By Lateef Ibrahim, Abuja
The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has expressed its determination at ensuring a more robust electoral process with increased youth participation.
The Chairman of the Commission, Prof Mahmood Yakubu said this during an online (Zoom) validation meeting on the draft INEC-Youth engagement strategy (YES) held yesterday.
The meeting, among others, sought stakeholders’ inputs in developing a document aimed at mainstreaming youth participation in the process.
The INEC Chairman recalled that the Commission has held series of validation meetings within the past few weeks, which culminated yesterday with the meeting with CSOs, INEC Youth Ambassadors, the NYSC, and the NOA .
The Commission maintained strongly that youth participation remained paramount to the success of any democratic process.
Prof. Yakubu, who was represented by the Chairman of the Commission’s Outreach and Partnership Committee (OPC), Dr AdekunleOgumola, underscored the important role of youths in the electoral process.
His words, “The Commission is passionate about integrating youth matters into the mainstream electoral process, hence, its determined efforts at providing structure and funding in sustainable manner to address the institutional, socio-economic challenges impeding youth unhindered participation in the electoral process”.
“The envisioned INEC Youth document speaks eloquently to this commitment to move away from ad-hoc approach to youth electoral issues to a structured approach with definitive road map to upscale and sustain youth responsiveness.
“The Commission is on the threshold of developing a youth document…. a document that codifies INEC youth focal activities with the ultimate objective of increasing the young people’s awareness and informed participation”, he said.
While appreciating the contribution of YIAGA Africa and ECES to the development of the document, the Chairman noted that the assistance from our partners “has not only made this meeting possible but also helped INEC in developing a Strategy document for youth that will stand the test of time and also continue to fulfill the objective of promoting young men and women’s interest and awareness in the electoral process”.
In his contribution, the Director, Voter Education and Publicity Department of INEC, Mr Nick Dazang, observed that the youths constitute about 66 percent of the Nigerian population and are properly positioned to move the Nigerian economy forward if their energies are adequately harnessed.