Youth Candidates Must Build Synergy, Irrespective of Tribe, Religion, or Political Party
Young male and female candidates of the 2023 election have been tasked to synergize their electioneering efforts irrespective of tribe, religion, or political party.
This call was made by Ijeoma Okwor, the Country Coordinator of the Voice Project in Nigeria at the Run To Win town hall meeting for young candidates and leadership of political parties in Lagos State.
‘‘It is immaterial what party young people belong to. In fact, it is even best that young people penetrate every party, as it is essential that they seize every opportunity to get diverse experiences from wherever possible,’’ she stated.
Also present at the town hall meeting was Adenike Oriowo, the Public Relations Officer of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Lagos State, who said that with the rising interest of young people in the political process, the Commission is doing all it can to leverage this new crux of voters. On the issue of communication, Ms. Oriowo said that everyone has a role to play.
In her words, ‘‘voter education does not rest solely on INEC. Political parties, Civil Society Organisations, religious bodies, and informed individuals must take it upon themselves to spread the word on political participation.’’
Ibrahim Faruk, Program Manager of Yiaga Africa said that the grassroots level is where the most impact can be felt, and so admonished young people to begin their political journey from there. ‘‘we must not wait till general elections before we can take part in politics, young people must begin at the ward level to occupy offices,’’ he concluded.
The Factsheet on Youth Candidacy in Lagos State was also presented at the event by the Program Officer of Yiaga Africa, Olaniyan Sanusi. It revealed that there are 126 youth candidates contesting Legislative seats in the 2023 General Elections in Lagos State. 31 youth candidates are contesting for the House of Representatives seats while 95 are contesting for the State House of Assembly seats. There are 41 youth candidates (between the ages of 25 - 30) who are direct beneficiaries of the Not Too Young To Run Constitution amendment, representing 32.5% of the youth candidates in Lagos State while there are 85 youth candidates (between the ages of 31 - 35) representing 67.5% of the youth candidates in Lagos State.
On gender representation, it was revealed that out of the 31 youth candidates for the House of Representatives Elections in Lagos State, there are 9 female candidates which represent 29% of the youth candidates. In comparison, 22 male candidates represent 71% of the youth candidates of the House of Representatives Elections in Lagos State in 2023.
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.