storytelling. She got audience with the Commissioner of Youths and Development in Delta State and explained the importance of a gathering of young people, political parties, INEC and key stakeholders to discuss the political future of Nigerian youths. The commissioner donated a bus to convey students for the townhall meeting and a beneficiary of the meeting who is the Student Union Government – President of Delta State University, Abraka is now a political aspirant.
In Katsina State, Abdulrahman Zubairu was able to leverage on emotions to connect with his target audience. He was able to build relationships and seek commitments from his partners. He ensured that INEC brought more computers to his local government, Funtua, in Katsina state. With more computers, needed more manpower, he also mobilized a group of young people to man the computers. The volunteers who are now named the ‘checklist movernment’ registered a total of 5,000 new voters. This makes Funtua local government the 2nd largest number of registered voters in Katsina state.
There are series of other success stories that have been attributed to the CAMB training. YIAGA AFRICA Initiative is committed to ensuring that the CAMB organizers continue to Promote inclusive governance for development in Nigeria while strengthening the network of community organizers with a sustained drive for advocacy, community engagement and peer learning.