ActionAid Nigeria on Wednesday charged young political enthusiasts in Kaduna state to go beyond social media debates and practically get involved in political affairs so they are not totally left behind in the forthcoming elections.
Project Coordinator, We-You Project, ActionAid Nigeria, Frank Abu, who gave the charge during a one-day project review meeting in Kaduna urged the meeting attendees to articulate their issues and use same to engage political candidates during campaigns.
“As you know, the We-You project with the theme “Hope, Action, and Progress” seeks to strengthen the relationship between citizens, government and politicians in Nigeria with the overarching goal to engender inclusive and responsive democratic processes and outcomes in Nigeria, especially at this crucial time when the political parties are about to start campaigning and should take into consideration gender balance and the need of the youths to be included in the process.
“So, the call is to stand upright for Nigeria by engaging in the political process despite the insecurity challenges in Kaduna and Nigeria and to participate in the political process right from the grassroots to ensure that there is a credible election and equal representation of women and youths in the 2023 election.
“Political responsiveness is a needed criteria and action at this critical juncture in the life of the nation, so that citizens can hold the governance institutions accountable”, he said.
Speaking at the sideline of the review meeting held at a hotel in Kaduna, the Coordinator of the project in the state and Acting Executive Director, Legal Awareness for Nigerian Women (LANW), Mrs. Hannatu Ahuwan said “this mentoring programme is helping the We-You project to fulfill one of its objectives which is to mobilize a critical mass of young men and women by way of supporting them to participate effectively in politics and engage with political parties in the governance process.
“We have been working with 300 young men as and women as mentees and 25 political mentors in Kaduna State. And from testimonies you heard from this review meeting, this programme is already yielding results.
“We had hoped some of these young people would be participating as candidates in the the2023 elections because some of them indicated interest. But we know some of the difficulties in picking up nomination forms, and declaring interest to run which was one of the issues that restrained some of them this time around.
“So, we hope that through this preparation process of the mentoring programme, we will see more of them coming out to show interest, picking up forms and scale through electoral processes to emerge elected beyond 2023 elections”, she explained.
One of the mentees from Igabi local government area of the state, Ahmad Ashur testified how the mentoring programme has shaped his public speaking and a better understanding of the synergy that exists between the executive, legislature, and judiciary arms of government.
“I’ve learnt so much about politics as a member of this political mentoring programme. Before now, I could hardly stand and address a group of people. But now, as you all can see, I’m not just speaking in public, I’m presenting the outcome of my group’s work and I thank LANW, ActionAid Nigeria, and other partners that are supporting this programme”, he said.