Alhaji Lawal Adamu Usman (aka Mr LA) has suggested measures to encourage youth and women participation in Nigerian politics.
Mr LA, a top ranking contender for the Kaduna Central Senatorial seat, made the observation in Kaduna while receiving groups of women and youth on a solidarity visit in his residence.
The youngest contender for the Senate in the state, Mr LA said, “the portrayal of youths and women in the media as active political participants and leaders can greatly boost their political participation.
“In countries with high illiteracy rates, radio and television can play an important role in promoting women’s and young people’s political confidence and participation.
He observed that advancing women’s and young people’s political participation requires determined efforts not only by the youth and themselves, but also by governments, the international community and civil society.
According to him, action by political parties is particularly important thereby recommended that political parties should first and foremost adopt internal democratic structures and in proportional systems, place young and women contenders high enough on their candidate lists to ensure they will be elected.
He said, “this should include considering voluntary quotas or targets to ensure a specified minimum number of youths and women are put forward as candidates.”
o him, political parties should provide support and resources to ensure the election of youth and women candidates; make certain that youths and women are fully represented in party leadership and policy committees, clearly identify the advancement of issues of special concern to women and youth as priorities in their platforms.
“Government actors on their part, should ensure that political party laws and other election-related legislation do not indirectly disadvantage the youth and women.
“Government should consider legislation requiring political parties to adopt democratic procedures for their internal operations as well consider temporary special measures requiring political parties to include a substantial proportion of women and youth high on their candidate lists,” he said.
To make this possible, he advised government to provide incentives for political parties to promote women and young candidates, including resources, training and increased access to broadcast time.
“Providing increased airtime for young people and women in politics between elections could advance their participation by enabling voters to make informed assessments at election time of the overall performance of political parties, including their support of women and youths who want to be elected as representatives.
“Similarly, international actors should provide advice on legislation, electoral systems and best practices that can advance women’s and youths participation in the electoral process and assist in the training of women and young candidates, provide training to political parties, journalists, security forces and others to convey the importance of youths and women’s political participation and gender/ age sensitivity,” he said.
The Civil society actors he said, should lobby to ensure issues of special concern to women and youths are addressed in party platforms and for legislative changes to advance their empowerment.
He disclosed his plans to develop cross-party networks of women and youths in addition to developing and disseminaing age and gender-sensitive messages for voter and civic education.