The Federal Government has renewed its commitment to building the capacity of youths for effective political participation.
The Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Mr Solomon Dalung, said this at the round table on politics with values and youth inclusion in decision making processes of political parties, organised by Westminster Foundation for Democracy on Thursday in Abuja.
Represented by the Deputy Director on Rights and Leadership Division, Mr Aliyu Sule, the minister said the roundtable could not have come at better time when Nigeria through the enactment of the ‘Nor Too Young To Run Law’.
“You will agree with me that before the enactment of the Not Too Young to Run Law, young people are often excluded or overlooked as political candidates.
“Politics in Nigeria was regarded as an exclusive space for politically experienced men; while the youth are often disadvantaged and classified as not important in the policy making and implementation,” he said.
Dalung noted that that young people had been the catalysts of Nigerian democracy till date, but they still occupy less than 10 per cent of the nation’s political office and position of policy making.
He however said the presence of young people in decision making positions benefits all citizens and not just youth.
Prof. Sola Adeyanju, the Deputy Chief Operating Officer, Political Parties Leadership and Policy Development Centre, National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, said many of the youths are not economically buoyant enough to operate in politics.
“The practice of democracy and the adoption of the Presidential system of government come with their values; these must be adequately observed and promoted for fairness and participation.
“The youths should equip themselves with these values, if they want to guarantee their future and be more involved in political participation as a means of taking over and guaranteeing the political values in the society.
“This is the only way by which the political values can be realised and the youth can hope to effectively partake in decision making on issues concerning them,” he said.
Adeyanju said there was need to have change of attitude towards the essence of politics and youth involvement.
The Country Representative of WFD, Mr Adebowale Olorunmola, said the roundtable was designed to form a network of young persons in politics with values to drive the course of participating in politics with right ideology and principles within the political party system.
He said the political systems in Nigeria overtime had become titled to serving mainly the interest of political and economic elites, while excluding the interest of majority of citizens.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that WFD is a non-profit departmental public body sponsored by the Department for International Development (DfID), and Foreign and Commonwealth Office in UK.
Edited by Muhammad Suleiman Tola