Yiaga Africa has urged youths to support young candidates and mobilise people to register and vote in the general elections.
The organisation made the call at an ongoing four-day community organising training (COT) it organised in Lagos on Tuesday.
The training was organised in collaboration with UK Aid to build a generation of young leaders who will help to increase youth participation and votes during elections in the state.
According to Yiaga’s director of programmes, Cynthia Mbamalu, COT will help to build young civic actors and political leaders especially in the pre-election phase toward general elections.
She explained that investing in youth leadership would help them and their peers to participate in elections peacefully.
Ms Mbamalu added that the participants were expected to go back to their communities, after the training, to bring about a sociopolitical change by supporting young candidates and youths to vote.
According to her, though Lagos has the most number of registered voters, it still grapples with low voters’ turnout.
“Young people play a vital role in our political space. Young people constitute the largest population. INEC’s recent data on the Continuous Voter Registration shows that young people are about 78 per cent of the new registered voters,” explained Ms Mbamalu. “If the young people are constituting the higher percentage of the registered voters but they are not engaging and not voting, it means that numerical strength is not transforming into political power to influence the outcome.”
She added, “We want to build on that vibrancy within the youth population in Lagos to actually begin to support that process that gets them to start coming out to vote.”
Ms Mbamalu decried the role of money in the election process. She said it prevented those with the right mindset and capacity from getting involved.
Yiaga board member Ezenwa Nwagwu cautioned youths against having a sense of entitlement and intellectual laziness.