Convener of Not-Too-Young–to-Run Movement, Mr Samson Itodo, has urged youths aspiring for elective offices in 2019 to ensure that existing political parties give them fair chance in their primaries.
Itodo made the call at the “Youth Decide 2019 National Conference” with the theme, Understanding Elections and Civic Responsibility, in Abuja on Saturday.
He said that the way political parties drafted their guidelines would not ensure fairness and equity for young aspirants.
“Party primaries will start in the next couple of days. The truth is that the way the guidelines are structured, to a great extent, marginalises vulnerable groups like women, youths and persons with disability.
“What are the guidelines saying about party primaries, about the cost of party nomination forms?
“We are aware that the National Assembly has transmitted the Electoral Act Amendment Bill to the president for assent and one of those amendments to section 87 seeks to limit the cost and charges of political parties.
“If that is upheld, to a great extent, you will see a lot of young people securing party nomination forms, but will the political party uphold internal democracy in candidate selection process?”
Itodo stressed the need for young people to join forces in their demand for fairness and equity so long as the parties were interested in their votes in the 2019 elections.
According to him, one of the conditions the youth must put across in their quest for fairness and equity is that the parties would deem it necessary to give some of the tickets to young aspirants.
In his contribution, Mr Chukwuma Ephraim, Convener of the Youth Decide 2019 Conference, urged youths to “shine their eyes” to avoid the mistake of the past in electing leaders in 2019.
Ephraim said that the foundation for transforming Nigeria lay in the choice of credible leaders by the youths who must take advantage of their number to decide the right people for the various public offices.
He disclosed that he convened the conference to enable youth to articulate their position on the 2019 elections so that only credible individuals would get the nod of the electorate.
He explained that the objective of Youth Decide 2019 was to mobilise young leaders from the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) who had capacity to change the nation’s leadership, using their electoral values.
Also, Mr Hamzat Lawal, a Co-Founder of “Follow the Money Group” urged youths to brace up for elective political offices, saying that leadership was not a prerogative of a category of Nigerians.
Lawal advised the youths to uphold the truth and demand integrity from politicians so as to improve governance and enhance the well-being of the entire citizenry.
He urged them to ask questions when necessary in order to entrench accountability in government at all levels and rise above ethnicity and other differences militating against national development.
Mr Ovo Otarigho, Executive Director, Impact Driven Young Leaders Initiative, attributed the problem of the country to the process of selecting its leaders.
“This is not the time to sit back and say nothing is in politics for me or that my vote will not count.
“It is time for us to join hands as youths to build the nation of our dreams so as to hand over a better Nigeria to our children,’’ he said.