Apathy: UNDP, Yiaga Africa to mobilise 29m youths for 2023 polls | Dailytrust

Apathy: UNDP, Yiaga Africa to mobilise 29m youths for 2023 polls

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Yiaga Africa, have launched a project tagged #SixtyPercentOfUs, 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 which said it would use traditional and non-traditional tools of political mobilization, is aimed at leveraging the large number of potential first-time voters who are young people with about 29 million of them being targeted.

The UNDP Nigeria Resident Representative, Mohamed Yahya; Executive Director of Yiaga Africa, Samson Itodo; Director of Programmes, Yiaga Africa, Cynthia Nbamalu; and CEO of Talent Assured Stories Country Kinetics (TASCK), Jude Abaga, lead the discussions when the project was formally launched on Friday in Abuja.

The project noted that every year, an estimated 4.5 to 5 million Nigerians turn 18, which is the constitutional age of electoral franchise, and which translates to between 18-20 million potentials ‘new voters’ from the 2019 general elections to the 2023 general elections.

Samson Itodo said that young Nigerians and women play a critical role in democracy as they can act as catalysts for social change and good governance simply by participating in the election process.

“The #SixtyPercentofUs Project aims to leverage this opportunity ahead of the 2023 elections and will host a number of activities that will create platforms for civic engagement and access to information, including the recently launched Power of 18 Challenge.

“Nigerian youths have the numbers to determine elections, and more importantly, they can vote for good governance. Our desire is not just to push for huge numbers of young people to come out and vote, but to also vote for issues and for candidates that will deliver the good governance they yearn for,” Itodo said.

On his part, Mohamed Yahya, said youths’ enthusiasm, resilience, and creativity needs to be harnessed, paired with the right platforms and opportunities for engagement, to help catalyze important changes in Nigeria’s political system.

“Although young people between the ages of 18-35 make up 51.1 percent of registered voters, only 46 percent of these voters turned out to vote in the 2019 elections. This missed opportunity for young people to shape governance in Nigeria can be reversed with a political mobilization strategy premised on innovation, inclusion, collaboration, consistency, and context-specific interventions,” Yahya said.

On her part, Mbamalu harped on persons with disabilities (PWDs) and women inclusion in the 2023 polls.

She said that the youths and other Nigerians should know that elections count in the county, hence the resolve of politicians to vote buying.

“The politicians want voter apathy, Nigerians should be wary of apathy so that the politicians would fail in the quest to buy the few voters who might turn out to vote, politicians cannot buy all our votes if all eligible voters come out to exercise their constitutional rights and duties,” Mbamalu said.

Jude Abaga on his part said, “The #SixtyPercentOfUs initiative will focus on states with low voter registration and PVC rates across the country in order to ensure that there is a high turnout of youth voter turnout in the 2023 elections.”

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