Don’t wait till next election before participating in governance, Rinu, Epelle tell youths
The Citizens Participation in Governance Capstone Group of the School of Politics, Policy and Governance (SPPG) has urged young people in the country to step up the enthusiasm and passion exhibited towards the 2023 general elections and not wait until the next election cycle before taking active role in governance.
This was contained in a research carried out by the group in Lagos State to determine some of the root causes of low voter turnout in the last general elections and how this impacts citizens’ participation in governance.
Rinu Oduala, #EndSARS activist and co-lead of the capstone group communications committee, said despite the despondency from many youths about the outcome of the elections, she was positive about the future.
“Young Nigerians have made their stance clear. That stance is democratic, vibrant, full of participation, voting for great candidates, shunning electoral violence and working for a better Nigeria.
“Of course, much can be said about the electoral institutions that seem to be working towards reducing the hopes of this democratic future where rights will be respected, however, young people will pave the way towards participation in the future, by holding the candidates and the institutions accountable and the evidence is in the present,” she said.
Evelyn Dan Epelle, a policy analyst and co-lead of the capstone group research development committee, said: “We cannot allow our enthusiasm and youthful exuberance to wane and waste. Also, to lead requires confidence and awareness of the difficulties managing large groups of people with diverse backgrounds and interests.
“This means that young people need to put themselves forward for training and mentorship and be responsive to leadership opportunities. We need a cohesive idea of what an ideal Nigeria looks like, led by
youth of competence, capacity, and character. The next election is four years away so we have time to build on such momentum. We shouldn’t wait until a few months to another election before organizing advocating for quality leadership.”
Speaking on the research, Epelle said: “The research was enlightening because it helped illuminate the root causes of low voter turnout like disillusionment and socioeconomic strain. A key insight is that low participation of citizens in politics and governance is not necessarily low enthusiasm.
“Nigerian citizens are more than willing to hold their leaders accountable. They just need to learn how and that’s what our capstone project presents, a research methodology for how to actively participate in governance.”
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