Stakeholders at one day youth dialogue session organized by the International Republican Institute (IRI) have enumerated ways in which the youth could be engaged in political processes and governance.
Despite their numerical strength and exuberance, Nigerian youths have been largely consigned to the backseat in politics and governance.
Such compelling reason informed IRI’s push to change the narratives and ensured that the youth are actively engaged in political processes and governance.
The event which took place at Homtel Derivatives and Suites Yola, Wednesday, and attended by 50 youths was aimed at identifying new/emerging challenges to youth effective participation in politics and governance in the state with a view to validating and adopting the Adamawa Youth Agenda, a document that was developed with technical support from IRI and with inputs from various stakeholders on May 19, 2019 following an IRI-supported Youth Summit event in the state.
The dialogue session featured a review of the Youth Agenda where participants identified additional factors that fuel increased marginalization of youths within political parties and in government.
In his contribution, Comrade Bappare Mohammed, the acting State Youth Leader of the APC and Alumni of the IRI YPPLA, identified lack of unity of purpose and consistency in the pursuance of the aspirations of the youths as a one of the factors hindering effective youth participation in politics.
He identified poor communication between party officials, party members, non-functionality of the party secretariat outside the electioneering period as other factors that increase marginalization of youths in the state.
Also contributing, Fancy Vanco, a Person Living with Disability (PWD), lamented the dual marginalization she and some of her colleagues face because they are youths and suffer one form of disability or the order.
She noted that lack of accessibility to party and government offices, have greatly impeded the participation of PWD’s in the decision-making processes of the party and consigned their representation to “mere symbolic representation of PWD’s” within some parties as some of the challenges limiting the visibility of PWD’s in party politics and governance.
While pushing for increase in participation of youths in governance, another contributor, Amy Gaman said “political party leaders must make deliberate attempts to carry the youths along.”
She urged the stakeholders to zone certain political offices and positions to the youth constituency to ensure balance and fairness adding that if zoning was adopted to ensure balance and fairness among members of different zones, why can’t they zone certain position within the party to the youths?”
She called on party leaders to stop paying lip service to the issues regarding the youths and make deliberate attempts to increase visibility of youths within the party structure at all levels.
While responding to the issues raised by the youths, Adamu Ibrahim Wakili who represented the State Organizing Secretary of the PDP noted that the PDP has formulated youth friendly programs and policies which include empowerment and skill acquisition program, education scholarships abroad and other programs aimed at improving the living conditions of youth in the state.
Assuring that the programs will soon be rolled out by government, he called on the youths to join and remain in political parties. He warned against seeking immediate gratification and Godfatherism.
At the end of the event the Adamawa Youth Agenda was validated and adopted as a working advocacy document that reflects the priority yearning of the youth in the state.
As an output, a consensus was built around recommendations and strategies to increase effective participation of youths within the political parties and in the governance of the state.