254 Days to 2019 Elections: Electronic Collation and Transmission of Election Results

By Anthonia Adi

Nigeria needs a better electoral system that will eliminate rigging; electoral fraud, and other irregularities to ensure free, fair, credible and transparent electoral process, and this can be done by the adoption and use of electronic collation and transmission of election result. Electronic collation and Transmission of election results is the use of electronic software to send results directly from the polling Units to the INEC database. This to a reasonable level will help detect election malpractices in our electoral system.

In 2012 and 2016, Ghana deployed strong digital components for their elections. In similar light, Namibia held the continent’s first ever digital election in 2014. Currently, Zimbabwe is mulling the use of biometric voter recognition in 2018 while Botswana is considering conducting fully digital elections in 2019. Sources also reveal that  Nigeria is warming up to use electronic collation and transmissions of election result come 2019.

 

The provisions to allow for Electronic Transmission and Collation of Election Results in the amended Electoral Act as passed by the National Assembly if assented will be to help move the nation forward. It  will give room for Free, fair and credible elections, and also will reduce the time between voting activities and results publication to the barest minimum, as manipulation of election is often done between voting and the announcement of the results. Generally, it  will enhance the election result management system by ensuring the accurate and transparent management of election results from polling units to the INEC Database. There is a saying which goes thus: “Whoever cast the votes, decide nothing, and those who count the votes decide everything”.

 

The huge cost associated with the deployment is, however, a factor to be considered. The fact that a technology-based election may run a higher risk of uncertain performance failure and can potentially destabilize the process of an election if the situation is not well managed. Like in 2015 general elections, though not widespread, the Smart Card readers failed to capture fingerprints and verify cards in some polling units which led to the spill of elections to the next day. Also during the 2016 Ghana general elections, the Electoral Commission had to abandon electronic transmission of results and resort to manual collation, with the Commission explaining that its electronic systems may have been compromised. If the risk are well manage it will go a long way to improve and build citizens confidence in the electoral process in the country.

Using Electronic devices for collation and transmission of election results will eliminate results manipulation by reducing manual intervention to the barest minimum, significantly promote transparency and accuracy of election results and make the process verifiable for everyone.

 

Card reader Image credit: Independent News

 

Anthonia Adi is a Research Officer for YIAGA AFRICA and Zonal Program Officer for South-East under YIAGA’s Watching the Vote.

 

 

Convener Not Too Young To Run, Samson Itodo

Not Too Young To Run: A story of people, power and democratic renewal (I) – Samson Itodo

Nigeria operates a rigid constitution. Rigid constitutions by their nature are complicated and painstaking to change. It takes time, effort and resources to insert a comma, full stop or delete a word from a rigid constitution. This is attributed to the cumbersome amendment process prescribed in the law that makes it nearly impossible to amend a section of it. As an official document with special legal force, the constitution requires strict adherence to its conditions for amendment. Failure to meet one condition renders an amendment a nullity, resulting in the waste of public resources, as seen in the case of the botched 4th alteration to the constitution under the previous administration.

In order to alter the constitution, a constitutional amendment bill must be introduced and passed by a two-thirds majority of members in each chamber of the National Assembly and must also be approved by a resolution of the Houses of Assembly of no less than two-thirds of all states in the Federation. Section 58 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), makes presidential assent a condition precedent for the passage of bills into law. That means the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria must assent to any bill altering the provisions of the Constitution before it takes effect. In view of this tedious process, it is not misplaced when stakeholders rejoice at the successful passage of a constitutional amendment.

The Not Too Young To Run bill fulfilled all conditions prescribed in the constitution for its passage. The Senate and House of Representatives passed the bill with an overwhelming majority while 33 out of 36 state assemblies adopted the age reduction amendment. May 31, 2018 will be remembered in history as the day democracy won and Nigeria witnessed a true “youthquake.” President Buhari signed the Not Too Young To Run bill into law, reducing the age for running for the office of the President from 40 to 35 years, House of Representatives 30 to 25 and State House of Assembly 30 to 25. He acknowledged Not Too Young To Run as a “landmark piece of legislation conceived, championed and accomplished by young Nigerians.” What an affirmation of youth power! Democracy thrives when citizens assert their sovereignty through active, strategic and systematic engagement with democratic institutions.

The advocacy for age reduction was conducted against the background of a failing state and loss of faith in manifestly weak democratic institutions, such as political parties and parliaments. The weak relationship between the executive and legislature was not only stifling growth, but it was also undermining democracy and governance. Worst still is the prevailing philosophy that public leadership is hinged on service to self, ethnic or religious affiliation, rather than service to the people. Nigerian citizens, particularly young people, were frustrated, disenchanted, and disillusioned with a country where justice is not for all but for a select few who can afford it. Lastly, building consensus in a pluralistic and politically sensitive nation like Nigeria is an arduous undertaking.

The roadmap to the bill’s success was anchored on the trilogy of people, power and democratic Not Too Young To Run as a campaign began in May 2016 with the sponsorship of an age reduction bill in the National Assembly. The decision to engage the National Assembly on this issue was a departure from previous strategies adopted by Youth Action Initiative Africa, now known as YIAGA AFRICA. Previous advocacy strategies were limited to the submission of memoranda and participation in public hearings, but the Not Too Young To Run campaign adopted a more people-driven, disruptive and strategic approach.  Thus, for two years, young people organized and built strategic capacity to push for age reduction.

The campaign was used as a tool to organize its constituents, who are mostly young people, to create the power they need to achieve the common purpose of reducing the age for running for office. From the outset, it was important to ascertain their values, interests and resources as well as their readiness to take strategic actions to address the issue of exclusion which was a common enemy. This was followed by a categorization of the people who share our values and vision into five blocks: Constituents, Leadership, Opposition, Supporters, and Competitors. United by our shared purpose and vision, we then proceeded to build a strong community of people who exercise agency interdependently on behalf of those values or interests. We recruited and developed leadership within our constituency. Driven by our snowflake or interdependent leadership model, we built leadership teams at the national, state, and local government levels to achieve our goals. Every individual or organization involved in the campaign took responsibility for advancing the cause in their sphere of influence. Through it all, the movement remained about the people, not any individual.

Our approach to power and power dynamics contributed in no small measure to the success of our struggle against inequality and gerontocracy. We approach Power as a relationship rather than a status. For us, “power” is the influence created as result of the intersection between interests and resources. The convergence of interests and resources establishes the influence we need to take action.  As a movement, we organized  around two forms of power: “power with” and “power over.” According to Marshall Ganz, “power with” is created just by organizing our resources with others, creating the power we need to affect the change that we want (e.g. community union, or interest groups, etc.), while “power over” refers to situations where others hold power over decisions or resources that is needed to create the change that you want. In such cases, we have to organize our power with others first to claim the resources or decisions that will fulfil our interests.

Through interdependent collaboration, we organized to create power with one another.  We built strategic partnerships with several organizations and stakeholders from different aspects of human endeavor like civil society, trade unions, professional associations, faith-based and community organization etc. Media groups like Channels Television, African Independent Television (AIT), TV Continental, Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), Premium Times, Sahara Reporters, The Cable and YNAIJA played a key role in public sensitization and agenda setting. It also took a collaborative effort to organize series of public demonstrations, advocacy visits, town hall meetings, and public debates to push the campaign. When the Senate and House committee allegedly killed the bill, it took the collaborative power of different actors for it to be rescued.

As a movement, we also organized to challenge ‘power over’ held by decision-makers in the constitution review process. They include; Senate President and Speaker of House of Representatives; Deputy Senate President and Deputy Speaker who act as chairs of constitution review committees; 46 members of Senate committee on constitution review and 47 in the House; Senators and Honorable members; Speakers and members of State Assemblies. The movement also engaged four categories of influencers in our power map – leadership of political parties, traditional/religious leaders, godfathers and drafters and consultants to the committee on constitution review. Four questions guided our engagement with these actors: What change do we want? Who has the resources to create that change? What resources do we have that they need? and What do they want? The demands of the movement were clear – reduce the age for running for office –  but then the power to amend the constitution was vested in the national and state assemblies, not young people. We recognized lawmakers leverage on the youth vote to win elections, hence our campaign that youths will withdraw their vote and support for any legislator who voted against the bill. It worked.

Democratic renewal is specific and concrete. Our demand was specific – open the political space by reducing the age requirements for running for office in the constitution.  As it stands, the age requirement for running for the office of the president, house of representatives and state house of assembly has been reduced and of binding effect. Although this falls short of the demands of the movement, it is a progressive step towards fostering inclusive electoral politics. Maximizing the gains of this landmark constitutional amendment will certainly require increased voter participation in elections. It is therefore crucial for qualified unregistered young voters to participate in the ongoing voter registration, ensure they collect their Permanent Voter Card (PVC), and show up to vote in the 2019 elections.

Samson Itodo is an elections and constitution building enthusiast. He is the Executive Director of YIAGA AFRICA and Convener of the Not Too Young To run movement. Send comments and feedback to [email protected] He tweets @DSamsonItodo

 

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A FINAL WORD: THE BOUNCE CORRUPTION PUBLIC INTEGRITY DEBATE COMPETITION

It was a balmy morning on Thursday, the 31st of May 2018 at Sheraton Hotels, Abuja. The guests began to arrive early, clearly filled with anticipation for the impending moment: the Grand Finale of the Bounce Corruption Public Debate Competition.

It had taken months of consistent traveling, preparations and logistics, short rehearsals and lots of enthusiasm in the drive to fight corruption in Nigeria to get here. Supported by the MacArthur Foundation, the Bounce Corruption Initiative has taken major steps in the persistent advocacy of curbing corruption not just at the corners already affected, but from the grassroots. The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) have also been partners in this mission, prompting the need for more discussions and discernment of why it is necessary to address the issue from where it can affect gravely—our youths.

 

Various debates have earlier been held across select tertiary institutions in the nation’s geopolitical zones. The winners from those phases moved on to the Finale, which was held at the Sheraton Hotels, Abuja. Now vying for success as representative winners of their various Zones, and also as the overall winner of the Competition itself, it was definitely going to be sweat-inducing battle. As done as the former, the teams will have no pre-emptive idea of the topic to be debated on—they will only be told by the Judges at the grounds, and then given minutes to prepare. This idea is to enhance critical thinking and spontaneous ideas, and to give the students a chance to not feel monotony, as one would be if given the luxury of routine and earlier rehearsals. The idea of the Debate is to get the students think quick and more constructively.

As the Judges took their place at the stage, the atmosphere in the room became intense, palatable with expectations. The Judges made up a fine list: they were from reputable positions of offices; most were also already conversant with the program from its initial stages. They consisted of:  Mr Kingsley Obi from the International Corporation Unit of the ICPC, Sam Amaddin, the Head, Enlightenment & Orientation of Public Affairs Unit, EFCC, Dr Funmi Olubode-Sawe from the Nigerian University Debate Council, Kimberly Nawachukwu from Nigerian Info, and Amara Nwankpa, Director of Public Policy, Yar’adua Foundation. The event began with the semi-final stage, which would garner further participation to the finale stage.

The semi-finals began with the topic of the present Anti-corruption crusade. Sectioned into mock groups that represented the Government and the opposing school as the other side, with titles of the first speaker as the Prime Minister, the speaker began her debate by stating that the crusade was misdirected. She began by arguing on the points that Nigeria’s fight against corruption has not changed. Little sums of money were being recovered in comparison with the vast sums that were looted, and recovered funds were not necessarily being managed transparently. The Leader of the Opposition countered that Nigeria had experienced over 100 years of endemic corruption, uninterrupted through independence and all subsequent civilian and military administrations. It seemed like a spar of words, but it was diplomatic and true, making options in-between for various speakers to individually raise questions and demand explanations of points that seemed too ambiguous. Soon the audience began to reel in, following in tandem with the conversation. Step by step, it was imperative to note how the speakers gave resilient points that addressed all aspects of the various steps already initiated to tackle corruption in Nigeria (such as whistle-blowing), how and if those steps have been working and doing enough, and if the Anti-corruption crusade was more of a novelty than an effective motive working to fight corruption. It is also admirable to note how the students were innovative, some using points of law, and even as organic as notable cultural references to buttress their points for better understanding. This made the debate more intriguing, and the audience were fully supportive in their response to every point made.

 

At the Final stage, the points were shortened, sticking to necessary inputs and imaginative ideas for the curb of corruption. Deliberations and decision-makings by the Judges were heightened, but finally there would be one overall winner, which emerged as the University of Ilorin. The Judges praised their abilities to raise points that garnered concrete establishments of their debates, and also by their tenacity to come up with incisive ideas in respect to the topics addressed. However, as this Finale stage was a hurdle that all the selected schools had been successful enough to cross, everyone was a winner in their light, as each school walked away with individual awards and certificates of memberships to acknowledge their participation!

It was indeed a memorable evening, one of joys and smiles as the schools gathered around for one last photograph. One thing that will definitely remain in the hearts of the students, the Judges and above all, the supporters (MacArthur Foundation), the organizer (YIAGA AFRICA) and the partners (EFCC and ICPC), it is that the BounceCorruption Debate Finale was not just a success story, but an example of what happens when hard work, endurance and creativity comes in play. A unified front to establish conversations that will drive the need to get youths engaged in the mission to end corruption in Nigeria.

 

 

 

ICPC Commends YIAGA Africa for Anti-Corruption Debate Competition for Tertiary Institutions Students

Acting Chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), Dr. Musa Usman Abubakar, has commended the Youth Initiative for Advocacy, Growth and Advancement (YIAGA Africa), together with the MacArthur Foundation for investing so much energy, time and resources to organize an anti-corruption debating competition for tertiary institutions across the nation.

Dr. Abubakar made the commendation recently through the Assistant Director, Public Enlightenment Department of ICPC, Edet Ufot, while delivering a goodwill message at the grand finale of the Bounce Corruption Integrity Debate Competition for Students of Tertiary Institutions in Nigeria which took place in Abuja recently.

The ICPC Chairman also used the opportunity to call on other organisations to emulate the noble example of YIAGA Africa by organizing similar events which he said would help to instill and inculcate the virtues of integrity, accountability, and transparency in the youths of Nigeria thereby ensuring a brighter and more prosperous future for the country.

He also commended the participants from 24 universities across the country who had gone through the rigours of the zonal championships and emerged victorious to participate in the grand finale.

Earlier in her opening remarks, Cynthia Mbamalu, Programme Manager, YIAGA, said that the aim of Bounce Corruption was to harness voices of young people especially students against corruption.

She added that corruption was not an issue to be left for government to tackle alone. “It has become an issue that every citizen becomes conscious and concerned about and that is what Bounce Corruption is about,” she said.

She further explained that Bounce Corruption was also aimed at mobilizing citizens across the different states of the federation to begin to ask critical questions, demand for accountability, and lead the fight against corruption.

Mbamalu added that the best ways to mobilise citizens in the fight against corruption was to start with the young people because they are vigorous and have a major stake in the wellbeing of the nation.

“We have longer years to live, meaning that if we do not address the issues of corruption now, we will live to bear the brunt of a system that is failing,” she said.

The climax of the event witnessed presentation of awards to the overall winners and runners-up.

At the end of the debate, University of Ilorin contestants who spoke in favour of the motion that “Nigeria’s Present Anti-Corruption Campaign is being Compromised by Political Considerations” emerged as the overall champions, followed by the University of Lagos which opposed the motion.

Federal University of Technology, Owerri which also opposed the motion came third, while the fourth position went to the University of Calabar.’

Source: ICPC.gov.ng

REMARKS BY H.E. MUHAMMADU BUHARI, PRESIDENT OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA  AT THE SIGNING OF THE NOT-TOO-YOUNG-TO-RUN BILL

The President’s full speech:

REMARKS BY H.E. MUHAMMADU BUHARI, PRESIDENT OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA  AT THE SIGNING OF THE NOT-TOO-YOUNG-TO-RUN BILL, 31ST MAY, 2018, STATE HOUSE, ABUJA

  1. First, I would like to welcome you all to the State House. Today is a significant day for all of us in Nigeria, and most especially our young people – and the role they play in our democracy, politics and national life.
  2. We are gathered here for the signing of the “Not Too Young To Run Bill”, a landmark piece of legislation that was conceived, championed and accomplished by young Nigerians.
  3. The coordinators of the Not Too Young To Run movement have now established a formidable legacy – which is that, in our maturing democracy, if you really want to change something in Nigeria, and if you can organise yourselves and work hard towards it – you can achieve it. The outcome of such efforts is this remarkable feat.
  4. These efforts have resulted in the heroic task of enshrining in law, a reduction of the minimum ages for elective office in Nigeria.
  5. Eligible age for aspirants for members of the State Houses of Assembly will be reduced from 30 to 25 years;
  6. Eligible age for aspirants for members of the Federal House of Representatives will be reduced from 30 to 25 years; and
  7. Eligible age for aspirants for Office of the President, will be lowered from 40 to 35 years.
  8. Surprisingly, the age limits for Senators and Governors was not reduced, as originally proposed by the sponsors of this Bill. This is an issue that may need to be addressed going forward.
  9. Nevertheless, your focus and contributions have now successfully increased the quality and maturity of Nigerian democracy and expanded the playing field for youth participation in politics.
  10. You, the young people of Nigeria, are now set to leave your mark on the political space, just as you have done over the decades in entrepreneurship, sports, art, media entertainment, technology, and several other fields.
  11. You are undoubtedly Nigeria’s most important resource – not oil, not agriculture, not solid minerals – but you and all of us. Your energy, intelligence and talent are what will drive and develop Nigeria, long after we are all gone.
  12. This is an opportunity for me to affirm that this Administration will continue to do everything in its power to make Nigeria work for you.
  13. You may all know that the Bill I just assented now becomes an Act of the National Assembly.
  14. Thus, it may be tempting for you to think of this as the end of the journey. However, it is only the beginning; there is still a lot of work ahead, towards ensuring that young people take full advantage of the opportunities provided not only by this constitutional amendment but also through Nigeria’s boundless prospects.
  15. You should inculcate the spirit of self-help. Those who complete their training should not just sit down and wait for government or private sector to employ them. You should be innovative and turn your hands to any legitimate work that will enable you to sustain yourself.
  16. You may have noticed already that every one of you represents one of our 36 States and the Federal Capital Territory. This is because today is about preparing for the bright future of our country.
  17. I am confident each one of you will transform Nigeria in your own way – whether through media, agricultural enterprise, economists, engineers, or as lawmakers in your States or at Federal levels, or as State Governors – and even someday, as President. Why not?

But please, can I ask you to postpone your campaigns till after the 2019 elections!

  1. Finally, let me say how proud I am, and how proud the entire country is, of what you have accomplished. Congratulations and best of luck with continuing to work to make Nigeria a greater country for us and future generations of Nigerians.
  2. God bless all the young people of Nigeria and God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Buhari signs Not-Too-Young-To-Run Bill

President Muhammadu Buhari has signed the Not-Too-Young-To-Run Bill into law.
The president signed the bill this afternoon inside the Council Chambers of the Aso Rock Presidential Villa in Abuja.

Buhari had, in his Democracy Day broadcast on Tuesday, pledged to sign the bill.

The bill was passed by the National Assembly last year to alter Sections 65, 106, 131, 177 of the Constitution to reduce the age qualification for president from 40 to 30; governor from 35 to 30; senator from 35 to 30; House of Representatives membership from 30 to 25 and State House of Assembly membership from 30 to 25.

Detail later..

 

Source: DailyTrust

I will sign ‘Not Too Young to Run Bill’ – President Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari has said that he will, in a few days’ time, sign into law the ‘Not too young to run’ bill.

The President made this promise in a nationwide broadcast in commemoration of the Democracy Day on Tuesday.

He said, “In a few days to come, I will be joined by many promising young Nigerians to sign into law the ‘Not too young to run’ bill.”

The bill, which is part of the process to amend the 1999 Constitution, seeks to reduce the minimum age requirement for elective positions in the country.

It was first passed by the Senate and the House of Representatives in July 2017. Many state houses of assembly in the country have also passed the bill.

President Buhari also advised all and sundry to be law-abiding as the country enters into another election season.

He said, “The upcoming months will usher us into another season of general elections. Let me use this opportunity to urge us all to conduct ourselves, our wards and our constituencies with the utmost sense of fairness, justice and peaceful co-existence such that we will have not only hitch-free elections but also a credible and violence-free process.”

The President, who reiterated that the fight against graft remained his administration’s primary objective, vowed not to relent in killing corruption before it did an irreparable damage to the nation.

He said, “The second primary objective of this administration is to fight corruption headlong. Like I have always said, if we don’t kill corruption, corruption will destroy the country. Three years into this administration, Nigerians and the international community have begun to applaud our policies and determination to fight corruption. We are more than ever before determined to win this war, however hard the road is. I, therefore, appeal to all well-meaning Nigerians to continue to support us in this fight.

“Various policy measures already put in place to stem the tide of corrupt practices are yielding remarkable results. Some of these key reform policies include: Treasury Single Account, which has realised billions of naira being saved from the maintenance fee payable to banks. N200bn has also been saved from the elimination of ghost workers in public service.”

President Buhari noted that the whistle-blowing policy had helped the government to recover over N500bn.

He added, “The Presidential Initiative on Continuous Audit, set up with a mandate to validate controls, assess risks, prune personnel costs and ensure compliance with Public Financial Management reforms, has helped to identify and remove over 52,000 ghost workers from the Federal Government’s MDAs Payroll.

“The Voluntary Asset and Income Declaration Scheme aimed at expanding tax education and awareness has offered the opportunity for tax defaulters to regularise their status in order to enjoy the amnesty of forgiveness on overdue interest, penalties and the assurance of non-prosecution or subject to tax investigations.”

He explained that the Sovereign Wealth Fund project portfolio had been expanded with an injection of $650m so as to strengthen its investment in local infrastructure, power, health, reconstruction of the Abuja-Kano Road, Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, East-West Road (Section V) and the Mambilla hydro-electric power project as well as the construction of the 2nd Niger Bridge.”

Speaking further on the anti-graft war, Buhari noted that the fight against corruption, through the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission, had resulted in the recovery of billions of naira, as well as the forfeiture of various forms of assets.

He said, “We have retained the services of one of the world’s leading assets tracing firms to investigate and trace assets globally. This is in addition to the exploitation of provisions of existing treaties, conventions as well as bilateral agreements with multilateral bodies and nations. Nigeria has also signed Mutual Legal Assistance Agreements to ensure that there is no hiding place for fugitives.”

Buhari added that through prudent spending and blocking of leakages, the nation’s foreign reserves had improved to $47.5bn as of May, 2018, as against $29.6bn in 2015.

The inflationary rate, he added, had consistently declined every month since January, 2017.

The President, who applauded women for their contributions to national development and advancement of democracy, also urged Nigerians to avoid hatred and intolerance.

This, he said, would help the country to achieve its developmental objectives in an atmosphere of harmony and peaceful co-existence.

He listed his achievements in the last three years to include increase food security programme built around self-sufficiency and minimisation of import dependency.

Specifically, he said rice importation had been cut down by 90 per cent, which he noted had a direct impact on foreign reserves.

Others, he said, included Social Investment Programmes, Home Grown School Feeding Programme, and Conditional Cash Transfer where underprivileged Nigerians were given N5, 000 per month.

The President described the commemoration of 2018 Democracy Day, which is the third anniversary of his administration, as a celebration of freedom for Nigerians.

He said the celebration was also a recommitment by his government to keep its promise to lead Nigeria into a new era of justice and prosperity.

Buhari admitted that his administration had faced challenges in the journey of three years while Nigerians stood by his government in achieving its three cardinal points.

He said, “Today marks the 19th year of our nascent democracy and the 3rd Anniversary of this administration. I am thankful to Almighty God for bringing us thus far.

“This administration came at a time that Nigerians needed change, the change we promised and the change we continue to deliver.

“We have faced a lot of challenges on this journey and Nigerians have stood by us in achieving the three cardinal points of this administration namely; security, corruption and the economy.

“The commemoration of this year’s Democracy Day is a celebration of freedom, a salute to the resilience and determination of Nigerians and a recommitment by Government to keep its promise to lead Nigeria into a new era of justice and prosperity.”

Source: The Punch

Not Too Young To Run movement during an advocacy visit with Senate President Bukola Saraki

Saraki to Nigerian youth: Not Too Young To Run bill is only the first phase

Nigerian youths have been advised by Senate resident Bukola Saraki to advocate for free and fair elections – The senator, who is a huge supporter of the Not Too Young To Run bill said this is just the first phase –

He however charged Nigerian youths to look beyond the passage of the bill and work towards attaining political heights in the country Senate president, Dr. Bukola Saraki, has said that the passage and assent to the #NotTooYoungToRun bill, will be the first phase in the journey for more youth inclusion in politics.

Saraki made the statement at a meeting with the Not Too Young Run movement comprising of many notable groups in the country. The Senate president encouraged Nigerian youths to advocate for free and fair elections, stating that the next step in the advocacy process is to ensure that more young people have their Permanent Voter’s Cards (PVCs). Saraki urged Nigerian youths to get their PVC in preparation for the next general elections

His words: “Let me congratulate you on the campaign that helped in the passage of the bill in the national and state Houses of Assembly. What you have done has become a reference point across the continent. “You need to use same energy that you applied to the ‘Not Too Young to Run,’ to push for free and fair elections. When you have the voice, you have the numbers. “So the first thing for the advocacy that will support ‘Not Too Young to Run’ must be free and fair elections.

The only way you’re going to make a difference is for you to have your voter’s card. “‘Not Too Young to Run’ has just finished phase one. Phase two is ensuring that you have a lot of young people that have PVCs and letting everyone know that you have PVCs so that all the political parties will pay attention that you have the numbers. “My advice for all young people is that, this is not a short race, it is a marathon.

” Speaking earlier, one of the conveners of the movement, Samson Itodo, commended Saraki, the Senate and the National Assembly for the passage of the bill. “This is the first time that we had a National Assembly whose leadership played a visible role in the passage of the bill.

The fact that you played a part in providing the leadership for the passage of the bill is significant. “We want to convey our appreciation to you and the other 108 members of the Senate that we are pleased with this development. You and your counterparts in the House of Representatives have written your names in gold,” Itodo said. He stated that the campaign for the passage of the bill had been on for two years, adding that it was not a smooth sail.

He however urged the Senate president to use his influence to ensure that the processes of the bill are accelerated to it is gazetted on time to enable many Nigerian youths kick-off their political aspirations in earnest. He added that the passage of the bill and the accelerated hearing it received from both chambers of the National Assembly, shows that they are a ”responsive legislature.”

Meanwhile, Saraki has advised Nigerians not to take for granted the continued democratic dispensation the country has been enjoying for the past 19 years but guard against actions, statements and moves which can truncate the political process. While congratulating Nigerians on the 19th anniversary of unbroken elected government in the country on Tuesday May 29, Saraki advised citizens to always be vigilant and speak against anti-democratic policies and actions which are capable of subverting rule of law. He also canvassed strict adherence to the principles of rule of law, separation of powers, sovereignty of parliament, independence of the judiciary, and freedom of the press, adding that “our constitutional institutions must be preserved and protected.”

Source: Naij.com:

Ready To Run Movement: Australian Commissioner commends YIAGA, pledges support.

On 23 May, 2018, The Australian High Commissioner to Nigeria, H.E. Paul Lehmann praised YIAGA Africa for the Ready To Run Movement and the success of the Not Too Young To Run Campaign.

Receiving the Ready To Run Campaign team at the High Commission in Abuja, H.E. High Commissioner Lehmann commended Ready To Run in its efforts to ensure better representation of young Nigerians in the 2019 elections. Born out of the Not Too Young To Run campaign, Ready to Run is a movement dedicated to inspiring young men and women to run for office and equipping them with the skills to win elections. Ready To Run aims to make a statement that young people can demonstrate excellent public leadership and have the capacity to address Africa’s governance challenges.

The High Commissioner also took the time to credit YIAGA Africa for their continued advocacy for the Not Too Young to Run Bill to reduce the age of running for political office in Nigeria, which is currently awaiting Presidential assent. In his words, if someone is old enough to vote at the age of 18 they can also be voted for, and age should not be a prerequisite for running for public office. He also pledged the support of the Australian Embassy to the Ready To Run Campaign.

Ready to Run is a movement dedicated to inspiring young men and women to run for office and equipping them with the skills to win elections.

During the visit, the High Commissioner gave examples from Australian politics, where young legislators have made significant mark in Australia’s House of Commons. He noted Hon. Wyatt Roy, who was elected the youngest legislator in Australian history at the age of 19. He also described some of the work being done to ensure inclusion of youth in Australian politics.

The Ready To Run team discussed opportunities for collaboration with the Australian efforts in Nigeria. The High Commissioner emphasized that Australia and the world cannot ignore the growing importance of Nigeria, which is soon to be the second largest English-speaking democracy in the world. He said that a part of the bilateral partnership agreement they had with the Nigerian Government is to promote inclusive Democracy and good governance and encouraged the Ready to Run team to involve the embassy in all their activities. He also expressed the High Commission’s readiness to support Ready To Run campaign in any way possible to ensure the total inclusion of Nigeria youth running for elective office come 2019.

A Journey To Here: The BounceCorruption Public Integrity Debate Finale

The #BounceCorruption dynamic is an initiative by YIAGA AFRICA, supported by the MacArthur Foundation. In 2017, it came into fruition with an agenda foreword of what every 21st millennial desires—a channel of using speech, words and confidence to advocate for change in democratic development and governance, and to fight against corruption.
To tell the #BounceCorruption story well, we must say how it came to be, what spurred the interest and the need for the debates that make the initiative what it is. In Nigeria today and in fact in Africa at large, we are acquiesced with the ever abundant stories of corruption in almost all faucets of the continent. From high-brow parastatals down to small-scale businesses, people are primed to delve into one corrupt practice or the other. Exhortation, collection of bribes, falsifications and forgery…it all runs through each aspect of life. It is even prominent in places like schools, hospitals and places of worship—but that is story for another day. This begs the question—how effective is our drive to curb this menace? It is clear how damaging it is, and it is also glaring the steps taken by initiatives created by the government to fight corruption (EFCC and ICPC). But one question that has been avoided is this—how is corruption affecting the young in the society? What about the grassroots, how detrimental is the decay, and has it affected what we strive to protect: our children and the youths, the future of our country?
This was why #BounceCorruption was initiated, to give our youths the opportunity to ask and answer the necessary questions. We decided to let the youths step to the threshold, asking pertinent questions that concerns them, why good governance? Why should the total eradication of corruption be important for someone like me? We hoped this conversation will spur up the need to address youths’ involvement in the fight against corruption, their susceptibility to be affected and the quick need to lead the war in its final annihilation.
In addition, YIAGA AFRICA’s #BounceCorruption team also appointed 35 radio ambassadors to champion the steady fight against corruption via the use of media and freedom of speech through their usual radio programmes and skits. These ambassadors, who in their own rights are popular and altruistic in their lifestyles, have also made the #BounceCorruption conversation become a set in stone agenda via the use of communications and media, encouraging citizens to continue in their individual lives the fight against corruption practices within their environments.
There is also the need to reference the notable partnership to the EFCC and ICPC, who are jointly committed to the cause of curbing corruption in Nigeria. On the 18th of April 2018, when the Bounce Corruption team made a courtesy visit to the EFCC headquarters in Abuja, where we were warmly greeted by the Head, Enlightenment & Orientation of the Public Affairs Unit, Mr Samin Amaddin, who expressed his gratitude for the visit and noted that the EFCC is committed to working with YIAGA AFRICA as close as possible to get the all the agendas of the Bounce Corruption initiative work for a better good.
We have to be reminded that the Public Integrity Debate Competitions ran through selected tertiary institutions in six (6) different geo-political zones in Nigeria. With support from the Student Unions, these debates were shared in three stages, beginning with the preliminary, the knockout and lastly, the final stage (regarded as the Nationals). Teams were set up to participate, with the winning schools emerging and making it through the required stages until the finals, where there will be rewards and the task of the various schools to establish Public Integrity Clubs to further deepen the cause. Also in partnership for these debates were the EFCC and ICPC who implemented the activities. It was encouraging seeing young minds come up with spontaneous but powerful, concise solutions, giving insight that really, the youths are already conversant and eager to be a part of the guerrilla to tackle corruption in Nigeria.
The winning schools from the completed prior two stages who will be attending the finals (Nationals) at the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja are thus:
1. University of Calabar (UNICAL)
2. University of Lagos (UNILAG)
3. Federal University of Technology Owerri (FUTO)
4. Gombe State University
5. University of Maidugiri (UNIMAID)
6. University of Illorin
7. University of Benin
8. Federal University, Duste (Jigawa)
Now, as the Nationals approach steadily on the 31st of May 2018, the #BounceCorruption team are gearing up for a monumental event to culminate the various programmes done over the project’s inception. We believe that in as much as so much has been done, so much still needs to be completed, more tasks undertaken and more milestones achieved. It is a steady journey on an unsteady road, but with the level of achievement and support accrued in such short time, we are hopeful for more laudable and successful outcomes in the future.