Bounce Corruption debate finale

Uni-Ilorin Wins #BounceCorruption public integrity National Debate Competition

…. as ICPC, EFCC Commends YIAGA Africa for initiative

University of Ilorin has carted home the prestigious award having emerged winner of the  #BounceCorruption Public Integrity National Debate competition for Students of Tertiary Institutions in Nigeria after beating 8 other universities in a keenly contested final. The Bounce Corruption public integrity tertiary debate grand final which was held on Thursday, May 31 in Abuja gave passionate students from various institutions the opportunity to discuss fundamental issues as regards corruption in the country and the way forward. University of Lagos were the first runner up in an intensive debate which saw, Federal University of Technology Owerri coming third as  University of Calabar came fourth. Other institutions who participated in the knockout round that couldn’t make it through the final round includes: Federal university Dutse, university of Benin, university of Maiduguri as well as a swing team who stood in for Gombe State University.

The program which targets the younger Nigerians, believes one of the major ways of fighting corruption is to sensitize the younger generations who are the leaders of today and tomorrow, about the effects of these acts.

The debate competition torch lighted fundamental issues relating to the anticorruption fight in Nigeria. Debaters were made to reject or propose motions with their various strong reasons. These motions were: “This house believes that Nigeria’s present Anti-Corruption crusade is misdirected”, “In The belief that Corruption is more of an economic than a moral matter, this house would prioritize loot recovery ahead of jail terms in cases of financial corruption”, and “This house believes that Nigeria’s present anti-corruption campaign is being compromised by political considerations”.

The competition had panelist from the Civil Society organizations, Media, two of the countries’ anti-corruption agencies(ICPC and EFCC), as well as the All-Nigeria universities debating council (ANUDC) who was chair of the panel during the debate.

Speaking during the debate, acting Chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), Dr. Musa Usman Abubakar, YIAGA Africa, and 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 organizations 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.

Giving her remark, the programs manager of YIAGA Africa, Cynthia Mbamalu, stated that one of the aims of the program is for Nigerians across the state to start asking questions and demanding accountability.

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.

Going forward, as part of the project objectives, Bounce Corruption public integrity clubs will be established in these various institutions. These will therefore deepen the conversations on anti-corruption in the country among the youths, with an overall objective of building that culture of accountability and integrity amongst young Nigerians. YIAGA Africa believes that the fight against corruption is a collective responsibility and that young people must begin to understand its importance and take the lead in demanding good governance and accountability within their communities and Nigeria at large.

 

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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.

 

 

 

Hon. Nwulu flanked by Not Too Young To Run Strategy team during a Press Conference

STATEMENT BY THE NOT TOO YOUNG TO RUN MOVEMENT ON THE SIGNING INTO LAW OF THE AGE REDUCTION BILL (NOT TOO YOUNG TO RUN) BY THE PRESIDENT MUHAMMADU BUHARI

Ladies and gentlemen of the Press.

We welcome you to this press conference organized by the leadership of the Not Too Young To Run movement on the signing into law of the age reduction bill by the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari. The Not Too Young To Run movement is a movement of youth and civil society groups advocating for the reduction of age for running for elective offices to mainstream young men and women in electoral politics. Not Too Young To Run is Nigeria’s largest and most successful youth movement in recent times. The movement is driven by the compelling need to restructure the country’s political system to address the deeply entrenched system of political exclusion and institute inclusive politics, transformative leadership and electoral competitiveness in the electoral process.

On May 21, 2018, the movement gave President Buhari an 8-day ultimatum to assent to the Not Too Young To Run Bill. The movement requested the president to bequeath to Nigerian youths a memorable democracy gift by assenting to the Not Too Young To Run Bill. In his Democracy Day address, the President announced his decision to assent to assent to the bill. On May 31st 2018, Mr. President signed the bill into law in the presence of the leadership of the movement and young people drawn from 36 states of the federation.

This is a pivotal moment in history of our democracy. The signing into law of the Not Too Young To Run Bill is an affirmation of our belief in inclusive democracy. Unarguably, increased youth participation in politics is an indicator of democratic development. We are therefore taking intentional steps as a nation to harness the demographic dividend by expanding the political space for increased youth participation. The campaign has shown that democracy thrives when citizens assert their sovereignty through effective, strategic and systematic engagement with democratic institutions.

The journey to the historic passage/assent to the bill began two years ago, on May 26, 2016, when the Not Too Young To Run Bill to reduce the constitutional age requirement for running for elective office in Nigeria, was first read on the floor of House of Representatives. On 26 July 2017, the Nigeria Senate passed the bill with an overwhelming majority (86 -10). The Bill was passed, again by a large majority (261 – 23), in the House of Representatives on 27 July, 2017.

The journey continued to the state Houses of Assembly, recording acceptance and affirmation from one state legislature to the next, including the historic second vote by the Taraba State House of Assembly, who changed her previous No to a Yes vote. The Bill secured a YES vote from 33 state Houses of Assembly, eight more than constitutionally required. Lagos, Kano and Zamfara abstained from voting, and have been inducted in our Hall of Shame for disregarding the yearnings of the youth they represent.

The movement engaged with the leadership of the national and state legislatures through visits and personalized letters to all 109 Senators, 360 members of the House of Representatives and 991 House of Assembly members; National Days of Action in 24 states and the FCT with an estimated 10,000 people participating; appearances on all the major media stations in Nigeria and the international media; as well as sustained interactive social media conversations.

The movement appreciates President Buhari for assenting to this bill. The Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo is recognized and appreciated for his solidarity and support for the campaign. We also thank specially, the leadership of the Senate and House of Representatives who demonstrated unparalleled belief in youth leadership and inclusive politics throughout the campaign. To the 86 Senators and 261 Honorable Members who said yes to the Bill, thank you for writing your names in gold, and putting Nigeria on the global map as a country fully invested in meeting the needs of its youth. It is worthy to note that the UN, ECOWAS, and the AU have adopted this Bill, and other countries on the continent have been inspired to seek reduction in age for political participation.

We thank the leadership and members of the 33 state assemblies that voted in support of the bill. We must specifically thank Hon. Tony Nwulu and Senator Abdul-aziz Nyako for sponsoring this bill at the House of Representatives and the Senate respectively. The movement has been inspired and motivated by your commitment to youth development, transformative politics and democratic renewal.

Another category of people to thank are the members of the strategy team and state/LGA coordinators of the Not Too Young To Run movement, without whom the vision for a reduction in the age for political participation would have remained a pipe dream. We thank the international community and development partners for supporting this movement in this journey. Special thanks to civil society, media and youth groups for their solidarity and support. Lastly, we thank the Nigerian youth for demonstrating leadership and patriotism in the defence of our democracy through their participation in the campaign.

We acknowledge that the signing of this Bill marks the beginning of a new era in the politics of our great nation, enhancing democratic development, deepen intergenerational dialogue and learning, reduce political violence and instability, enhance competitive politics, but above all, fulfil an essential requirement of democracy which is to facilitate the implementation of the fundamental right of political participation for Nigeria’s youth, which form 65% of the population and 53% of registered voter.

The bill as assented by the President reduces the age qualification for the office of the president from 40 to 35; House of Representatives 30 to 25 and State House of Assembly 30 to 25. The age qualification for Governor and Senate was retained at 35 years contrary to the demands of the Nigerian people. The movement maintains that the retention of the 35 years for both Governor and Senate positions is unfortunate and disappointing. The National Assembly should revisit its vote on the age qualification for both offices.

As we prepare for the 2019 general elections the imperative for youth inclusion especially as candidates for all elective positions is not a matter for debate but an imperative. The movement would like to place the following on record;

  1. The 2019 elections present an opportunity for young people to assert their power not only as voters or campaign merchants but also as qualified electoral candidates. The movement is therefore committed to inspiring and supporting more youth candidates with content and character to run for office through its Ready To Run initiative and other interventions aimed at promoting youth candidacy in the next elections.

 

  1. Data from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) indicates that about 52% of registered voters are young people between the ages 18 – 35 years. The movement will continue to mobilize more young people across the country to participate in the ongoing continuous voter registration exercise, collect their Permanent Voter Card (PVC) and turn out to vote in all elections. The vision of this movement can only be achieved if young people come out to vote in 2019.

 

  1. To the political class – If you want the youth vote, reserve tickets for youth aspirants; uphold internal party democracy to safeguard the emergence of more youth candidates and most importantly commit to non-violent elections.

The movement notes that signing this bill into law is not sufficient to guarantee youth representation in political office. It will require reducing the cost of politics, democratic primaries within political parties, affirmative action/quotas and most importantly credible and peaceful elections. The movement therefore makes the following demands;

  1. The National Assembly should review its vote on the age qualification for the Senate and Governors. This review should be in tandem with the proposal by the movement (President – 30 years, Governor – 30 years and Senate – 30 years)

 

  1. Political parties should reserve 50% of party tickets for capable, competent, and morally upright youth aspirants across all elections in 2019;

 

  1. Expedite action on assenting to electoral reform bills bordering on limiting campaign expenditure and cost of securing party nomination;

 

  1. Uphold the principles of transparency, democracy and accountability in party primaries.

 

To celebrate this landmark achievement, the movement will be hosting a Not Too Young To Run Celebration Conference on June 28, 2018 in Abuja. The Celebration Conference is convened to celebrate effective activism and underscore the inestimable value of citizens-state engagement in enhancing the quality of electoral politics in Nigeria. The conference is also hosted against the upsurge of new questions on the nature and quality of public leadership Nigeria requires to make sustainable progress. At the center of this debate is the question on whether young people possess the competencies for public leadership or the economic power to navigate the tide of Nigeria’s expensive political process. Leaders from political society, civil society, state institutions, academia, international community and media will converge to shape an agenda for democracy, governance and political representation in the pre and post 2019 era. The Vice President, Senate President and Speaker of the House of Representatives will be delivering keynote addresses and participate in an intergernerational dialogue for democracy at the conference.

We cannot conclude without restating our commitment to inclusive politics, transformative leadership and democratic governance. The movement will retain its identity as a non-partisan and citizen-led movement of citizens dedicated to the defence of democracy and nation building. The movement will not be transiting into a political party.

We enjoin youth across the country to take up the challenge to serve our great country Nigeria.

 

One Shared Value, One Shared Goal, #NOTTOOYOUNGTORUN

Our Shared Value, Our Shared Goal, #NOTTOOYOUNGTORUN

 

Signed

  1. Activista
  2. Abuja Global Shapers
  3. African Youth Initiative on Population, Health & Development (AfrYPoD)
  4. Connected Development [CODE]
  5. The Election Network
  6. League of Progressive Ambassadors of Nigeria (LEPAN)
  7. Mind Capital
  8. The Nigerian Youth Parliament
  9. Orodata,
  10. Project Pink Blue
  11. Social Good Nigeria
  12. TechHer NG
  13. The YALI Network
  14. Youngstars Foundation
  15. Youth Hub Africa
  16. YIAGA Africa
  17. Amplified Radio
  18. Media Insight
  19. Say No Campaign
  20. Vision Alive Foundation, Abia
  21. Youth Initiative for Better Change, Adamawa
  22. Young Activists Initiative Nigeria, Akwa Ibom
  23. Integrity Youth Development Initiative, Anambra
  24. Centre for Environment, Human Rights and Development, Bayelsa
  25. The Bridge Youth Development Foundation, Benue
  26. Exit Lanes, Borno
  27. After School Centre for Career Development, Cross River
  28. DIG Foundation, Ebonyi
  29. Connected Advocacy, Edo
  30. Inspiration Care Centre, Ekiti
  31. New Century Initiative, Enugu
  32. Dandalin Matasa Initiative for Rapid Development, Gombe
  33. Development Dynamics, Imo
  34. Centre for Environmental Research and Development, Jigawa
  35. One Project Afrika. Kaduna
  36. Centre for Advocacy in Gender and Social Inclusion, Kano
  37. Youth Entrepreneurship Support Hub, Katsina
  38. Youth Consensus Forum, Kebbi
  39. Youth Emancipation for the Society (ProjectYES), Kogi
  40. Brain Builders International, Kwara
  41. Grassroots Mobilization Initiative, Nasarawa
  42. Nigerian Young Professionals Forum, Niger
  43. Youth Future Savers Initiatives, Ogun
  44. Youth Aglow Initiative, Ondo
  45. Kimpact Development Initiative, Osun
  46. Young Care Initiative, Oyo
  47. Centre for Youth Participation Advocacy, Plateau
  48. Golden Star Development Initiative, Sokoto
  49. Rural Integrated Development Initiative, Taraba
  50. North East Youth Initiative Forum, Yobe
  51. Golden Stars Development Initiative, Zamfara
  52. Modaville Centre for Development, Lagos
  53. National Organization for Citizens Orientation (NOCO), Rivers State.
  54. Nigerian Youth Action (NYA), Rivers State, Nigeria
LGA Supervisor pledge of Neautrality

YIAGA Africa Deploys Pre-Election Observers to all 16 Local Government Area in Ekiti State

….to recruit observers from sampled polling units

Having Observed the Political party primaries in Ekiti State, YIAGA’s Watching The Vote (WTV) project has also trained and deployed Long Term Observers (LTO) to observe the pre-election environment in Ekiti State. The Long Term Observers are also expected to recruit polling unit observers from sampled polling units. The Long Term observes who also double as Local Government Supervisors were deployed to each of the 16 Local Government Areas in the State to report on events, activities and critical incidents using a spescialized checklist and critical incident form. The observation reports from the field are sent in form of coded SMS to the WTV Data Center bi-weekly while the critical incidents are sent in as they occur and properly escalated after verification.

YIAGA Africa’s Watching The Vote Pre-Election observers will observe issues related to the; activities of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) ranging from voter education and information campaigns to the collection and distribution of Permanent Voters Card, activities of political parties like the rallies and campaigns, activities relating to security agencies and incidents capable of undermining the electoral process. Pre-election observers will also observe and report Voter information campaigns by National Orientation Agency (NOA) and other Civil Society Organisations.

At YIAGA Africa, we believe and promote social justice and inclusiveness thus voter education and campaigns targeted specifically at Youths, Women and Persons With Disabilities (PWDs) will be followed closely and duly reported by Observers during the pre-election period. Even as political parties launch their campaigns across the state, our election observation team are interested in campaigns and rallies associated to various political parties while also observing if youths, women and PWDs are also in anyway canvassing for votes.

Through the Pre-Election observation, YIAGA Africa will track early warning signs and any form of incident that can hinder the successful conduct of the elections. In this vein, WTV pre-elections observers will observe and report issues relating to hate speech campaigns, intimidation and harassment of any electoral stakeholder and attacks on media or INEC officials. LTOs will also report government restrictions on political activities or unjustifiable military influx into the state. This will enable YIAGA to verify and report this information to relevant authorities for proper action. Pre-elections observation findings will be shared to the public via various channels of communication including social media.

As a civic hub dedicated to the promotion electoral integrity and credible elections and as an INEC accredited observer group, YIAGA Africa will also be deploying citizens’ observers to observe the Election Day activities. YIAGA invites the people of Ekiti State, Election Stakeholders and citizens to follow the pre-election observation report and engage using the findings of the reports.

Signed

YIAGA Africa

Executive Director,

Samson Itodo

WTV team during a visit to INEC REC Ekiti

Ekiti REC Excited Over WatchingTheVote Election Observation Deployment Plan

….as WTV pays Advocacy visit to INEC, Police

The Ekiti state Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Prof Abdul-Ganiyu Olayinka has said he is excited over YIAGA Africa’s WatchingTheVote (WTV) plan to deploy technology to observe the upcoming Ekiti State Governorship Elections. The REC lauded YIAGA Africa’s WTV electoral reform effort, saying the information and data provided by the project is very useful to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).  The REC said this when he received the WTV team in his office at Ado-Ekiti as he declared his excitement towards the project’s plan to deploy observers technology.

According to Prof Olayinka, YIAGA Africa is a formidable Organisation that strengthens democracy thus the commission will continue to welcome support and partnership on voter education and electoral transparency to correct the mindset of citizens while also building the confidence of electorates going into the elections.

While hoping that YIAGA Africa’s WTV deploys observers to flash points, the REC stressed that WTV deploy competent personnel who have passion for democracy while warning observers about the implication of manipulating data.

Speaking on the Commission’s preparation for the July 14, Governorship Elections in Ekiti state, the REC stated that INEC has launched a citizen voter education program that YIAGA Africa can be part of. He also revealed that, the commission has stepped down Voter Education Town hall meetings to all 16 Local Government Areas in the state. So far 520,000 Permanent Voters Card have been collected by citizens ahead of the election according to the REC.

He also said, INEC will make use of E-collation for the Ekiti election as it had done internet analysis of all the Polling Units in order to identify the best Internet Service Providers for each Polling Unit. According to Prof Olayinka, INEC will also set up and Election Operation Support Centre to monitor and track Election Day procedure to mitigate violence saying INEC’s Election Risk Management desk have identified flashpoints.

The Advocacy meeting was also joined by critical INEC officials like head of Election Party Monitoring, Head of Voter Education, and also key officials from Gender and also Information Communication Technology department.

Police Assures Security of Ekiti Polls

The Nigerian Police force has assured maximum security ahead of the upcoming Governorship Elections in Ekiti state. This was revealed by the Police Public Relations Officer, Caleb Ikechukwu, while receiving YIAGA Africa’s Election observation team in Ado- Ekiti. The PPRO revealed that the Police force will deploy at over 6,000 unarmed Police officers to secure electoral materials, personnel and citizens for the July 14th Governorship Election in the state.

According to Mr Ikechukwu, the Nigerian Police will also deploy 25 tactical units of 63 mobile officers who will be armed at 100m from each Polling Units to protect voters and ensure law and order during elections. He said, there will also be patrol teams with vehicles and also aerial surveillance as he declared that the preparedness if for Pre, during and post the governorship elections in the state.

Mr Ikechukwu urged young people to eschew violence and not allow themselves to be used by politician saying no citizens is expected to be seen with light or heavy weapon. He urged Nigerians to report to the Police if they have any information that will help protect the citizens.

 

President Buhari signs Not Too Young To Run Bill

History is made as Buhari signs Not-Too-Young-To-Run Bill

It was on the 31st Day of May, 2018 at exactly 2.30pm as news emerged from the Presidential Villa that President Muhammadu Buhari has assented to the Not-Too-Young-To-Run Bill.

Indeed 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 said he will be joined by Nigerian Youths to sign the Age Reduction Bill. The President kept to his promise by inviting members of the NotTooYoungToRun movement to the Presidential Villa to witness the signing of the historic 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.

Speaking during the event, the President said, 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 remarkable effort by the movement according to the President has resulted in the heroic task of enshrining in law, a reduction of the minimum ages for elective office in Nigeria.

“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. 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”, the President said

According to him, “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”. He also  urged young people to take advantage of this constitutional amendment.

Media Round table discussion on going

YIAGA Africa’s WatchingTheVote Hosts Media Parley in Ekiti

Ahead of its election observation activities in the state, YIAGA Africa’s  WatchingTheVote has held a media round table discussion with the journalists in Ekiti state.

The Journalists drawn from different Media Organisations which cuts across the Electronics Chapel, Correspondent Chapel and the Online Media Platforms were invited to attend the meeting have been abreast with information as to the goals that YIAGA Africa its deployment plan regarding the Pre-election, election and post-election situation in the state.

According to WTV Project Director, Cynthia Mbamalu, the project is out to foster and ensure a well-coordinated, organized and successful Governorship election scheduled to hold on the July 14th, 2018 through their pre-election observation / activities as well as the Election Day observation report and the post-election observation / activities report among other goals.

She said,   the pre-election activities is expected to focus on the areas of monitoring of the activities of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the Voter Education Campaigns, monitoring of the political parties activities, coordinating and monitoring the marginalised groups such as the people with disabilities in the State and the tracking of the economy activities of the people of the State as well as the activities of individuals and political parties proned to violence.

“To effectively observed the pre-election activities, WTV has also deployed   24 Supervisors across the 16 local government areas in the State as part of their efforts of recording a successful WatchingTheVote Campaigns”, she said.

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.

All Eyes on Buhari: Not Too Young To Run Movement Press Statement on Presidential Assent

The Not Too Young To Run movement is a movement of youth and civil society groups advocating for the reduction of age for running for elective offices to mainstream young men and women in electoral politics. Not Too Young To Run is Nigeria’s largest and most successful youth movement in recent times. The movement is driven by the compelling need to restructure the country’s political system to address the deeply entrenched system of political exclusion and institute inclusive politics, transformative leadership and electoral competitiveness in the electoral process.

The journey of the Not Too Young To Run Movement which began since 2009 with the advocacy for age reduction in the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria has consistently organized youth demands for inclusion as candidates within the political space.

In May 2016 the campaign for age reduction in the 8th Assembly began with the constitution amendment process and the long journey has reached the last and final stage in the process with the successful passage of the Bill at both the National Assembly and State Assemblies and the onward transmission of the Bill to the President for presidential assent as required by the Constitution.

The confirmation of the transmission of the age reduction bill for political office (Not Too Young To Run bill) and other constitution amendment bills to the President for assent was received with great joy by the movement as that restored the hope of young Nigerians who are patiently waiting for the Constitutional amendment to enable them run for office in the 2019 general elections.

The Movement is aware of the position of the law, which makes presidential assent a condition precedent for the passage of bills into law. In particular section 58 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), which provides inter alia ‘the power of the National Assembly to make laws shall be exercised by bills passed by both the Senate and the House of Representatives and, except as otherwise provided, assented to by the President’.

As we prepare for the 2019 general elections the imperative for youth inclusion especially as candidates for all elective positions is not a matter for debate but a constitutional imperative for democratic development.

The Movement hereby demands:

  1. That the President gives his assent to the age reduction Bill within the next eight (8) days as a democracy gift to young Nigerians whose only demand is to be included in the democratic process.
  2. That the president fulfils his commitment to youth development by assenting to the #NotTooYoungToRun Bill and the other Constitutional Amendment Bills.

The movement also wishes to state here that the support from the youth will only come if the Not Too Young To Run bill is speedily passed into law.

The 2019 elections present an opportunity for young people to assert their constitutional right not only as voters or campaign merchants but as qualified electoral candidates. The movement is therefore committed to inspiring and supporting more youth candidates with content and character to run for office through its Ready To Run initiative and other interventions aimed at promoting youth candidacy in the next elections. Young people are ready for 2019 and will only be giving their support to political parties who uphold internal party democracy to safeguard the emergence of more youth candidates in 2019 and most importantly commit to non-violent elections.

The movement will continue to mobilize more young people across the country to participate in the ongoing continuous voter registration exercise, collect their Permanent Voter Card (PVC) and turn out to vote in all elections.

We thank the President in anticipation for his assent to the age reduction bill as a democracy day gift to young people in Nigeria.

We thank the National Assembly and State Assemblies for their support to the #NotTooYoungToRun Bill.

We thank all the young organizers across the country who have remained resolute and have constantly engaged with their stakeholders to ensure the passage of the #NotTooYoungToRun bill, we thank the media, civil society, and our partners for the solidarity and support all through this journey.

One Shared Value, One Shared Goal, #NOTTOOYOUNGTORUN

Our Shared Value, Our Shared Goal, #NOTTOOYOUNGTORUN

Signed

  1. Activista
  2. Abuja Global Shapers
  3. African Youth Initiative on Population, Health & Development (AfrYPoD)
  4. Connected Development [CODE]
  5. Dean Initiative
  6. The Election Network
  7. League of Progressive Ambassadors of Nigeria (LEPAN)
  8. Mind Capital
  9. The Nigerian Youth Parliament
  10. Orodata,
  11. Project Pink Blue
  12. Social Good Nigeria
  13. TechHer NG
  14. The YALI Network
  15. Youngstars Foundation
  16. Youth Hub Africa
  17. YIAGA Africa
  18. Amplified Radio
  19. Media Insight
  20. Say No Campaign
  21. Vision Alive Foundation, Abia
  22. Youth Initiative for Better Change, Adamawa
  23. Young Activists Initiative Nigeria, Akwa Ibom
  24. Integrity Youth Development Initiative, Anambra
  25. Centre for Environment, Human Rights and Development, Bayelsa
  26. The Bridge Youth Development Foundation, Benue
  27. Exit Lanes, Borno
  28. After School Centre for Career Development, Cross River
  29. DIG Foundation, Ebonyi
  30. Connected Advocacy, Edo
  31. Inspiration Care Centre, Ekiti
  32. New Century Initiative, Enugu
  33. Dandalin Matasa Initiative for Rapid Development, Gombe
  34. Development Dynamics, Imo
  35. Centre for Environmental Research and Development, Jigawa
  36. One Project Afrika. Kaduna
  37. Centre for Advocacy in Gender and Social Inclusion, Kano
  38. Youth Entrepreneurship Support Hub, Katsina
  39. Youth Consensus Forum, Kebbi
  40. Youth Emancipation for the Society (ProjectYES), Kogi
  41. Brain Builders International, Kwara
  42. Grassroots Mobilization Initiative, Nasarawa
  43. Nigerian Young Professionals Forum, Niger
  44. Youth Future Savers Initiatives, Ogun
  45. Youth Aglow Initiative, Ondo
  46. Kimpact Development Initiative, Osun
  47. Young Care Initiative, Oyo
  48. Centre for Youth Participation Advocacy, Plateau
  49. Golden Star Development Initiative, Sokoto
  50. Rural Integrated Development Initiative, Taraba
  51. North East Youth Initiative Forum, Yobe
  52. Golden Stars Development Initiative, Zamfara
  53. Modaville Centre for Development, Lagos
  54. National Organization for Citizens Orientation (NOCO), Rivers State.
  55. Nigerian Youth Action (NYA), Rivers State, Nigeria