The Civics Art Table, TACT, organiser of Nigeria’s first ever Satire Festival, has unveiled its theme for this year, adopting 2018 as Nigeria’s “Year of The Youth”.

TACT said that, in keeping with this theme, it would advocate the inclusion of a measurable and significant youth component in the plans, policies, and activities of public and private sector organisations.

The organisation had, last year, organised Nigeria’s first ever political satire festival in Abuja between November 16 and 17, with the theme, “Satire: Society’s Mirror.”

A co-founder of TACT, Ose Anenih, said the organisation was planning to launch some notable programmes, including the 18:18 Initiative, which is a celebration of Nigeria’s Children of Democracy, who become eligible to vote for the first time as they turn 18 years old in 2018.

Interactive youth town halls

He announced in a statement issued in Abuja that “TACT also plans to organise interactive youth town halls where young Nigerians can engage directly with their present and aspiring leaders.”

Anenih stated that, “We are in an election year; but this time, we intend to have the youth drive the conversation around the key issues they would like to see candidates address.”

According to him, “From our table, we will be marking 2018 as Nigeria’s Year of The Youth, patterned after a similar initiative in Scotland, to inspire Nigeria through its young people, celebrating their achievements, valuing their contribution to communities and creating new opportunities for them to shine locally, nationally and globally.

“We hope to partner the government at various levels and notable national and international bodies to give young people new opportunities to influence decision making on issues affecting their lives and be involved in political, educational, cultural and economic conversations across the country.

“An initiative that excites us here at TACT is our 18:18 Children of Democracy campaign – a fun electoral process education campaign to get those who were born after Nigeria returned to democracy in 1999, and who would be eligible to vote for the first time in 2019, to take advantage of INEC’s Continuous Voter Registration, CVR, having attained the age of 18.

“TACT will be embarking on a massive voter education and sensitisation advocacy to task and encourage eligible voters to obtain their Permanent Voter Cards, PVCs, to enable them perform their electoral civic duty and vote for the candidate of their choice during the 2019 elections.

“To help create a sense of urgency, we will also put up an online electoral countdown clock so that voters know how much time they have to the end of the voter registration exercise and the start of the elections.

“On May 29, 2018, we will unveil a new award, the LOL Minister of the Year Award, which aims to celebrate Nigeria’s least impressive performing Minister in the cabinet of President Muhammadu Buhari, in addition to the second edition of our LOL Governor of the Year Award, which was won by Imo State last year.

“We hope to use these light-hearted awards to take the conversation around good governance to a new level, by using this kind of symbolic criticism to spur public officers to do more.”

Anenih stated further; “Probably our most challenging programme will be the Online Archive of Satirical Works (SAWA Online), which we hope to have served as a repository of Nigeria’s best satirical works and a humorous record of the development of Nigerian society.

“Without a doubt, our highlight of the year will be the 2018 Nigerian Satire Festival, fixed to hold once again on the 16th of November 2018 (UN International Day for Tolerance).”

He assured that the festival would be a bigger and better version than the 2017 event, which was surprisingly a big hit that witnessed massive participation from within and outside Nigeria.

Universal values of freedom

Anenih disclosed that TACT would, this year, participate in more UN International Days like the International Poetry Day (March 21, 2018), and the International Youth Day (August 12, 2018), explaining that these global events would help to deepen universal values of freedom, tolerance and free speech.

It would be recalled that the two-day satire festival organised by TACT last year featured panel discussions, a satirical cartoon exhibition, spoken word artiste Dike Chukwumerije’s Made in Nigeria Show, Dinner and Roast by various Nigerian satirists and comedians. Each Panel Discussion was preceded by a talk by a Satirist.

The panel discussions centred on Youth and Gender, moderated by author and TV host Abigail Anaba; Press Freedom vs Privacy of Public Officials, moderated by former Presidential aide and journalist, Reuben Abati; Political Participation, moderated by lawyer and civil rights advocate Abdul Mahmoud Aminu; and Nigeria and the Politics of Identity, moderated by a popular on-air personality with WE FM, Abuja, Kamri Apollo.

Co-founded by Yemi Adesanya and Ose Anenih, TACT is a non-partisan not-for-profit dedicated to the promotion of civic engagement between citizens and the government, and the facilitation of alternative means of dialogue within society without rancour and bitterness.

Sufuyan Ojeifo is the Editor- in- Chief, The Congresswatch Magazine.


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