Thursday, 22.09.2022 - FES Nigeria Office

#NigeriaRoadTo2023: the possibility of an alliance of Women and Youth Groups

Youths play an essential role in reshaping social norms, promoting active citizenship, enhance democratic processes owing to factors such as their youthfulness, broad way of thinking, been able to influence their peers amongst others. However, it is pertinent to note that the youth, women, and other groups have been marginalized in the political scene over the years. Active and constructive youth participation in the Nigerian political process has gradually become non-existent over the years. This is because they are mostly used as thugs by political actors to cause violence and mayhem in elections.

As preparation for the 2023 general elections picks up pace, there has been an increased number of voter registration with INEC recording over 12 million (fresh and completed registration), out of which 71% are youth. This serves as a beacon of hope for the youths as opposed to the voter apathy and dwindling electoral participation over the years. This is an upsurge for the country as a country cannot truly be democratic until its citizens can choose their representatives through elections that are credible, free, and fair.

The Road to 2023 Youth and Women engagement meeting brought together like-minded Youth led and women focused organisations to articulate youth and women’s demands from the contestants and parties as Nigeria approaches 2023 elections and even after the elections; synergize and brainstorm strategies to ensure active and effective engagement of youth and women in the electoral process and create effective ways to implement them.

The meeting had in attendance representatives from 19 organizations with a mix of both Youth-led and women focused organizations. Organizations present were: Inclusive Friends Association, Women In Politics Forum, RuralPro Nigeria, Raising New Voices Initiative, YouPaD, NDC Youth on Climate Change Abuja, Education as a Vaccine, WRAPA Nigeria, The Skilled Women Initiative, Feminism Lab, IANSA Women Network, UN Women, Electoral Hub, Nigerian Youth 4 Peace, Proactive Gender Initiatives, Baobab for Women’s Rights, Open Minds Young Voices Network, Plan International, CEPASD.

These actors identified core issues bedevilling youth and women active participation in politics such as vote buying, voter apathy, cost of political positions tickets, election violence amongst others. Activities and tools to be employed to mitigate some of these issues were also highlighted.

Rural outreach towards collection of PVCs, Voter education, Usage of social media, engaging candidates to make commitments that they can be held accountable for, advocacy for implementation of PWDs provisions and laws were some of the activities that were suggested by the group and will be carried out.

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