Ministry partners UNDP on effective youth participation in elections
DETERMINED to ensure effective participation of youths in the forthcoming general elections, the Ministry of Youth Development in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme – “Democratic Government for Development” (UNDP – DGD) and INEC have commenced the second stage of the enhancement programme being executed through town hall meetings in the six geo-political zones of the country.
Speaking at the South West zone of the town hall meeting held at La Chateau Centre, Ibadan, Oyo State, the Minister of Youth Development, Boni Haruna who was represented by a Deputy Director in the Ministry, Mrs. Chidinma Ibekwe disclosed that the town hall meeting was organised for three principal reasons: to discuss how the Youth could participate effectively in a peaceful manner; make their votes count and; ensure that the candidates that would emerge after the conduct of the general elections, were the representatives of the people.
The Minister explained that it was in recognition of the critical role, which the over 60 million youths in the country could played towards the enthronement of a virile and sustainable democratic governance, that the Ministry and the UNDP-(DGD) had embarked on the initiative titled “Enhancing Effective Youth Participation in 2015 General Election Project”.
Haruna, while recalling the successes of the programme staged in South East zone in Owerri, Imo State and in four other geo-political zones, pledged the Federal Government’s commitment under the transformation agenda to partner with its active development partners to address the challenges facing the youths in the country.
According to him, the town hall meeting was intended with other components to equip the youths to contribute their quota to a free, fair and credible election in the country.
Besides, the Minister disclosed that other components such as capacity building workshop and the advocacy meeting with political stakeholders in the six geo-political zones in the country were designed to adopt a multipronged approach towards enhancing the participants’ intellectual ability to participate in the electoral processes.
Speaking with some of the participants during the programme, a medical laboratory scientist at the Ambrose Ali University, Miss Agbede Bukola Mercy stated that her participation in the town hall meeting has changed her perception in politics.
She claimed her skepticism about the electoral process has changed having participated in the town hall meeting.
She added that, she was ready to be one of those who would ensure that their votes count during the next election.
Another participant from the Health Information Management Faculty, University College Hospital, Ibadan, Miss Ovabor Peace stated that, “My participation has exposed me to understand the electoral process better. I now understand amongst other things also that there are other aspiring presidential candidates besides President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan and retired General Mohammed Buhari.”
Earlier, the class representative, Safile Habibulahi on behalf of the other participants expressed immense gratitude to the Ministry and UNDP for organising such an educative programme.
He also expressed his desire to vote and convince others to vote during the forthcoming elections.
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