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23 Feb
0

STATEMENT BY YIAGA-CLE AT AN ADVOCACY VISIT TO THE CHAIRMAN HOUSE COMMITTEE ON YOUTH DEVELOPMENT

Honorable Chairman,

YIAGA Africa-Centre for Legislative Engagement (YIAGA-CLE) with support from the European Union undertook an analysis of the 2018 Appropriation bill from a youth perspective to ascertain the Federal government’s priority for youth development based on the budget proposal and its responsiveness to the needs young people. The analysis looked at the budget for the Federal Ministry of Sports and Youth Development and some social and economic including the budget for the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education, Ministry Agriculture and Rural Development, Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, the budget for the Social Investment Program (SIP) and the budget for the National Directorate of Employment.

Considering that the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development’s (FMYSD) was created with the mandate to provide overarching policy direction and coordination for youth development in Nigeria, the focus on the budget for the ministry was to ensure that the budget was structured to fulfil the Ministry’s mission of providing the necessary infrastructure, sustainable framework, policies to enhance the development of the Nigerian Youth, the protection of their rights and continuous improvement of the quality of life for the entire citizenry and making Nigeria one of the leading sporting nations in the world.

The budget for the Ministry is divided in into four parts according to the four parastatals under the Ministry. This include; the FMYSD – Head Quarters (HQ), the Centre for Citizenship and Leadership, the National Youth Service Corps, the Nigeria Football Federation and The Nigeria Institute for Sports.

The FMYSD has been allocated 1.4% of theN8.612trillion budget proposal of the 2018 Federal Government budget, this amounts to N116,220,852,559. A breakdown of this budget indicates that the recurrent budget consisting Salaries and Overheads takes a larger share of 95% while the capital budget which funds projects and programmes is only 5%.

 General observation on the FMYSD budget

Generally, it is observed that the FMYSD budget is very lean when compared to the role it is expected to perform. A break-down of the budget indicates that the recurrent expenditure as it is currently proposed gulps 95% of the budget while the capital expenditure is limited to only 5% of the budget. This at first instance presents a major challenge considering that share of capital is lopsided and fails to meet the government’s policy of 70 to 30 for recurrent and capital budgets. Interestingly, most of the expenditure lines are administrative in nature. In other words, priority is placed on procurement of items such as vehicles, computers, furniture fittings, repairs of offices etc.

In addition, the proposed budget for the FMYSD introduced too many new projects, which are underfunded with the likelihood to result in several incomplete projects thus adding to the growing number of abandoned projects. Details of budget line were not explicit to ensure transparency and fiscal responsibility. For instance, budget items in the FMYSD – HQ and the Nigeria Football Federation budget for sporting activities within the recurrent budget were not clearly stated. Both agencies could end up expending public resources for same activities if the type, location and beneficiaries are not clearly stated. Some of the specific observations include:

  1. The review of FMYSD budget shows that all the agencies did not apply the principles of good budgeting. Budgets of agencies were unrealistic given the magnitude of the problem and challenges youth face in Nigeria.
  2. The review of the national Youth policy tagged as an ongoing project means it was not completed in the last fiscal year. It is not clear if the amount budgeted for this fiscal year will be enough to complete the process. A national Youth Policy should be current and developed to address present day challenges while acting as a guide to develop relevant youth intervention in Nigeria.
  3. 49 new projects of FMYSD –HQ are too many resulting in a lean budget spread across many activities.
  4. Budgets for entrepreneurship and skills building aretoo lean to yield any significance in numbers of youths reached or results.
  5. A budget of N15m each for 40 Federal Universities, 21 Federal Polytechnics and over 100 Unity Schools respectively for sports equipments is lean. It is not clear  how many schools  in each category will benefit from these equipments
  6. Youth training on citizenship and leadership should be prioritized in the FMYSD 2018 budget, given the worrisome trends in youth agitations across the Country.
  7. Public private partnerships for the provision of entrepreneurship, vocational and sporting activities through the agencies should be encouraged and such budgets captured within public funding to ensure accountability.
  8. The Ministry should adjust its pattern of allocation to the 70:30 percent rule for Recurrent and Capital budget respectively, reflecting the policy on public finance
  9. Allocations to youth programmes should be strictly for young persons. Lumping budgets for youth with women was seen across most of the sectors. Although both are vulnerable groups their needs are surely different.

Recommendations

  1. It is therefore recommended that the MDAs adjusts the pattern of allocation to the 70:30 percent rule for Recurrent and Capital budget respectively, reflecting the policy on public finance management which the Federal Government has adjusted to.
  2. New projects within agencies should be reduced to a manageable number that will allow for optimal funding of project and possible completion within the medium term, depending on the size of the project.
  3. Projects on entrepreneurship, vocational skills should be adequately funded or left to specific ministries with direct functions such as NDE. There is need to harmonize youth programmes to ensure synergies and reduce duplications – a guideline on responsibility and budget priority for youth within federal agencies should be produced by the FMYSD.
  4. To avoid duplications, budgets for Sporting Activities in FMYSD-HQ and the Nigeria Football Federation should provide details on type, location and target audience. This will ensure a more transparent and efficient allocation of resources.
  5. Youth training on Leadership is very important. The Citizens and Leadership Centre’s budget should be increased to provide at least 6 zonal leadership programmes yearly. The agency should also reflect it revenue generating capacity within its budget.
  6. Public private partnerships for the provision of entrepreneurship and sporting activities through the relevant agencies should be encouraged and such budgets captured within public funding to ensure accountability
  7. The MDA’s should budget separately for youth activities from that of women and children. Since this is an area of intervention that needs strategic approach, it is important that allocations are separated; this will also enable tracking of funds and oversight of budget.

In conclusion, YIAGA-CLE is of the opinion that the budget of the Ministry as proposed is unrealistic given the magnitude of the youth demography and challenges youth face in Nigeria. This challenge is not peculiar to the budget of just the FMYSD but extends to the other social and economic sector that directly or indirectly impacts on youth development. Identifying this challenge and underscoring the importance of inclusive budgeting that meets the needs of the youth, YIAGA-CLE has designed a toolkit for Youth Development. This toolkit will be presented to the Committee of Youth Development and partners working to promote youth development. This toolkit will further strengthen the oversight function of the Committee for regulatory supervision of public expenditure to ensure transparency and accountability of public resources that truly meet the need of young people in Nigeria.

 

Samson Itodo

Executive Director

 

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22 Feb
0

‘Corruption getting worse in Nigeria’ — Transparency International releases 2017 index

Corruption is getting worse in Nigeria, according to the latest corruption perception index (CPI) released by Transparency International (TI) on Wednesday.

While the country scored 27/100 and was ranked 136th in 2016, the latest CPI scores Nigeria 28/100 but with a rank of No. 148 out of 180 countries surveyed — a significant 12 places below where it was the previous year.

This will come as a blow to the President Muhammadu Buhari administration who came into office on the strength of his anti-corruption credential.

Although the administration has put many suspects on trial and seized assets of politicians and government officials, it has also been accused of condoning corrupt practices by top government officials.

The index, which ranks 180 countries and territories by their perceived levels of public sector corruption in the opinion of experts and business people, uses a scale of 0 to 100, where 0 is highly corrupt and 100 is very clean, according to TI.

NIGERIA NOW MORE CORRUPT THAN KENYA

An analysis by TheCable shows that Kenya, which was rated more corrupt than Nigeria in 2016, has now overtaken the west African country, climbing to 143 from 145.

Other sub Saharan African countries ranked higher than Nigeria are Botswana — whose joint 34 rank is the best in Africa — as well as Rwanda (joint 48) and Nambia (joint 53).

Nigeria is ranked 148 along with Guinea and Comoros.

In 2015, Nigeria scored 26/100 and was ranked 136 — although only 168 countries and territories were surveyed then.

New Zealand maintains the No. 1 rank with a score of 89/100, Denmark No. 2 with 88, while Finland, Norway and Switzerland are joint No. 3 with 85.

‘CORRUPTION FIGHT IN NIGERIA STALLED’

Meanwhile, the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), the national contact of TI, says it is “seriously worried” about the new but unfavorable trend in the fight against corruption in the country, as buttressed in the newly published CPI.

“On the African continent, Nigeria ranks 32nd position in Africa out of 52 assessed countries in 2017. While Botswana leads the continent with the record of competent and largely corruption-free public administration, Nigeria hopelessly falls behind with 27 points. In West Africa, Nigeria is the second worst country out of 17 countries leaving only Guinea Bissau behind,” CISLAC said in a statement released on Wednesday evening.

“This fresh setback in the fight against corruption confirms that grand-corruption, political corruption, nepotism, favoritism and bribery persist in Nigeria at all levels. It is CISLAC’s view that the negative perception is mainly a consequence of the inability to combat grand corruption and astronomical plundering of public coffers costing the Nigerian tax payers around 25% of annual GDP. Since the current administration has come to power on the anti-corruption ticket, no significant politically exposed person has been duly sentenced on anti-corruption charges,” it added.

Source: The Cable

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21 Feb
0

Is Nigeria’s Electoral Democracy Under Threat? Prof. Jega Set to Chair  Watching the Vote Panel Discussion

The 2019 election is barely 360 days away and we are yet to conclude on the amendments to the Electoral Act, the budget for the Independent National Electoral Commission for 2018 that directly impacts on the planning for the February 2019 General Elections and the increasing demand by citizens for the auditing of the National Voter Register especially with the controversial allegation of underage voters from the just concluded Local Government Elections in Kano State. In addition, is the rising insecurity, the rise of ethnic militancy and fragmentation as well as the poor state of the economy remain key issues as we move towards the 2019 General Elections.

As Several issues dominating the electoral discourse remain contentious and while each side of the argument will affirm superiority, the important question on how all these impacts on the success and credibility of the 2019 general election is yet to answered. The maiden edition of the YIAGA Africa WatchingTheVote Election Dialogue Series will be providing a platform for key stakeholders to debate on these issues while seeking to provide answers to the question: “Is Nigeria’s Democracy Under Threat?” The Panel session which will be chaired by the Immediate Past Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC); Professor Attahiru Jega, billed to take place on 22nd February 2019 with Distinguished Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, Prof. Okechukwu Ibeanu, Udo Jude Ilo, Idayat Hassan and Chef (Barr.) Dan Nwanyanwu as speakers. The WTV Election Dialogue Series is a high level electoral policy dialogue designed to create a platform for engagement on the 2019 general elections in Nigeria. The event-based series provides an opportunity for key election stakeholders and citizens to engage on pathways for ensuring free, credible and peaceful elections in 2019.

While the 2015 general election was largely believed to be free and fair, it was far from perfect with records of poor voter turnout. The 2019 elections present’s more intriguing prospects with more citizens getting interested in the election as indicated in the rate of turn-out for the Continuous Voter Registration exercise and the whole discourse on having more young people and new alliances contest for the elections. As an active participant in the elections and one of the Election observer groups in Nigeria, there is no better time to build on the lessons learnt from previous elections and engage stakeholders; INEC, Political Parties, Civil society Organizations (CSOs), Media, Security Agents and citizens for better preparation for the forthcoming 2019 general election. This is most needful as Nigeria begins the countdown on the “Road to 2019” General Elections.

 

Signed

Samson Itodo

Executive Director, YIAGA Africa

 

 

 

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19 Feb
0

Kano, INEC and the 2019 Elections, By Jibrin Ibrahim

Kano, it would be recalled, has been in political turmoil for over one year as former Governor Kwankwaso had been involved in a fight to finish with current Governor Ganduje and the local government election was the opportunity for the current governor to show that he is the only game in town, as such there was additional pressure to falsify the election.

The Kano local government election has been one of the main issues of controversy in the past week. The debate was over video images that circulated showing boys, definitely younger than 18-years, queuing up to vote or thumb printing multiple ballot papers. It led to genuine alarm over the implications of such behaviour for next year’s elections. Charly Boy, the famous entertainer, led a coalition of civil society activists organised under the banner of OurMumuDonDo to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to complain about the election and demand for action. The social media was full of critical comments attacking INEC for the shambolic election. INEC then engaged in a media frenzy, explaining that it had nothing to do with the election, which they argued was organised by the body constitutionally empowered to do so, the State Independent Electoral Commission (SIEC).

I recall that when the Uwais Electoral Reform Committee was touring Nigeria for the views of citizens on its assignment, one of the key complaints then was that the State Independent Electoral Commissions were not independent of state governors and that they deny citizens the right to elect chairpersons and councillors at the local government level, imposing lists of candidates that had been drawn up by governors on the people. I still recall the anger of so many petitioners who really wanted to vote for good people to run their local governments, the closest level of administration for citizens, but who could not do so as the so-called elections are always non-elections in reality. The Uwais Committee recommended what has been a national consensus – that there should be a constitutional alteration allowing INEC to takeover the conduct of local government elections. That is yet to happen.

If everyone knows that local government elections in the country have never been elections, why was the Kano show so controversial? The first issue was the optics. The videos that I saw showed that most of the people involved appeared to be children; it was as if there are no adults in Kano State. Kano, as is well known, is an issue because of its huge electoral base. Local government elections are supposed to be conducted using the INEC voters’ register but none of the images I saw showed the use of the register. The problem, apparently, is that there is no mechanism compelling the SIEC to stick to the legal provision of using the INEC register, and INEC has no supervisory role in the conduct of the elections.

The general situation in the country, with violence spreading and preparations going on for next year’s elections, has focused attention on the voters’ register. For the first time since the return of democracy in 1999, INEC is adhering to the provisions of the Electoral Act by conducting Continuous Voter Registration (CVR).

Kano, it would be recalled, has been in political turmoil for over one year as former Governor Kwankwaso had been involved in a fight to finish with current Governor Ganduje and the local government election was the opportunity for the current governor to show that he is the only game in town, as such there was additional pressure to falsify the election. People knew that and did not bother to turn up for the election. The opposition to Ganduje had a stake in proving that there was no election and some of the images circulated may have been photoshopped by them to make that point. However, I believe that some of the images are real and confirm the popular belief that elections did not take place in Kano State.

The general situation in the country, with violence spreading and preparations going on for next year’s elections, has focused attention on the voters’ register. For the first time since the return of democracy in 1999, INEC is adhering to the provisions of the Electoral Act by conducting Continuous Voter Registration (CVR). With the introduction of the Biometric Voter Register in 2011, INEC no longer undertakes fresh voters’ registration with every election. In 2015, there was a CVR at the ward level for one week to update the 2011 voters’ register, in preparation for the 2015 General Elections. In April 2017, INEC took the next step by commencing voters’ registration on a continuous, all-year round basis, as provided for by law. Initially, turn out for the registration was low, until religious organisations started urging their members to register. One WhatsApp message is indicative of the mood in the land – “prayer points won’t give you the vote, you need your permanent voters’ card”. This for me is a good indication that Nigerians are beginning to accept that both the voters’ list and our elections have improved integrity and credibility. The optics of the Kano videos raised an alarm because people started posing questions.

One fallout of the proposed new schedule is that organising three elections, instead of the customary two, would be a huge financial burden on national resources in a period when the country is just emerging from economic recession. There would be enormous logistics and cost implications for INEC, in terms of the mobilisation and demobilisation…

According to INEC, so far, four million Nigerians have been registered between April and December 2017. As the pressure mounts on citizens to get on the register, my fear is that people who are already registered would go out to register again. Continuous registration is uniquely for people who have turned 18, and not for those already on the register. Double registration is a crime. People who have changed locations or lost their cards are allowed to apply for new cards, but they must not pretend they are not on the register. The response to the Kano images should be to protect the integrity and credibility of the voters’ roll. That should be our focus.

On Wednesday, the National Assembly concluded the process of rescheduling the elections. The changes they have introduced to the sequence of the elections are disturbing because it has implications for the independence of INEC. According to Paragraph 15 (1) of the Third Schedule of the 1999 Constitution, INEC has the power “to organise, undertake and supervise all elections to the offices of the President and Vice President, the Governor and Deputy Governor of a State, and to the membership of the Senate, the House of Representatives, and the House of Assembly of each State of the Federation.” The Constitution is clear that election to the offices listed above “shall be held on a date to be appointed by the Independent National Electoral Commission.” Based on this provision, State and National Assembly elections were held before governorship and presidential elections previously, and the dates and sequence of the 2019 elections have already been determined by INEC. It is hard to see the purpose of isolating the National Assembly elections and putting these ahead of the governorship and presidential election. It would have been more logical to group federal elections on one day and state level elections on another, or to group legislative elections on one day and election into executive positions on another. It appears that the only purpose might be that National Assembly members think they would enhance their personal chances in the elections if they go first. They forget that the evidence from previous elections is that their governors would deny most of them nomination and usually only 20 percent of them usually return to the chambers. Their thinking then might be that if they are thrown out of their parties and join new ones, the rescheduling might enhance their chances. This, to say the least is self-serving.

One fallout of the proposed new schedule is that organising three elections, instead of the customary two, would be a huge financial burden on national resources in a period when the country is just emerging from economic recession. There would be enormous logistics and cost implications for INEC, in terms of the mobilisation and demobilisation of upwards of over one million regular and Ad-hoc INEC staff, transportation, feeding and security personnel. The capacity and resources of the security agencies will be severely tasked in providing election security for three elections over a six-week period, given the dire national security situation in the country. The same would be true for local and international election observers. Laws are serious instruments and should not be made for selfish interest without consideration for the national interest.

Source: Premium Times

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19 Feb
0

EXCLUSIVE: Real reasons Senators, Reps amended 2019 election sequence

Details have emerged on the reasons the National Assembly changed the sequence of elections ahead of the 2019 polls.

Some lawmakers who spoke with PREMIUM TIMES in confidence said negotiations that preceded the passage ended in majority favouring the change based on past experiences and calculations about the 2019 elections.

According to the timetable released by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), presidential and National Assembly elections were slated for the same day on February 16, 2019.

However, with amendment to section 25 of the Electoral Act, election into seats in the National Assembly will hold on the first day before those of the state lawmakers and state governors on the second day, with the presidential election holding last on a separate date.

According to the section, the elections shall be held in the following order: (a) National Assembly election (b) States House of Assembly and Governorship elections (c) Presidential election.

The House of Representatives was first to amend the Electoral Act some weeks after INEC’s timetable was announced. However, the passage at the senate was not without drama and dissent.

The senate chamber was thrown into a rowdy session on Wednesday, February 14, following the adoption of the conference committee report on amendment to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Act.

The senate in its justification of the amendment said members of the conference committee followed rules guiding legislative procedures in the Senate and the House of Representatives in making the recommendation.

“Our rule says whatever position we have taken and there is a similar one in the house, we harmonise, but where the house has taken a position that we have not taken, we are bound compulsorily to adopt that of the house,” Senate spokesperson, Sabi Abdullahi, said on Wednesday.
While the plenary was still on, 10 senators left the chamber to address the press on their disapproval of the amendment to section 25 of the Act. They alleged that the change in sequence was targeted at President Muhammadu Buhari.

However, two influential senators who supported the amendments, and who have deep insights of the political schemings that culminated in their passage, have now confirmed to PREMIUM TIMES that the changes were indeed targeted at President Buhari, with sights trained on the next elections.

Both senators asked not to be named so they are not victimised by the presidency and the national leadership of the ruling party.

The first lawmaker traced the decision to amend the sequence of elections to the crisis rocking the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC).

“The change in sequence is as a result of APC crisis where it was predicted that senators and members of House of Reps will not be given ticket because the governors want to replace them with their own candidates,” he said.

“Almost 70 to 80 percent of APC senators and Reps members are working on moving to other parties. So, in order for them to move to other parties, the understanding is that if they will move to other parties, under the old order, it will be difficult for people to win elections. The idea is that if you move to a new party, people can be voted based on their own merit.

“The new arrangement favours three categories of people. One, the APC members who are aggrieved, second, it favours smaller political parties. Third, it favours the PDP.”

The lawmaker added that rather than fighting the President as the dissenting senators claimed, they are actually fighting for their political interests.

“Those who came up against it, outwardly, they are saying that it was targeted at Buhari but inwardly, what they were saying was that if they separate presidential election from National Assembly election, the APC will not release money for polling agents. That APC will not release money for the National Assembly elections. But it is only when they tie National Assembly election with presidential election that the APC will have no option than to fund it.”

The second lawmaker said the need to erase the notion that lawmakers won their elections in 2015 due to the bandwagon effect of Mr. Buhari’s election informed the new order.

After the 2015 elections, analysts posited that majority of APC lawmakers rode on the popularity of Mr. Buhari to win their elections. This, some of the lawmakers consider offensive.

The lawmaker said the need to test the water, with or without the President, informed the decision to alter the election sequence.

Also, the new order was imperative due to alleged electoral attitude of President Buhari and the APC.

If the sequence was left the way it was, the lawmakers are of the opinion that Mr. Buhari will not be interested in other elections once he wins his.

Besides, according to our source, the APC will be forced to release money for other elections bearing in mind that the president’s election is at stake.

Meanwhile, the House of Representatives, unlike the Senate, adopted the harmonised version of the amended Electoral Act on Wednesday.

The amendments, if eventually signed by the president, will effectively re-organise the sequence of elections in Nigeria.

However, if the president withholds assent, the lawmakers are empowered by the constitution to veto the amendment with the votes of two-thirds of their members.

The lawmakers told PREMIUM TIMES that they (senators) are ready to veto the decision should the president reject the bill.

Source: Premium Times

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19 Feb
0

British High Commissioner Urges Buhari to sign NotTooYungToRun bill into Law

Fresh from the historic feat of the passage of NotTooYoungTorun bill in over 24 states constitutionally required by law, the bill has enjoyed another major boost as British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Paul Arkwright has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to assent to the bill as soon as its transmitted to him by the National Assembly.

Mr Arkwright said this on Saturday barely 24 hours after the #NotTooYoungToRun movement issued 30-day ultimatum to State Assemblies, National Assembly and the Executive to conclude the ongoing constitutional amendments process.  While congratulating the movement on the historic feat he said, the next step is young people especially women to present themselves as candidates.

He made this known via his official twitter handle saying “I am delighted at this excellent news and congratulate the #NotTooYoungToRun campaign. I urge @Mbuhari to gibe assent as soon as possible. Next step is young people (especially women) to present themselves as candidates”. Mr. Arkwright who has always publicly declared support for the #NotTooYoungToRun campaign is of the believe that, it is important that the voice of young people in Nigeria is heard loud and clear.

As young Nigerians look forward in participating in politics, all Focus is now on President Muhammadu to assent on the age reduction bill after the bill met the Constitutional requirement of passage in State houses of assemblies. The movement also urged state assemblies to conclude and transmit the constitutional amendment back to the National Assembly as soon as possible.

The bill was first passed by the Nigerian National Assembly in a historic vote in July 2017. The bill seeks to reduce the age for running for elective office in Nigeria. With this unprecedented feat, the world looks to President Muhammadu Buhari to assent to the constitutional amendment. Once the President assents, the bill becomes law making it possible for young people to run for office in 2019.

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.

 

 

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16 Feb
0

OFFICIAL STATEMENT ON THE HISTORIC PASSAGE OF THE AGE REDUCTION BILL BY STATE ASSEMBLIES

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 February 15, 2018, the Age Reduction bill popularly referred to as the Not Too Young To Run bill received affirmative votes from twenty-five (25) state assemblies. In other words, 25 state houses of assembly have passed the Not Too Young To Run bill seeking to reduce the age for running for elective office in Nigeria. With this passage, the bill has met the constitutional threshold prescribed by Section 9 (2) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended). The Section stipulates that any amendment to the constitution must be approval by at least 24 state Houses of Assembly.

The passage of the bill by the states is historic and unprecedented. This will no doubt enhance the quality of Nigeria’s democracy. We have shown the world that we are a country that believes in its youthful population and is taking concrete steps to address political inequality and social exclusion.  This is a practical step towards harnessing the demographic dividend. The movement therefore appreciates the 25 of the 36 state assemblies that have so far passed the Not Too Young To Run bill. They have registered their names in the annals of history by passing Not Too Young To Run and the Nigerian youth appreciates them. This demonstration of commitment to inclusive democracy and more importantly youth inclusion is recognized. Posterity will be fair to you.

It is against this background that we are inaugurating the following State Houses of Assembly into the Not Too Young To Run Hall of Fame. These state assemblies will henceforth be referred to as Youth Friendly State Assemblies.

  1. Abia State House of Assembly
  2. Adamawa State House of Assembly
  3. Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly
  4. Anambra State House of Assembly
  5. Bauchi State House
  6. Benue State House of Assembly
  7. Borno State House of Assembly
  8. Delta State House of Assembly
  9. Ebonyi State House of Assembly
  10. Ekiti State House of Assembly
  11. Enugu State House of Assembly
  12. Gombe State House of Assembly
  13. Imo State House of Assembly
  14. Jigawa State House of Assembly
  15. Kaduna State House of Assembly
  16. Katsina State House of Assembly
  17. Kebbi State House of Assembly
  18. Kogi State House of Assembly
  19. Kwara State House of
  20. Nassarawa State House of Assembly
  21. Niger State House of Assembly
  22. Ogun State House of Assembly
  23. Ondo State House of Assembly
  24. Plateau State House of Assembly
  25. Yobe State House of Assembly

Since the states started voting on constitutional amendments, only the Taraba State House of Assembly has voted against the age reduction. On 20th December 2017, the movement was disappointed by the decision of the state assembly to vote against the age reduction. This is a major setback for Nigeria’s democracy. We are therefore inaugurating the Taraba State House of Assembly into the Not Too Young To Run Hall of Shame. We urge youths of Taraba to vote out the 11 lawmakers who voted against the will of their people.

The movement would like to place on record that the amendment as passed by the National Assembly and State Assemblies reduces the qualifying age of the President from 40 to 35; House of Representatives from 30 years to 25 years and State House of Assembly from 30 years to 25 years. The age for the Governor and Senate was retained at the current 35 years. This is not totally in line with the demands of the movement. However, we recognize this as a progressive step towards opening the political space for young men and women to participate in electoral politics. The movement will not renege on its demand for the alignment of the voting age with the eligibility age for running for office.

As a movement we are determined to vigorously mobilizing young people to participate actively in the electoral process in the buildup to the 2019 elections as candidates and voters.

Resolutions/Recommendations

  1. We urge the state assemblies to without further delay transmit the amendments to the National Assembly.
  2. We call on the National Assembly to transmit the constitutional amendments to President Muhammadu Buhari for assent as soon as the bills are received from the state assemblies.
  3. We call on President Muhammadu Buhari to assent to the constitutional amendment bill especially the Age Reduction bill as soon as the bills are transmitted to him for assent. Should the President delay or declines assent to the bill, we call on the National Assembly to veto the President.

In the interest of Nigeria’s Democracy, the Not Too Young To Run movement gives the State Assemblies, National Assembly and the Executive 30 days to conclude the ongoing constitutional amendments process.

We call on political parties to uphold the principles of internal democracy, transparency and accountability. With the passage of Not Too Young To Run, we expect more youth will seek to political office. Whilst noting that the parties provide a platform for the actualization of political aspirations, we also note that parties can undermine and jeopardize youth candidacy at elections. It is therefore important to reiterate the need for political parties to ensure internal party democracy to safeguard the emergence of youth candidates in the 2019 elections.

In furtherance of our goal, the movement has declared March 14, 2018 a National Day of Action for Presidential Assent. We call on all citizens especially young people to prepare as we march to the Presidential Villa to constructively engage with the President on assent to Not Too Young To Run.

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

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

 

 

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15 Feb
0

All eyes on Buhari as #NotTooYoungToRun Bill Sails Through State Assembly

All Focus is now on President Muhammadu to assent on the age reduction bill after the bill met the Constitutional requirement of passage in 24 states to become law. The age reduction bill popularly known as #NotTooYoungToRun has been passed in 24 states as young Nigerians look forward to participating more in politics as candidates.

The bill met the historic threshold on Thursday when Plateau and Anambra state completed passage of the bill in the 24 states required for the bill to become a law. Earlier in the week, Kebbi, Akwa Ibom, Enugu, Kaduna and Niger state joined other history making states in passing the bill that will see the age of running for the office of the Presidency reduced from 40 to 35 years old. Other states that also made this become reality include Kogi and Ogun state.

The Ondo state House of Assembly became the first state assembly to pass the Not Too Young to Run (age reduction) bill as part of the constitutional amendment, followed closely by the Adamawa, Kwara, Benue and Nasarawa State Houses of Assembly who also passed the Not Too Young To Run bill. Borno, Delta, Enugu, Ekiti, Katsina, Yobe and Gombe state assemblies also passed bill in December 2017.

In January 2018, the Kogi state House of Assembly passed the age reduction bill (Not Too Young To Run) while in February 2018, the Bauchi and Jigawa state Houses of Assembly passed the bill. Yesterday, February 6th, 2018, Ebonyi state also joined the Hall of Fame by passing the Not Too Young To Run bill.

The bill was first passed by the Nigerian National Assembly in a historic vote in July 2017. The bill seeks to reduce the age for running for elective office in Nigeria. With this unprecedented feat, the world looks to President Muhammadu Buhari to assent to the constitutional amendment. Once the President assents, the bill becomes law making it possible for young people to run for office in 2019.

These states have been inaugurated into the Not Too Young To Run Hall of Fame for voting in line with aspirations of the Nigerian people. By this singular act, Nigerian youth have made history and written their names in gold. The passage of Not Too Young To Run is a demonstration of the commitment to the tenets of representative democracy. We commend them for fulfilling their promise to their constituents and the Nigerian youth. Nigerian youth will always remember them for showing leadership in promoting youth inclusion in democratic politics in Nigeria. Posterity will be fair to them.

 

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14 Feb
0

2019: INEC partners NIGCOMSAT on e-collation, transmission

Ahead of the 2019 general elections, Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has met with the management of the Nigeria Communications Satellite, NIGCOMSAT, to enhance the former’s bid to ensure electronic collation and transmission of election results. Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) A statement by Chief Press Secretary to INEC Chairman, Mr Rotimi Oyekanmi, recalled that the INEC boss had only last week had a very useful meeting with the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, as the regulator of the telecommunications sector in Nigeria.

The statement read: “In continuation of consultations with national agencies in the telecommunications sector, INEC considers this interactive meeting critical to the success of our commitment to deepening of the application of technology to elections. “We ,therefore, appreciate the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer and management staff of Nigerian Communications Satellite, NIGCOMSAT, Abimbola Alale, for the kind acceptance of our request for this visit. “Through the NCC, we are reaching out to the telecommunications operators for the necessary connectivity to ensure that results of elections from each of the 119,973 (or approximately 120,000) polling units nationwide are electronically transmitted, including scanned images of result sheets. “While we appreciate the tremendous reach of the telecommunications operators, we are equally aware that some of our Polling Units are located in places where 3G and 4G networks are not available for real time electronic transmission of results.

“It is for this reason that we wish to leverage on the capacity of NIGCOMSAT to provide a wide range of telecommunication services. “In particular, your broadband service offers a tremendous flexible bandwidth capacity that can be deployed almost anywhere and in a short period of time, including hard-to-reach and temporary locations. “These are invaluable to the work of INEC. Working with you and in partnership with the NCC as well as the telecommunications operators, we believe the challenges to the seamless transmission of results are not insurmountable.

Source: Vanguard

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13 Feb
0

YIAGA AFRICA LAUNCHES #BOUNCECORRUPTION PUBLIC INTEGRITY DEBATES IN TERTIARY INSTITUTIONS ACROSS NIGERIA

A Corruption survey report by National Bureau for Statistics (NBS) in 2017 shows that majority of Nigerians will accept a bribe when offered or pay a bribe when demanded. According to the report, only 5.3 per cent of Nigerians will either refuse to pay a bribe when asked to or refuse to accept when a bribe is offered to them. The report revealed that young people constitute the largest percentage (95 percent) who are likely to pay or receive bribe as the case may be.  Interestingly, one of the most likely kind of bribe is the payment of bride for jobs in the civil service.

The report does not only release data to support the growing rate of corruption but reveals a reality that is beyond worrisome. If we consider that every year millions of young people in Nigeria look forward to being admitted to any of the over 150 private and public higher institution in Nigeria with millions graduating and hoping to be absorbed by the almost absent job market. If we consider that youth unemployment in Nigeria was at December 2017 is was 52.65% or 22.64 million according to NBS report, then we may begin to understand the dire condition we find ourselves. In the center of this is the challenge of corruption that has robbed us of good governance that meets the needs of the people with our national wealth being plundered over the years and presently. We are impoverished in a supposedly wealthy nation and have no better option than to join the movement of citizens united in the fight against corruption. YIAGA Africa in 2017 launched her #BounceCorruption project to mobilize over 20 million Nigerians in the fight against corruption and demanded for accountability.

Under the #BounceCorruption project, YIAGA has successfully launched the Public Integrity Debates in Tertiary Institutions across Nigeria as a platform for harnessing youth views into the anti-corruption crusade as well as for propagating the values of integrity, transparency and accountability. The debate competition will involve selected tertiary institutions across the six geo-political zones of the country. The national debate competition will be in 3 stages. The first stage is the preliminary (zonal), which commenced in the South South Zone, on 12 February 2018 at University of Calabar, followed by the South East Zone, on 15 February 2018 at Nnamdi Azikiwe University Anambra, at 9am prompt. Other zones will follow accordingly.

The knockout stage and the final stage will both take place in Abuja on a date to be communicated later. Schools will constitute debate teams of 2 student each (one male and one female) to participate in the competition. Incentives will be provided to winners of debate sessions. At the end of the competition the debate teams will be encouraged to establish public integrity clubs in their schools.

The Bounce Corruption project which is supported by the MacArthur Foundation is designed to complement efforts by state and non-state actors in the fight against corruption by promoting zero tolerance for corruption and impunity through effective citizen’s oversight and mobilization for accountable governance.

YIAGA Africa is a non-profit, non-governmental, civil society organization that promotes democratic governance, human rights, accountability and active youth participation in democratic processes through research, policy advocacy and capacity development.

 

Signed

Samson Itodo

YIAGA Executive Director

 

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