BUHARI ADMINISTRATION WILL CONTINUE TO SUPPORT YOUNG NIGERIANS – VP OSINBAJO

*Says preparation and competence, not age to run for public office, should matter more

*Many young people working in Presidency

*Young Nigerians should be allowed to run for elective positions in the country, especially as they have demonstrated capacity and competence in the fields of technology, education and other sectors of the economy, according to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN.*

*Prof. Osinbajo said this when he received a courtesy visit from the Not-Too-Young-To-Run group today at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.*

The Vice President stated that the age of running for public office in Nigeria should not be a major issue for discourse as much as the competence of that individual.

He noted that while it was important for young people to be able to run for public office in the country, it was equally important for them to gain required skills set to be prepared for public service.

While commending young Nigerians for making great strides and playing leadership roles in many organisations and in different areas of the economy, Prof Osinbajo also commended the group for its incredible advocacy aimed at lowering the age of entry into elective positions in Nigeria.

“I must congratulate you for ensuring that you saw it (the push for the bill) to the point that it is now where all that is required is Presidential assent. If you’re old enough to vote, then you should be old enough to run for office,” he said.

He added that the Buhari administration remains committed to supporting young Nigerians in different areas, including in politics.

Prof. Osinbajo further said the leadership provided by young Nigerians was evident in areas like technology, among others, noting that “many organisations have been led by young people, so that’s not entirely new.”

The Vice President urged young Nigerians to thus develop their capacities and skills in different areas so as to contribute to issues of leadership, governance, national development and the economy.

“I think that whatever age a person chooses to run for office shouldn’t matter at all; that for me is a fundamental principle, it really doesn’t matter, even if you’re much younger or older in age, the more important issue, my worry always is so much the preparedness of young people, the preparedness of anyone, young or old.

“It is the same way that if you’re going to be a pilot or medical doctor, you need to get some training, by devoting your time and resources to a call. Even football requires skills.

“Practically in any field, you are required to show competence. And in our developing economy, there is need for us to set the bar much higher, not in terms of age, but in terms of competence. We need to set the bar because we are a developing economy, because we don’t have the time to waste on mediocrity.”

He further urged the group and young Nigerian to lend their voices to campaigns on issues related to anti-corruption and national development as they get required education and build their capacities for public service.

The Vice President said, “I have many young people working with me in this office in different departments, and all of them are highly competent. I also had the opportunity of serving in government when I was 30 years old, I was adviser to the then Attorney General of the Federation and I was teaching at the University then. When I became Attorney General about 12 years later in Lagos State, I was a trained Attorney General; So, I also had working knowledge. We need competence in the same way that we take on issues in our different professions.

“I visited tech hubs in Lagos during the week; incredible work is going on being done by young, people who have devoted their time and resources. So, I would say that if you’re interested in public service, that same kind of commitment can be devoted so when we are discussing very critical issues of economy, governance, we would be able to say this is the work plan. It is incredible what can be achieved but we need to have people who are articulating strong positions on issues.

In his remarks, the Executive Director, Youth Initiative for Advocacy, Growth and Advancement (YIAGA) Africa, who led the delegation, Mr. Samson Itodo, thanked the Vice President for the opportunity and for being a strong advocate of young people in the country.

Itodo noted that Prof. Osinbajo has continued to demonstrate his belief in the potential and talents of young Nigerians in different areas of the economy.

“We are quite excited to see a significant number of young people working in the Office of the Vice President. Your Excellency, it shows to a great extent that there is commitment on your part to engage young people,” Itodo said.

In the same vein, a member of the delegation, Ms Bella Ndubuisi, said, “It is exciting to see many young people working with the Vice President’s office,” noting that this development shows the belief of the Buhari administration in the inclusion of young people in the process of governance.

The Not-Too-Young-To-Run campaign is based on a bill before the National Assembly that seeks to alter sections of the 1999 constitution to reduce the age limit for running for elected office in Nigeria.

Laolu Akande
Senior Special Assistant to the President (Media & Publicity)
Office of the Vice President
19th April, 2018

Senate transmits ‘Not Too Young To Run Bill’, 11 others to Buhari for assent

The Senate on Tuesday resolved to transmit the Age Reduction Bill (Not Too Young to Run Bill) and 11 others, to President Muhammadu Buhari,for assent.

The resolution was sequel to a motion titled, “Passage of Constitution (fourth) alteration bills, 2018”, sponsored by the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekwerwmadu and 49 other senators.

The bills to be transmitted by the Senate include: Authorisation of Expenditure in absence of Appropriation Bill, Financial Autonomy of State Legislatures Bill, the Legislature Bill, Political Parties and Electoral Matters Bill, the Nigeria Police Force Bill and Restriction of Tenure of President and Governor Bill.

Others are: Submission from the Judiciary Bill, Determination of Pre-Election Matters Bill, Consequential Amendment on Civil Defence Bill, Procedure for Overriding Presidential Veto in Constitutional Alteration, and Timeline for the Presentation of Appropriation Bill.

The Senate Leader, Ahmad Lawan, who moved the motion, recalled that while the Senate approved 29 of the bills with the required two-third majority of members, the House of Representatives approved 21 of the bills with not less that two-third majority.

He explained that 35 State Houses of Assembly have forwarded their resolution on most of the bills. The states are Abia, Adamawa, Akwa-Ibom, Anambra, Bayelsa, Bauchi, Benue, Borno, Cross River, Delta, Ebonyi, Edo, Ekiti, Enugu, Gombe, Imo, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano and Katsina States.

Others are Kebbi, Kogi, Kwara, Nasarawa, Niger, Ogun, Ondo, Osun, Oyo, Plateau, Rivers, Sokoto, Taraba, Yobe and Zamfara States.

The Senate, thereafter, resolved that while awaiting the resolution of some of the State Houses of Assembly on some of the Bills, those that have met the requirements of the provisions of Section 9 of the Constitution and passed, the processed in line with the Acts Authentication Act be transmitted to Mr Buhari for his assent, ”to enable institutions of government prepare for immediate implementation of policies and programmes pursuant to the provisions”.

The Senate passed 12 of the 33 bills seeking to alter various provisions of the Constitution.

Source: Premium Times

Technology and the challenge of election integrity – Samson Itodo

Despite declines in political and civil liberties on the continent, regular elections – an indispensable foundation of democracy – signal that democracy is gradually taking root in Africa. The frequency of elections on the continent presents an undeniable opportunity for citizens to assert their sovereignty and negotiate a new social contract with the ruling political elite. The outcome of recent elections in Liberia and Sierra Leone are an affirmation that though elections provide a mechanism for settling inter-elite rivalries, they embolden citizens to dislodge non-performing governments and send to retirement corrupt, autocratic and imprudent politicians from public office.

By all standards, elections are complex and capital intensive. Electoral operations, procurement, staff training and remuneration and public outreach gulp huge amounts of the election budget. For instance, Kenya expends $25 per voter (2017), Ghana $18 (2016), Liberia $15.3 (2017) and Nigeria $8.5 per voter in the 2015 elections. This high cost may have been influenced by the structural context within which these elections were conducted. The poor state of public infrastructure such as roads, institutions, energy, environment and ICT penetration contribute to high electoral costs. While this is a plausible argument, the high cost of elections is the consequence for undemocratic and flawed elections. Simply put, countries are spending more on elections due to low level of electoral integrity hence the reliance on technology to eliminate all forms of electoral heist and irregularity. This was affirmed in a recent study by the ECOWAS Network of Electoral Commission (ECONEC) on the cost of elections in West Africa. The study revealed that the combination of political and legal culture that diminishes social capital and trust is driving up the integrity cost of elections, which accounts for the spiraling cost of elections. The study further revealed that the major cost of elections in Liberia and Nigeria is attributed to the high integrity cost of elections. This takes the form of election technological cost and election administrative cost. For the 2011 and 2015 elections, Nigeria spent a total of $1,232,160,809 and Liberia spent $74,127,558 for her 2005, 2011 and 2017 election. These costs exclude the cost of running the election management body.

It is common practice for election management bodies in Africa to leverage on technology for voter registration, voter identification or accreditation, electronic tallying and transmission of results. Kenya developed the Kenya Integrated Election Management System (KIEMS) to amongst other things electronically transmit election results; South Africa operates the online candidate nomination system; Namibia deployed its costumed made Electronic Voting Machine for electronic voting in 2014 making her the first and only country in Africa that deployed the EVM for elections. Nigeria, Liberia, Zambia and a host of other countries operate the biometric voter registration system.

The indispensability of technology adoption for elections in African was demonstrated last week when Chairpersons, the Vice Chairperson and members of election management bodies from over 30 countries in West and Southern African converged in Abuja, Nigeria to share experiences on the opportunities and challenges with the use of technology for elections in Africa. Hosted by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the ECOWAS Network of Electoral Commission (ECONEC-RESAO), the international conference held in collaboration with the Electoral Commissions Forum of South Africa Development Countries (ECF/SADC), and with support of the European Centre for Electoral Support (ECES) and the European Union.

Can technology guarantee electoral integrity?

Different election stakeholders such as tech companies, civil society, politicians and development partners subject electoral commissions in Africa to intense pressure to deploy new technologies for elections. Most of them yield to these pressures without undertaking a cost benefit analysis on the deployment of electoral technologies or its potency to guarantee credible elections. In this era of automation, machine learning and artificial intelligence it is foolhardy to ignore adaptation of relevant technologies and digitize electoral processes.

Unarguably, technology deployed for elections can eliminate human errors associated with calculating and computing election results; it can improve voter identification, facilitate faster and easier voting etc. In Nigeria, the introduction of the Smart Card Readers and Permanent Voter Card has eliminated multiple voting thereby deepening the integrity of the electoral process. The Republic of Benin uses tablets to electronically transmit election results. Sierra Leone uses an electronic result tallying system to compute election results. These innovations have enhanced the quality of elections in those countries even though the courts are still besieged by a deluge of election petitions bordering on their credibility. It posits that technology cannot singlehandedly guarantee credible elections.

The debate on whether electoral technology can guarantee electoral integrity is premised on the limitations of technology deployment in Africa. Experience shows that technology (in this case electoral) is vulnerable to failure, interference, and security breaches. Recent reports of cyber propaganda, warfare and election interference strengthen the argument that electoral technology can potentially delegitimize elections. Without checks and oversight, heads of ICT departments in electoral commissions can become kingmakers by subverting the will of the people through a ‘click’ resulting to what Raila Odinga calls ‘computer-generated leaders’.

There is growing apprehension and suspicion with the deployment of electoral technology in Africa. Most people don’t trust electoral technology due to the limitations mentioned above. Sometimes these suspicions could be unfounded and mischievous. In Kenya, Raila Odinga alleged system logs on the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) system suggesting a possible infiltration of the electoral commission’s electronic system of tallying of results.  Similarly, the then opposition Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) was accusing of hacking into the system of the National Electoral Commission (NEC) to alter election results hence the clamor for manual tallying of results by the All People’s Congress (APC) party. Speaking at roundtable on the 2018 Sierra Leone elections hosted by YIAGA AFRICA, Madam Miatta French, an electoral commissioner in the Sierra Leone electoral commission revealed that the decision to adopt manual identification of voters as opposed to electronic verification was informed by the technological challenges with biometric verification. The manual identification was more open and transparent as party agents could verify valid voters using copies of voter registers issued to them by the electoral commission.

Public trust and confidence is essential for the successful deployment of electoral technologies. Electoral commissions must secure public consent and approval in their quest to deploy technology for elections. This will boost citizens’ trust in the electoral process thereby deepening electoral integrity. Legal recognition must be granted to electoral technologies deployed by election management bodies else they become a subject of litigation in the law courts. The design, testing and timing of implementation of electoral technology is crucial. EMBs need to ensure technological innovations are deployed in good time to provide opportunity for simulation, testing, training and retraining of staff. Context also matters in every deployment; electoral technologies must be fit for purpose. It must respond to electoral challenges of a given context. Emphasis must be laid on the imperative of homegrown technological innovations as opposed to imported solutions whose ownership and sustainability is not guaranteed.

In conclusion, electoral technology can enhance and undermine electoral integrity, but electoral commissions must be conscious of its limitations and vulnerabilities. Electoral technology should complement existing traditional approaches rather seek to supplant existing methods. Technology is a means to an end and not an end in itself. Technological innovations can only enhance the quality of elections if they subscribe to the principles of simplicity, integrity accuracy, transparency, verifiability, security and cost-effectiveness.

 

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

 

Youth can be agents of positive change — Jayathma Wickramanayake, UN youth envoy

Jayathma Wickramanayake, 27, from Sri Lanka, is the new UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth. Her role is to expand the UN’s youth engagement and advocacy efforts. She also serves as an adviser to the Secretary-General. Shortly after her extensive tour of the Gambia, Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal and South Africa in February, she sat down with Africa Renewal’s Zipporah Musau to discuss her mission. Excerpts:
Africa Renewal: You have just come back from a mission to five countries in Africa. How was it?

Jayathma: It definitely exceeded my expectation! I did not have much exposure to Africa before I took up this job, because my work was mainly in my home country [Sri Lanka], working with youth. So, I never really before now had the opportunity go to Africa and interact with young people, even though I have friends from the region.

Why did you choose Africa and how did it start?

UNFPA – the United Nations Population Fund, approached me with this wonderful proposal of a multi-country mission to Africa. Then a few days before I travelled, my office sent out a tweet announcing the trip and the response was amazing. Upon arrival to each country, the welcome, the level of energy, and the love extended to me was unbelievable. I may be Sri Lankan by birth, but part of me is definitely African by choice.

What were your impressions of the young people you met?

The amount of resilience the young people in the continent have surprised me. You might have seen pictures of us laughing and dancing together, but just before that, we were sitting under a tree talking about issues and challenges these youth face, even to the point of sometimes crying together. I met some who have gone through situations incomprehensible for us sitting here in New York.

What did they tell you were their main concerns?

Young people voiced concerns about lack of access to education, unemployment, migration, and young women’s sexual and reproductive health. These were the core issues discussed in all five countries I visited.

Can you expound a bit on these issues?

On education: the main concern is access to education, but not just any education, but quality education. There is a study that shows that about 30% of the skills acquired in 2015 will not be relevant by 2020. So, in such a rapidly changing world, what should we teach in our schools? Do we teach the usual subjects or do we focus more on skills-development? Young people require skills that are adaptable and can be useful in multiple professions and fields.

On digital divide: Unlike young people living in the urban areas, those in rural areas are left behind in terms of information and technology. There are also girls who do not even have a chance to get basic education, let alone technological education.

On issues affecting girls: Girls face various barriers as they seek education. Often it becomes an issue when they are on their menstrual cycles because they don’t have pads or their schools don’t have adequate sanitary facilities. Some girls’ education is often disrupted to take care of their younger siblings, while others are married off at a very young age or drop out due to teenage pregnancy. Female genital mutilation is another big issue.

On migration: Due to lack of opportunities for young people, many of them risk their lives crossing the Sahara and Mediterranean Sea to get to Italy or other countries to look for better opportunities. Many die in this process of trying to take this extreme path.

What is your office doing to help these young people in Africa?

In my position, I am tasked with bringing the UN closer to young people, and young people closer to the UN. As a representative of the Secretary General, I meet top government officials and other stakeholders and use such opportunities to raise awareness of the issues young people are facing and then urge the officials to address them.

What would you say you achieved during this trip?

The biggest outcome of my mission to Africa was being able to act as a bridge to bring the young people’s concerns to the attention of decisionmakers, urging them to make a difference in young people’s lives and holding them accountable. Having those one-on-one interactions with the young people I meet, some of whom have gone through really tough situations, enables me to bring their voices to the discussions here at the UN. I talked to marginalized young people, as well as innovators, and social entrepreneurs, who inspired me to raise their issues in my meetings with government ministers, parliamentarians, UN Country Teams, and the media in every country I visited.

Any immediate results?

I saw some remarkable results! For instance, the UN Country Team in Nigeria will set up an advisory mechanism for youth to be consulted on its work on the ground.

What are the young people themselves doing to improve their lot?

The mission offered a great opportunity to highlight the amazing contributions these young people themselves are making to improve their communities. For example, in Nigeria I met this young woman – a survivor of rape – who has developed a mobile phone app that can help other young women to report gender-based violence to the nearest police station. This shows that young people are not just victims, they can also bring solutions to the table. And when talking to decision-makers, I was able to highlight this role of young people as agents of positive change, so that they can treat youth as assets, rather than liabilities.

How will you amplify this message?

One of the things I am trying to do is to bring some of these young change-makers to the UN Headquarters for the forthcoming High-Level Political Forum and UN General Assembly to showcase, not just the issues they face, but also the solutions that they bring to the table. I have also tried to amplify this through the UN country teams in various countries.

Do you have any special programmes or campaigns targeting young people in Africa?

Indeed, we do. In fact, one of our biggest campaign is “Not Too Young to Run,” started in Nigeria and aimed at lowering the legal age required to run for office from 40 to 35. We have now made it a global campaign that advocates for the rights of young people to run for elected office. We are working with the interparliamentary union, OHCHR, UNDP, and some other partners on scaling it up. During my trip I also called for youth affirmative action within political parties, urging the official to remove existing barriers to youth participation in decision-making.

What are your views on youth taking seeking positions, not just in politics but also in business and other spheres?

It’s been amazing! Some of the brightest young minds that I’ve met on this job are from Africa. I say that without any bias. I am very impressed by the work young Africans do, they are so creative. On this trip I met young innovators, for example, one of them has invented a three-wheeler which uses solar power, another one had developed an online platform to help candidates running for office to design and organize their political campaigns.

What challenges do young people pushing for space, a seat at the political table, face?

We have identified several layers of barriers that hinder young people from participation. The first layer is at the personal level – having no confidence or belief in themselves. The second layer is social – family and friends around a young person, who may sometimes discourage them from venturing into politics. And third is political party structures. Young people are under-represented in political parties. The same for the women too.

What’s your advice to young people who get into leadership?

When you get to a position of power, always remember why you are in that position in the first place. Thousands of young people look up to you. Also, don’t forget to create a space for other young people to come onboard.

What values should they live by?

They should live up to the values that we, as young people, have been demanding all along – integrity, transparency, saying no to corruption and standing up for democracy. This could mean sometimes doing things in unconventional ways, maybe changing systems completely upside down – we need transformational change.

Source: AfricaRenewal

2019 Elections: Nigerian Youths and the Doubting Thomases – Sanusi Olaniyan

Professor Itse Sagay; Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee against Corruption (PACAC) granted an interview on why a youth cannot be President in Nigeria. Professor Sagay stated reasons why the average Nigerian youth is unfit to hold the highest political office in the country, labeling youth clamoring for such as being shallow minded.

Part of reasons given by Professor Sagay is that, the average Nigerian youth is consumed by a get rich quick mentality and does not recognize the importance of climbing up the success ladder gradually. As much as this piece is not aimed at joining issues with the erudite Professor, it is imperative to reject the notion that majority of Nigerian youth possess a get rich quick mentality. This generalization is where my concern lies.

A lot has been said about the leadership capability of the Nigerian youth. A large section of the society holds the belief that the average Nigerian youth is unfit to occupy leadership position, most especially a political office. Young people have been tagged to be irrational, impulsive and lacking in wisdom the requisite ability expected of a leader, this is untrue.

Nigeria has an abundance of youth who have proven to be astute leaders in their selected fields. Not peculiar to this generation only; history has repeatedly shown that if provided the space, Nigerian youths have what it takes to take over the mantle of leadership and effect change. Take the case of a young Yakubu Gowon or a young Anthony Enahoro who both in their early days effected change in the country having found themselves in positions to do so.

Perhaps, a much valid argument should be centered on the willingness of the Nigerian youth to vie for political office or even participate in the political process of the country. Disenchanted, the average Nigerian youth views the political process of the country as a reservation for the elderly and elite, not wanting to be a part of the process whatsoever. Not to be blamed though, the ruling class has turned the political space into a closed circuit, putting in place constraints that make it hard for youths to get involved, thereby, limiting active participation to members of their class only. This has led to calmour for youth inclusion through various platforms.

YIAGA Africa, a youth led organization at the forefront of the Age reduction campaign popularly referred to as the #NotTooYoungToRun Bill, has done well to champion the cause for participation of Nigerian youths in the electoral process. The Bill which seeks to reduce age requirements in vying for elective offices will pave the way for youths to participate in the electoral process not as campaign merchants this time around, but as candidates in elections themselves. Now the onus is on the youth to maximize this opportunity and make sure come 2019, our voices are heard in the political arena.

With the Age reduction Bill poised to become law soon as it awaits Presidential assent, there will certainly be an influx of youths running for political office in the forthcoming 2019 general elections no doubt. Be that as it may, it is more important for Nigerian youth to understand that active political participation entails more than just trying to run for elective office. It involves active participation in the process of choosing candidates itself, which of course is only possible by becoming an active member of a political party.

The mentality surrounding joining a political party among Nigerian youth must change if we are to maximize the opportunity the Age reduction Bill has presented in the forthcoming 2019 general elections. Our social contract with the government can only be upheld if we become a part of the political process and not leave it to a section of the society. A state thrives on inclusivity of all segments of the society.

As Professor Sagay rightly mentioned in his interview, no one is stopping the youth from taking power, they need to join the fray he said. Joining the fray in this case is participation at all levels of the political process, from party primaries through election proper.

Developed countries of the world, most notably Austria are leading the charge in placing the affairs of the country in the hands of the youth, with a 31-year old Prime Minister whose political history only commenced few years ago at the helm of affairs in the country. This are tendencies that should be emulated in this part of the world too.

Mr President, sign the Federal Audit Bill

Recently both chambers of the National Assembly passed into law the Federal Audit Service Commission Bill. The proposal, which emanated from the House of Representatives, seeks to grant autonomy to the Auditor-General for the federation and establish the Federal Audit Services Commission and the office of Auditor-General of the Federation with provision for additional powers and functions. The bill, once it becomes law, will repeal the Audit Act 1956, the Public Accounts Committees Act; and enact the Federal Audit Service Bill, 2015. The same proposal was passed by the 7th National Assembly but was not signed into law by then President Goodluck Jonathan.

The main thrust of the bill is to promote transparency, accountability and good governance in most of our institutions. It empowers the office of the Auditor-General of the federation to express an opinion on whether the financial statement prepared by the government of the federation fairly represents the financial position and results of operation; carry out audit of all revenues accruing to the federation and all expenditures of the federation from all sources; carry out audit of donations, grants and loans accruable to the federal ministries, departments and agencies or other public entities; carry out performance audit by ensuring that federal government and its agencies’ businesses are economically, efficiently and effectively performed; carry out audit on classified expenditure; carry out forensic audits; carry out audit of international institutions to the extent of Nigeria’s contribution to such bodies; carry out audit of all federal government and its agencies subsidies and their application; carry out audit of all federal government and its agencies’ counterpart funded projects in the country; carry out audit of all Nigerian embassies, consulates and foreign missions; carry out audit of public private information; carry out audit of disaster related grants and aids and carry out audit of public private partnerships entered into by the federal government and its agencies to promote good governance.

Similarly, the Bill outlines the powers of the Auditor-General to include: powers to select the methodology to be adopted in respect of an audit; determine the nature and extent of audit to be carried out and request details, account statements and financial statements that he considers necessary; request in writing, any person in the employ of the federal ministries, departments and agencies and international institutions whose accounts are being audited to make an appearance at a specified place and time; or produce such records, books, vouchers and documents under the control of that person; investigate and make extracts from any record, book, document and other information of any federal ministry, department and agency or international institution whose accounts are being audited.
Since the advent of this democracy in 1999, the government has regaled us with the talk of fighting corruption but has done nothing concrete beyond setting up anti-corruption agencies that are soon channelled towards enhancing the profile or political fortunes of the president.

Usually the same government vowing to fight corruption to a standstill permit and promote corruption through its opaque structures and especially shielding itself, its agencies and particularly its cash-cow, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, from any form of accountability.
This proposed law is perhaps, the most far-reaching anti-corruption legislation that has been passed since Nigeria’s return to democracy. Like we have always stated, corruption cannot be effectively fought through intra-elite displacement or the symbolism of grand gestures.

No, the only way we can defeat corruption is through the deliberate building of strong institutions of restraints; the creation, as it were, of a capable state – one that works according to laid down rules and procedures and is thoroughly accountable to the people. That is what the bill seeks to do – and if the president, who came to power on the strength of his anti-corruption promises – is any bit interested in tackling this monster called corruption and is willing to enthrone transparency, accountability and good governance in the country, then he must sign the bill into law immediately.

Source: Business Day

Ekiti Guber Polls: INEC issues Notice for Election

Even though, subtle campaigns and declaration of intention to run for public office in has started long before now, the Independent National Electoral Commission has officially declared open, campaign and political activities leading to the elections.

As reported by The Punch, INEC has issued Notice of election for the July 14, 2018 governorship election in Ekiti State.

The Resident Electoral Commissioner in Ekiti State, Prof. Abdul-Ganiyu Raji, at a press conference in Ado Ekiti on Wednesday said this was in accordance with Section 30 (1) of the Electoral Act 2010 as amended.

Raji explained that the section provided that INEC must give Notice of Election not later than 90 days to the governorship election.

According to the notice, campaign by political parties for the election would begin from April 15, 2018 and end midnight of July 12, 2018.

He advised political parties to submit names of their agents by June 30, 2018, with a warning that any party that failed to meet up with the date would not have agents for the governorship election.

As part of efforts to ensure more people register for the election, the REC said 531 registration centres across the state had been created.

He noted that the continuous voters registration in the new registration centres would commence between Wednesday April 11 and April 16, 2018 simultaneously in the state across 177 registration areas.

Meanwhile, Dailypost also reported that, ahead of the July 14, 2018 governorship election in Ekiti State and the 2019 elections, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Tuesday resuscitated the State Implementation Committee on Voters Education and Publicity (SICVEP).

The committee is made up of representatives of the Federal Ministry of Information, State Ministry of Information, the Ekiti State Office of the National Orientation Agency, Ministry of Women Affairs, the Broadcasting Service of Ekiti State and the State Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ)

Ahead of the July 14, 2018 governorship election in Ekiti State and the 2019 elections, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Tuesday resuscitated the State Implementation Committee on Voters Education and Publicity (SICVEP).

The committee is made up of representatives of the Federal Ministry of Information, State Ministry of Information, the Ekiti State Office of the National Orientation Agency, Ministry of Women Affairs, the Broadcasting Service of Ekiti State and the State Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ).

Speaking during the inaugural meeting of the committee in Ado-Ekiti, the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in the State, Prof. Abdul-Ganiyu Olayinka Raji, stressed the importance of passing accurate information on guidelines for the on-going voters’ registration and other relevant voter education.

He said this was targeted towards ensuring the success of the governorship election this year and the general elections scheduled for 2019.

The REC, who was represented by the Administration Secretary of the Commission in the State, Dr Omoleke Muslim, expressed satisfaction with the progress made in the on-going voter registration.

The official noted that the number of the newly registered voters had exceeded the number recorded in the previous exercise by over 20 per cent.

He listed activities lined up for the committee in preparation for the elections to include organising implementation meetings with relevant stakeholders, voter education at the grassroots, as well as production and distribution of information, education and communication materials.

He cautioned politicians against making inflammatory statements and also called on journalists to refrain from reporting stories that were capable of heating up the polity.

INEC further appealed to all stakeholders to act responsibly before, during and after the gubernatorial election.

Ekiti Has 218,000 Unclaimed PVCs Ahead Of July 14 Governorship Election – INEC

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Ekiti on Wednesday said that 218,000 Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) were yet to be collected in the state.

The commission said this just as it formally issued a “Notice of Election”, which stated that the governorship election would hold in the state on July 14.

It said that this was in line with the provisions of the 1999 Constitution and the Electoral Law.

The INEC’s Public Relations Officer (PRO), Alhaji Taiwo Gbadegesin, disclosed this at a public enlightenment forum in Ado Ekiti.

He, however, said that not less than 500,000 PVCs had far been collected by their owners.

Gbadegesin advised those who were yet to pick their PVCs to do so, saying that they would be disenfranchised during the forthcoming election without the PVCs.

He said that the 500,000 PVCs already collected by would-be voters did not put an end to those that would be qualified to vote in July.

He said that the PVCs for those that registered between April 2017 and date were yet to be delivered to the state from its national headquarters in Abuja.

The INEC image-maker said that the cards would be distributed to their owners as soon as they were delivered to the Ekiti State office of INEC.

Gbadegesin said that university students and youth corps members, who had completed their stay in the state and had since left, might be those who had not collected their PVCs.

Alternatively, he said that the commission was also suspecting persons who might have done double registration.

They might be afraid that they could be arrested if they showed-up at the state office of INEC for collection, he said.

Gbadegesin said that the commission would still sensitise would-be voters ahead of the election.

The PRO also called on the various political parties to sensitize their followers and party members on the need for them to collect their PVCs.

Source: PMNews

INEC begins second quarter CVR

Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) yesterday began the Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) for the second quarter of 2018 in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
The exercise commenced at the Karu centre at about 11 a.m. despite the presence of many people eager to be registered.
People had gathered at the centre as early as 8 a.m. waiting to be registered but neither INEC officials nor the machines for the exercise, was available.
The Head, Voter Education and Publicity, Gender and Civil Society Liaison of INEC in the FCT, Ndidi Okafor, attributed the delay in the commencement of the exercise to “logistics issues’’.
She appealed to people willing to register to be patient, assuring that it would be fasttracked to accommodate all qualifi ed persons.
Ms. Okafor explained that the quarterly registration was in line with the directive from INEC headquarters.
One of the people waiting to register, Mr. Titus Paul, urged INEC to improve on its arrangement for the exercise.
“You see, we are in the sun, some people who are not healthy enough may have their situation aggravated; government should be fair in dealing with its citizens.
A place like this should be conducive so that even though the process has not started, people will be comfortable while they wait,” he said.
The first quarter of the nationwide CVR began on January 8 and ended on March 22

Source: Blueprint 

  2019 Election : Why We Should Support Youth Candidacy – Darlington Uzor

The debate over youth participation in politics will continue until Nigerian youth are given the opportunity and level playing ground to contest political office. As youth are given this opportunity, the question about readiness of young people to compete in the tedious Nigerian Political terrain is gradually being laid to rest. More young people than ever before are engaging in local community advocacy and movement building amongst other political activities in preparation for 2019 general elections and beyond.

Supporting a young candidate therefore is becoming imperative considering the situation of the country and the fact that future of young people is being decided by people other than those that will be affected by the decision. The recent report that 27-year old Maryam Laushi is the National Publicity Secretary of the newly formed Modern Democratic Party goes a long way in saying young people may not despise humble beginning after all.  In this vein, the power of number which rules politics maybe the next daunting task to acquire but there is good news.

According to Independent National Electoral Commission INEC, 52% of registered voters are between the ages of 18-35. Youth between those ages are around a third of the population. Young people aren’t leaders of tomorrow any longer, we’re leaders of today. The United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs estimates that Nigeria’s population will be just under 200 million by the beginning of 2019. Nearly two-third (62 percent) of Nigerian population is aged under 24, giving Nigeria one of the youngest demographics in the world.

While the statistics is very impressive, the quality of young Nigerians when it comes to knowledge, capacity and charisma and bringing fresh ideas, innovation and solutions to our democratic system is the reason Nigerians have to take the gamble in supporting youth candidacy in the near future. The participation of young people in governance will ensure that the issues of priority for young Nigerians are on government agendas.

As matter of fact, there is a growing interest around the world in youth and politics. Young people in Africa are an enormous resource for the continent’s developments. It is in this regard that African Union Heads of State and Government declared the theme for 2017 as ‘Harnessing the Demographic Dividend through Investments in Youth’.

Most recently and more cheering is the fact that Nigerian youth have scored a major victory towards youth participation in politics with the progress of the Not Too Young To Run Bill. This bill, which would reduce the constitutional minimum ages for running for elected offices, has received the overwhelming support from both home and abroad. Through consistent advocacy, town halls, campaigns, the Bill cleared through both houses of the National Assembly and has been endorsed by 35 of 36 states. Aside from transforming the political landscape in Nigeria, the Not Too Young to Run Bill has inspired a global movement around increased youth participation in politics.

As a constitutional amendment, the Bill only needs President Muhammadu Buhari to sign it into law. Given the overwhelming support from national and state legislatures, the positive impact the Not Too Young to Run movement has had on Nigeria’s international standing, and the benefits of enhancing youth political participation, President Buhari would do well to provide timely assent to the Bill.

The most common argument against youth political participation is that young Nigerians is financially incapacitated and inexperience which has been debunked overtime by Political analysts and Civil Society Organizations. For example, Executive Director of YIAGA Africa Samson Itodo argued that age does not determine the competence of an individual saying exposure to leadership and capacity building opportunities and commitment to self-growth are qualities needed to succeed as a leader. In this vein, what really matters is the competence and character to hold public office as the nation have witnessed many politicians who have spent decades in politics with nothing to show for it.

Indeed, the exclusion of young people from elective offices robs society of their contribution to economic and political development. Young people have skills and capacities that can be transferred to political office. Young people bring vibrancy and innovative thinking to their activities, evident in the way they have built up thriving entertainment, Information Communication Technology (ICT) and e-commerce sectors that are now major drivers of the economy. This same vibrancy and innovative thinking will be invaluable in our political space.

Though young Nigerians may still face other obstacles when it comes to equal political participation, and these must be identified and addressed, President Buhari can ensure that the Nigerian Constitution is not one of these obstacles.

Uzor Darlington is a Passionate Youth Activist and Program Assistant with the Youth Department of YIAGA Africa.