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Group rejects presidential, governorship hopefuls above 60

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Delegates of 67 million Youth Initiative, Ismail Ahmed (left), Musa Thomas, Hafsat Bayero, Muhammed Sani Abdullahi, Isa Dogonyaro, Luqman Edu and Asuquo Ekpenyong, during the Official Launch of the initiative in Abuja…at the weekend. PHOTO: LUCY LADIDI ELUKPO

A youth group known as ‘67 Million Youth Initiative’ has vowed not to support any presidential or governorship candidate of retirement age in the 2019 general elections.

The group, which drew membership from the six geo-political zones, however, promised to promote and support its members interested in the state or federal legislative seats.

Speaking at a media parley weekend in Abuja, leader of the group, Luqman Edu, said, “67 million will not support or make any endorsement for the presidential or governorship races in the 2019 elections. However, our individuals will still be allowed to make their own personal endorsements.”

The initiative is a coalition of Nigerians with the mandate to galvanise active youth participation in politics and to support youth-friendly policies.

According to Edu, the group intends to build, organise and leverage on the block vote for the interest of the youth. “We will focus on getting as many young people appointed into various positions in their states and at the national level.”

Cross River State Commissioner for Finance, Asuquo Ekpeyong, noted that 67 million is the estimated population of youths between 18 and 45 years in Nigeria.

“For 2019, we shall only support the emergence and success of young candidates across all political platforms and will particularly endorse our members that are running for House of Assembly and National Assembly seats as well as the local government positions across party lines,” he said.

On the composition of the group, Kaduna State Commissioner for Budget and Planning, Mohammad Abdullahi, assured that the interest of the country to move forward was paramount in the minds of the group’s members.

Abdullahi noted: “The trustees each nominated 15 influential youths from across political, tribal and religious lines. We also intend to allow for more delegates; remember, all delegates received a formal invitation by email to join the 67 Million Youth Initiative and they accepted.

“We have a document that guides us and the governance committee that oversees our daily activities.

“Further, all major decisions and activities will be decided through a democratic voting process by the delegates.”

Fielding questions on funding of the initiative, co-founder of RED Medis, Adebola Williams, said the initiative had put in place a robust accounting system away from fraud issues.

“We shall not collect funds from persons that have been indicted in one way or another to fund our projects. We usually raise funds from members who are capable of donating N5,000 and above. We shall ensure that we resist and block any misuse of funds belonging to this group,” he stressed.


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