The United Nation Development Programme (UNDP) and Yiaga Africa, have awarded 13 youths from across the country with N1m to mobilize over 5,000 young voters each to register in the ongoing Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) exercise, collect their PVCs and vote in the 2023 general elections.
Both organizations said that the move was part of measures to boosting voter mobilization for the 2023 general elections.
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The presentation of the awards was done during a voter mobilization strategy programme for Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) heads for Voter Education and Heads of Operations in states with low CVR and PVC collection rates, on Friday in Abuja.
The winners were chosen through #ThePowerOf18 Challenge which invited applications from young people between the ages of 18-30 in 15 states of Adamawa, Benue, Enugu, FCT, Gombe, Imo, Kebbi, Lagos, Nasarawa, Ogun, Ondo, Plateau, Sokoto and Yobe.
A total of 2,503 applications were received in one week of the challenge with one winner selected per state.
Speaking during the event, the Executive Director, Yiaga Africa, Samson Itodo, said that the #SixtyPerxentOfUs project aimed at mobilizing at least 60 percent of eligible young voters to register, collect their Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs) and vote in the 2023 elections.
“The project also focuses on the states with the lowest voter registration and PVC collection rates according to data from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as part of leveraging the large number of potential first-time voters who are young people to participate in the 2023 elections.
“#ThePowerOf18 Challenge is another testament to the creativity and innovation of young Nigerians, and also the passion and willingness they have for political participation. We are optimistic that these winners will be instrumental in motivating their peers to make use of their power as citizens in determining the next set of leaders for this country by voting massively in the 2023 election,” Itodo said.
On his part, Mr. Mohamed Yahya, the UNDP Nigeria Resident Representative said, “Increasing voter participation and making the voting processes accessible to young Nigerians is essential to ensure the country’s future. The #Powerof18 Challenge has proven that youth in Nigeria are not only ready but that they have the ingenuity, talent and determination to make a significant impact in the 2023 election.”
The winners of the #ThePowerOf18 Challenge will work closely with the Independent National Electoral Commission and Yiaga Africa’s civil society partners in their respective states and they shall implement the projects from June to December 2022.
The winners of the award are Kabir Yahya from Adamawa; Victor Obilaegwu, Benue; Joy Egbara, Enugu; Susan Okolie, FCT; Asabe Adamu, Gombe; Silas Umah, Imo; Shehu Musa, Kebbi; and Khadijah Adekanmbi, Lagos.
Others are Imran Ujih, Nasarawa; Praise Adetula, Ogun; Oluwasunkanmi Oni, Ondo; Azurfa Adi, Plateau; and Fatima Sanusi, Sokoto.