Run To Win : Yiaga Africa Rallies Support for Young Candidates in Enugu
Despite the low level of youth candidates running for elections in the 2023 General elections, Yiaga Africa has called on stakeholders especially political party leaders to inspire hope and confidence in the competence and capacity of young people running in the February and March 2023 elections. This call was made by Yiaga Africa’s Program Manager, Ibrahim Faruk during a town hall meeting for young candidates running in the 2023 elections in Enugu State.
According to him, the Townhall which is under the Run To Win project and supported by Voice provides a platform to bridge the gap between the general public, youth candidates, and different party leaders to strategize on the best ways to mobilize support that will enable them to make an impact and win in the 2023 general elections.
He, however, decried the low level of youth candidacy in the forthcoming 2023 elections, disclosing that their representation fell from 34% in the 2019 general elections to 28.6% in the 2023 elections. This percentage, according to him, covers young candidates running for the position of Governors, National Assembly, and State Assembly seats nationwide.
Also speaking at the event, the Public Relations Officer of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Enugu State, Mr. Pius Eze emphasized that the Commission is evolving. In his words, ‘‘the elections we have had in previous years are different from what we will have in 2023, due to the provisions of the new electoral law, which is big on technology. The Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS), the INEC Voter Enrolment Device (IVED), and the Results Viewing Portal are all solid proof that the Commission is serious about a rig-proof election come 2023.’’
Mr. Eze also added that the interest of young people in politics is at an all-time high, as ‘‘the era of apathy is completely behind us,’’ he concluded.
The Factsheet on Youth Candidacy in Enugu State was also launched at the event, which revealed that there are 113 youth candidates contesting for the House of Representatives and House of Assembly seats in the 2023 general elections in Enugu state. 15 of these youth candidates are contesting for the House of Representatives seats while 98 are contesting for the State House of Assembly seats. It also showed that there are 45 youth candidates (between ages 25-30) who are direct beneficiaries of the NotTooYoungToRun Act, representing 39.8% of youth candidates (between the ages of 31-35).
On gender representation, only 25 young female candidates which represent 25.5% of the youth candidates are in the 2023 race; while 73 male candidates represent 74.5% of the youth candidates for the House of Assembly Elections in Enugu in the 2023 Elections.
Yiaga Africa’s Program Officer, Olaniyan Sanusi who presented the data in the Factsheet, highlighted some recommendations made by Yiaga Africa, including that political parties should provide technical, financial, and logistics support to young male and female candidates during the campaigns, to enable them secure victory. Media organizations are also tasked to prioritize visibility for young candidates and to tell their stories to the public positively.
Run To Win is a campaign dedicated to supporting young women and men with competence, capacity, and character to contest and win elections in Nigeria. Borne from the demands of the Not Too Young to Run campaign, the Run to Win campaign is designed to support youth political aspirants to run issue-based campaigns, win elections and occupy elective offices.