YIAGA hosts conference for 150 young legislative candidates on ‘pathways to electoral success’

YIAGA Africa, a civil society organization (CSO), gathered 150 young parliamentarians across the country for a ‘ready to run’ conference.

Speaking at the opening of the two-day conference on “Pathways to Electoral Success” on Wednesday, Samson Itodo, executive director of YIAGA, said the aim is to help young people understand the electoral process.

“As part of what we consider pathways, we believe that candidates should understand first what the election procedures are and what are the processes involved. And it will help you effectively plan for the next couple of days,” he said.

“But then we will also look at the legal framework because there are several things that are contained in the legal framework that as candidates you ought to know.

“And then we will look at things like political communication. And what we have tried to do is to streamline the sessions in such a way that it responds to some of the needs that we feel, based on our interactions with you and candidates over the last couple of years; it’s important to be equipped with that information.

“YIAGAAfrica is not on the ballot. You are the ones who are on the ballot. We are not here to teach you or tell you how you should run your campaigns. But we are here to support you and make you know that you are not alone in this journey.”

Itodo also highlighted some of YIAGA’s findings concerning the current election cycle, adding that “the level of youth candidacy declined in 2023 compared to 2019”.

“In 2019, the level of youth candidacy was 34 percent and what we mean is the percentage of candidates between 18 to 35 years of age who are on the ballot. But in 2023, it came down to 28.6 percent,” he said.

According to YIAGA, “godfatherism” and the high cost of nomination forms are some of the factors responsible for the decline in youth participation.

Speaking at the event, Jake Epelle, executive director of The Albino Foundation, encouraged the candidates to hone necessary skills and stay committed to their vision.

READ MORE: UN Warns: Nigeria Must Not Fail With 2023 Polls

“For you to succeed in the political realm, you need to hone your skills in communication and be one who has content to deliver,” he said.

“Be committed to your vision no matter the condition. Build your confidence and be skillful in whatever you are doing. Be a person of character.

“As a leader, beware of how you use power, money, and run away from illegal sex. Leaders that have taken time to know these things and manage them well have excelled.”

In her goodwill message, Samuela Isopi, European Union ambassador to Nigeria, charged the candidates to use their positions to deepen democracy and provide inclusive and sustainable leadership.

“You must prioritize sincerity of purpose and place the collective interest of the Nigerian people and nation above all,” she added.
















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