The YouthVotesCount Campus Outreach came alive once again, this time at Modibbo Adama University of Technology (MAUTECH), Yola as Jude “MI”, Banky W, Waje, Korede Bello and Uti Nwachukwu turned up to engage the students on how to enhance youth participation in the electoral process.
With so much excitement, gusto and enthusiasm, students trooped into the Multi-Purpose Hall of MAUTECH as they leveraged on the opportunity to engage high Electoral Commissioners and Celebrities on issues relating to challenges and prospects of Youth Participation in the electoral Process.
This is the fifth in the series of Campus Outreach Program organized in Collaboration with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), European Centre of Electoral Support and support from the European Union in Nigeria. Having hosted the Campus Outreach in the University of Abuja, University of Lagos, Bayero University Kano and University of Port Harcourt, the campus outreach in Yola also provided opportunity to reach out to more young people especially students on the values of participating in the electoral process.
The Chairman of INEC Prof Mahmud Yakubu represented by National Commissioner for South-West Prince Adedeji Solomon reminded Nigerians that it was just 128 days to the general elections with 91 registered parties out of which 89 conducted their primaries.
Speaking during the event, European Union Ambassador to Nigeria, Ketil Karlsen said democracy is only strong as the participation of the citizens and the youth constitute 60 percent of the citizens while urging young people to participate in the electoral process. According to Ambassador Karlsen, participating in the electoral process is about good education, security, employment and other amenities saying a lot is at stake. He further urged the students to collect their Permanent Voters Card, engage in intellectual debates about the electoral process and vote on election day.
Also, INEC head of Voter Education and Publicity Barrister Osaze Uzzi decried the fact that, despite High percentage of young people in the Voters Register, policies doesn’t reflect aspirations of young people. He then reiterated that social media engagement is good but the best way to participate is by registering, collecting your Permanent Voters Card and voting on election day. According to Barrister Uzzi, INEC do not count retweets and likes as Democracy is all about Participation and the way to participate is to vote.
All the celebrities took their turn to share experience and lessons on why youth participation in the electoral process has become pertinent. Banky W who spoke passionate about enhancing youth participation in the electoral process said that votes are beginning to count and that is why politicians do everything possible to buy votes from the electorates. While discouraging Nigerians from selling votes, the award winning Banky W said, the oldest trick used by politicians is to deceive you that your votes won’t count, so they can buy the low voters that turnout.
Similarly, Uti Nwachukwu warned that if young people don’t act towards security their future, our children will complain to us the way we complained to our parents while MI Abaga warned against Godfatherism saying, the situation of governance currently shows godfatherism has failed thus young people have to define their own realities by getting involved in the process.
The lady in the team, Waje also ensured that young women committed themselves to participating in the electoral process. Speaking enthusiastically to the loud cheering of female students in the hall, said women must seat where decisions that concern them are being discussed because women are what makes this nation great.
Students also registered and volunteered to educate their peers to get involved in the electoral process