2023 elections: Go beyond obtaining voter’s card, EU tells Nigerian youths | Dailytrust

2023 elections: Go beyond obtaining voter’s card, EU tells Nigerian youths

The European Union has urged Nigerian youths to go beyond obtaining their voter’s cards to participate actively in the upcoming 2023 general elections and ensure that they influence the outcome.

The head of the European Union (EU)’s delegation to Nigeria and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Ambassador Samuela Isopi, described the 2023 polls as a critical time for young people in the country as it presents another opportunity for youths to be part of the decision making process.

Isopi, who was represented by Winifred Achu, spoke at a policy dialogue themed “youths perspective for building and sustaining a prosperous Nigeria”, organised by the Agents for Citizen-driven Transformation (ACT), Managing Conflict in Nigeria (MCN) and Rule of Law and Anti-Corruption (RoLAC) Programmes in Abuja on Tuesday.

The Ambassador noted that youths make up 65 per cent of Nigeria’s total population and 50 per cent of registered voters.

“Now is the time for youths to influence the outcome of the 2023 elections for their benefit and their country at large.

“Today is the tomorrow our leaders have always spoken about when we say that youths are the future of tomorrow.

“The timing for this dialogue could not have been better as Nigeria prepares for the 2023 general elections. We are at a critical point for young people in Nigeria,” she added.

The national chairman of the Interparty Advisory Council, Yabagi Yusuf Sani, in his remarks, said youths must not sit and wait for power to be handed to them,  hence they have to earn it by participating actively and meaningfully in political processes.

“Power isn’t given on a platter of gold, you have to work for it, you have to earn it.

“There is no free lunch, nobody will give it to you. The grim statistics on poor participation cannot change unless youths change it,” he stressed.

“If you youths are mainstreamed in the politics of Nigeria, I’m sure the economy of Nigeria will be much better than it is today, which is what is responsible for the huge unemployment population that we have.

“But all hope is not lost, we now have a new opportunity to change the scenario and they are very much aware of that, they are the largest population of the voting community,” he added.

A representative from the Centre for Environmental Sustainability and Development Awareness (CESDA), Ibrahim Faruk, noted that by 2030, Nigeria’s greatest resource would not be oil, but her young population.

He however decried that there is still a huge gap in terms of youth inclusion and representation despite available policies and laws.

According to him, in 2019, Nigeria only had 0.06 per cent of youth representation.

Faruk, however, said that the 2023 polls are another opportunity, adding that: “Participation goes beyond coming out to vote every once a year, it involves the decision-making process.”

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