By Musa Adamu
President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, on Tuesday inaugurated the principal officers of the Young Parliamentarians Forum (YPF).
The inauguration is sequel to the conduct of election by the group at the National Assembly.
Lawan, who presided over the election of the principal officers, said the inauguration of the YPF was aimed at securing the inclusion and participation of the youths in the process of deepening Nigeria’s democracy.
He stated that the determination of the legislature to return Nigeria’s budget cycle to the January-December timeline with the passage of the 2020 budget in record time was also part of plans by the National Assembly to build a new momentum for good governance in Nigeria.
“The idea of the YPF is to give emphasis in inclusion of young parliamentarians across the world, and particularly in the National Assembly.
“The young anywhere in the world provide new energy for development. They represent the future and the promise of any nation. The young are the hope of tomorrow and the group around which leadership would revolves,” Lawan said in his remarks at the event.
He added, “If you want to see the future of a nation, look at what it is doing with the young; that will tell you whether that country or society has a future.
“What we have to do is to ensure our young ones, whether they are parliamentarians or not, receive the kind of attention that is needed to prepare them for tomorrow. Our tomorrow is prepared today with our young parliamentarians.”
The Senate President noted that the Forum as a body carved out of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, affirms the importance of the young, adding that “understanding the youth is eventually made easier when we have a good number of them in parliament.”
The Senate President, therefore, tasked Nigerian youths on the need to take advantage of the Not-Too-Young-To-Run Act to ensure representation every four years.
“The outcome of the 2019 general elections and the inauguration of the unprecedented number of young persons in the National Assembly and 36 state legislatures, we can say we are making progress with youth participation in Nigerian politics.
“The inauguration of the YPF of the 9th National Assembly is one big step we are taking to sustain the forum through which young persons across the nation have not only found a voice, but an instrument to be part of the decision making process in the National Assembly.
“This is to make the voice of Young persons at the grassroots to count. It is also to ensure that they are part of decisions that affects them today and in the future. I want to assure the Forum that the Senate is ready to provide the needed support to achieve the concept of inclusion across Nigeria.
“These roles of the YPF are indeed very timely. It is a fact that we need to stabilise our democracy. It is also a fact that democracy is a system, requiring involvement and participation of all.”
“We have made the point that the 9th National Assembly has taken off on the high. We are determined to pass the budget in record time, so we can eliminate our undesirable budget cycle. We have set up our committees in both chambers, just as we have also passed our legislative agendas.
“With these activities, we have built a new momentum, preparatory to delivering our mandate of good governance. With the imminent inauguration of the Inter-parliamentary Union (IPU) Young Parliamentarians Forum (YPF), we have also begun another phase”, Lawan said.
Earlier, members of the YPF of the 9th National Assembly, unanimously elected Honourable Kabiru Ibrahim Tukura (APC, Kebbi) as Chairman and Honourable Ibrahim Babajide Obanikoro (APC, Lagos), Deputy Chairman.
Both lawmakers who are serving members of the House of Representatives are aged 35 and 38 years, respectively.
Among those present at the election of the principal officers and inauguration of the YPF of the 9th Assembly are: the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Idris Wase, representing the Speaker and the Clerk of the National Assembly, Alhaji Mohammed Sani-Omolori.
Others in attendance are: the Leader of the House of Representatives, Hon. Alhassan Ado Doguwa; Minority leader of the House, Hon. Ndudi Elumelu; Clerk of the House of Representatives, Patrick Giwa; Senior Programmes Manager, Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD), Lucy Armstrong and members of the Young Parliamentarians Forum (YPF).