February 24, 2024
YOUNG aspirants vying for elective positions in 2023 have highlighted incessant demand of funds from electorates among several challenges hampering their electioneering campaign.

Financial inducement, others hampering our campaign — Youth aspirants

YOUNG aspirants vying for elective positions in 2023 have highlighted incessant demand of funds from electorates among several challenges hampering their electioneering campaign.

Speaking at a political clinic organised by Yiaga Africa to equip women and young people interested in running for political offices with skills required to organise campaigns, held in Lagos, the aspirants said these acts could be attributed to the state of the economy and the level of poverty in the country.

Yiaga Africa recently organised a political clinic to help the aspirants understand campaign procedure as they prepare for elections and to equip them with the skills they require in winning the election.

This, they said, is a way to increase youth participation in the forthcoming general election.

Islamiyah Adebowale, who is vying for Lagos State House of Assembly, Alimosho Constituency on the platform of the New Nigeria Peoples Party, NNPP, lamented that Nigerians believe that you must rub their palms in exchange for a vote.

Adebowale said: “Politics is very expensive and as young candidates, it is expensive. Many of the electorates have the orientation that every aspirant must rub their palms before they give their votes. It is quite challenging that even with the way people clamour for change, we are still the ones hindering this change.

“We must know that we have to key into the political affairs of the country at this stage so that we can create the change we want and make a better tomorrow.”

Besides, she said: “What we learned here if put into use, will help a lot in assisting in the forthcoming election. This has rekindled the hope that 2023 is a possibility.”

Another aspirant, Engr Akomolafe Henrich contesting for the House of Representatives in Ekiti South Fed constituency 1 on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, said that the electorate does not believe in the young candidates.

He noted that with the narrative changing on how people see candidates, it will be different adding that more young people are now involved and elections are now based on personality.

Henrich said: “I think with this we can bring back trust in engaging and then delivering the manifesto.

“Many of the electorates are not aware of the different works of the different levels of government. Some of them might be requesting for a bole hole or roads.”

Another aspirant, Princess Lara Oyekan, who is vying for House of Assembly in Lagos Island 1 on the platform of the All Progressives Congress, APC, lamented the low participation of women in electoral matters.

According to her, many women believe that politicians endanger their lives adding that gender inequality is high in electoral matters which affects the interest of women in campaigns.

Oyekan said: “People believe that if you don’t have the money you cannot participate in politics. Once you are in politics, people around you feel your life is at stake because of what has been happening.

“Nigerians believe that the young aspirants do not have money to offer the public and it shouldn’t be so .

“Youths don’t also support the young aspirants. Participating in leadership can bring a better tomorrow.”

Speaking to journalists after the session, Executive Director, Yiaga Africa, Samson Itodo explained that the clinic was to help the aspirants understand the procedure as they prepare for elections and also geared towards equipping them with the kind of skills that they require to win elections.

He said: “Yiaga Africa earlier carried out a report that shows that between 2019 and 2023, the level of youth candidacy declined from 34 per cent to 28 per cent.

“The reasons that account for this decline are the cost of politics, the lack of internal democracy and parties, and a highly commercialised candidates’ election process.

“However, for these young people who have emerged as candidates on the ballot, we consider it as part of our own generation’s responsibility to provide technical support to them.

“We are also helping them organise effectively and understand the procedure as they prepare for elections and so this lab is just geared towards equipping them with the kind of skill that they require to win elections.

“And this is part of our total Democracy Project, where we’ve been hosting the convergence across the country for youth candidates, just to inspire them and also just to let them know that there is a generation of young people who are determined to change the face of politics, and they represent that new cader of leaders that Nigeria needs to transform, as well as solve a leadership crisis that we face.”

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