By Miriam Humbe
The Young Parliamentarians Forum (YPF) have frowned at the non-compliance of State Governors to the constitutional amendment granting financial autonomy to State Houses of Assembly and have called on the Attorney General of the Federation to, as a matter of urgency, enforce this constitutional requirement.
The Forum has also identified the collapse of Local Government System as one of the factors responsible for worsening insecurity and has vowed to support the ongoing Constitutional amendments to grant financial and administrative autonomy to Local Government Councils.
The YPF also said it will sustain the inauguration of the Forum in State Houses of Assembly to build the capacity of members and activate the inclusion of young persons in governance, leadership and the democratic process.
The YPF said it acknowledges the commitment of the leadership of the 9th National Assembly to youth inclusion and the support for the YPF and called on the leadership of the National Assembly to increase the support to the YPF and to ensure representation of young legislators on special committees like the Constitution Review Committee.
These were contained in a communiqué issued at the Forum’s 2020 annual retreat in Owerri, Imo State held to deliberate on key national issues and develop its 2020 engagement agenda following the official inauguration of the Young Parliamentarians Forum (YPF) of the 9th National Assembly by the President of the Senate.
The retreat among others, focused on constitutional review, electoral reforms, shrinking civic space and the Petroleum Industry Bill, (PIB); as well as other issues of critical national importance.
The YPF also expressed deep concerns with the level of insecurity and its devastating impact on young people, women and people living with disabilities.
The Forum further commended the security agencies especially the gallant men and women in the warfront for their selflessness and patriotism in combating insecurity and have called on governments at all levels to review the current security architecture to ensure peace and security in line with democratic standards of national security management.
It called for more leadership and professionalism from security agencies and aligned itself with the resolution of the National Assembly calling for the immediate removal of the Service Chiefs.
The YPF said governments at the national and state levels should declare a state of emergency on youth development given the deplorable socio-economic condition of young people across Nigeria.
The YPF reaffirmed its commitment to deepening the democratic civic space and protection of human rights and will therefore not support proposed legislations like the hate speech bill, social media bill, the NGO bill in their current form, all of which are capable of trampling on the rights of Nigerians.
However, the YPF called on citizens to be sensitive to the rights of others and be responsible in the exercise of their rights.
At the end of the retreat, the forum resolved as follows:
The current security situation in the country poses a threat to social cohesion and national development.
The YPF will promote the involvement of citizens in the ongoing efforts to amend the constitution. In this regard, the Forum will provide leadership in building consensus on constitutional issues amongst young people in Nigeria and support constitutional amendments geared towards promoting devolution of powers, national integration, fiscal federalism and economic development.
The YPF will canvass for further constitutional amendments to increase youth and women representation in elective and appointive positions in the country and will particularly take deliberate steps to promote the participation of women in politics.
The YPF recognized the urgent need to deepen the integrity of elections through amendments to the electoral legal framework. Particularly, the YPF will propose amendments that deepen internal democracy in parties and sanitize the candidate nomination process.
Other priority issues include; review of timelines for the resolution of pre-election matters before elections; bridging the dichotomy between election petition tribunal and regular courts; deployment of technology for results collation and transmission and electronic accreditation of voters; creation of the electoral offences commission amongst others.