YOUTH CAN LEAD

Background Information

The idea of youth participation in politics has become a popular part of contemporary political talk in every part of the world except Nigeria and particularly in the Niger Delta where one can note that youth participation in governance often end at the polls and during electioneering campaigns where youths are only used at their own detriments. Apart from the fact that there are little or no consideration for youths’ participation in election, the few opportunities that exist for the youths are also hijacked by the older generation. Although the United Nations defines youth as a person between the age of 15-24, Political parties in Nigeria have redefined this age bracket.  A foremost political Party in the country in recent times elected a 60 years old man as Youth Leader. The importance of youth to the development of any nation cannot be overemphasized.

The youth constitutes the backbone and future of any nation. It is in recognition of this fact that the African Union developed the African Youth Charter, where it prescribed responsibilities to Member States for the development of youth. The prescription is borne out of the belief that Africa’s renaissance cannot be realized if adequate investment is not made in the youth who constitute about 40 percent of the African population. The key objective of the Charter is to ensure the constructive involvement of Youth in the development agenda of Africa and their effective participation in the debates, politics and decision-making processes in the development of the continent.
Read more/LessThe Nigerian youth policy vision statement in tandem with the above states that “The vision of this policy is one of a positive future role of the youth in national socio-economic development. It is the vision of empowered Nigerian youth to fully realize their potentialities and positively contribute to the overall development of Nigeria”. This clearly shows that youth are great assets to the sustainability of any nation. This is anchored on the fact that they have certain unique characteristics which includes the following: they are the future of any nation and serve as the bridge that link the present to future generations; they constitute the most active and productive part of any nation; they constitute the largest part of the population of most nations especially the developing nations; they are relatively inexperienced and impatient but their spontaneity, adventure and daring disposition can be put to productive use; they are very dynamic and can serve as agents of social change especially in societies experiencing moral, social and political decadence.

Therefore, it is necessary to focus on youth development including building their capacities to participate in political processes so that they become productive and contribute to the development of society. Demas Akpore ((1982) opined that “the African youth of today who will be the leader and guide of the teeming masses of the continent in the ensuing century, be he here in Nigeria, or elsewhere, must now be rigorously educated about the political-economic relationships which carry the potentials of the destruction of his society and prepare him for the struggle to avert danger and ensure his survival”. This underscores the importance of participatory governance that corroborates the “leave no one behind” theme of the United Nations sustainable development goals. Participatory governance entails the participation of all (Youths, men and women) in decision making process. Some of the processes that can contribute to participatory governance include effective political party policies, good candidates for elections, participatory budgetary process and effective legislative oversight. All these processes are almost absent in the Niger Delta region.

It is in the recognition of the need to build the capacity of the youth to engage and participate in elective and appointive positions that the African Centre for Leadership, Strategy and Development (Centre LSD) is focusing on the project to build the capacity of youths interested in political offices in the three States of Edo, Delta and Bayelsa in the Niger Delta. This project is unique in the Nigerian context in many ways. There are many youth programmes in Nigeria but there are none known to us focused specifically on building the capacity of young persons interested in elective office targeted at youth in the Niger Delta region. This project has been carefully crafted to meet the needs of young persons interested in political office to prepare them to assert their voice in the region’s decision-making process by developing their skills and knowledge required to be effective and confident leaders.

The training guide was designed to provide background knowledge of the basic issues the youth interested in politics has to understand in Nigeria. within this context, the manual is aimed at helping the users to gain deep insight into the following:

 

  • Leadership, Political Parties and Elective Offices
  • Managing the Electoral Process and Election Observation
  • Introduction to Democracy, Politics and Party Organization
  • Campaign Planning and Message Development
  • Election Campaign Framework (Electoral Laws and Political Party Code of Conduct)
  • Campaign Financing  and
  • Group Exercise on each of the Six Thematic areas

Funding Partners

The project is funded by Ford Foundation and implemented by African Centre for Leadership, Strategy and Development (Centre LSD).

Understanding Leadership, Political Leadership and Elective Offices

Testimonies