2023: CEYISED worries over low youth’s participation in politics

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2023: CEYISED worries over low youth’s participation in politics

Oluwole AREO

The low participation of youths especially, in politics in Nigeria was a matter of lengthy discussions at a workshop held recently in Iseyin, Oke-Ogun area of oyo state.

The workshop held at Affluence Oba Bi Hotels, organized by the Center for Youth Initiative on Self Education (CEYISED), had many participants from across the state

Speaking at the interactive session, Hon. Sarafadeen Olatunji Muhammed, a resource person at the event, lamented the apathy often shown by youths to politics.

Charging them to have a re-orientation, Muhammed, a former interim chairman of Surulere North LCDA, urged they should rather be motivated to get massively involved in politics amid preponderance of challenging situations facing them.

“It is disheartening the lack of interest often demonstrated by Nigerian youths towards politics.

“This will not help them, they should rather be gingered by the many problems confronting them to get involved so that their plight can be addressed when they are insiders,” he said

Comrade Kola Ibrahim, a researcher and author, in a lecture titled, “A review of youth’s participation in Nigeria’s elections in the Fourth Republic: The case of Oyo state,” also noted with dismay the abysmally low participation of youths in politics, asserting that they have the number but are assailed by indifference towards elections

“Nigerian youths during this democratic dispensation of the fourth republic have the capacity to be the plug to determine the direction of governance, if they are organized.

He added, “The impact of the youth in governance has been minimal to say the least. In terms of participating in elections, the youth have been found wanting.

Informing that his submission is based on outcome of intensive research including in Oyo state, averred, “While the number of youths registering to vote has been increasing since 1999, the actual number of youth voting has been reducing at every elections

“In specific terms, the number of total actual votes have been found to be less than even the number of youth who registered to vote. In some cases, the difference is as high as a quarter of registered youth voters.

Comrade Ibrahim identified some factors that are responsible for low turnout of voters in elections including serial poor governance, logistics bottlenecks associated with electoral processes starting from period of voter’s registration, pervasive insecurity, absence of youth agenda cum political platform, sparse representation of youth in electoral contests and low political education

He stressed these factors should be looked into and addressed by various relevant groups

Ibrahim advocated youths themselves need to build strong political platforms, form youth charters and embark on vigorous youth enlightenment to change the narrative while also charging civil society groups, media, government and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to make greater contributions in improving people’s participation in the electoral process in Nigeria

National coordinator, Democracy Vanguard, Comrade Adeola Soetan; Babatunde Oluajo, CEYISED project coordinator; and Bello Bidemi, head, CEYISED mobilization unit were some other resource persons at the event

The many youths who participated in the workshop were divided into groups to hold interactive sessions on the youths apathy towards elections during which various groups identified reasons for this and proferred solutions.

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