By Gabriel Ewepu

AS activities of political parties build up ahead of 2023 general elections across the country, Yiaga Africa and ‘Not Too Young To Run’ Movement partner to support young aspirants of various political parties in the South West Geopolitical zone with Convergence 3.0 series in Lagos from December 8-10, 2021.

This was made known by the Executive Director, Yiaga Africa, Smason Itodo, while explaining essence of Convergence 3.0 this time around with theme ‘Leadership, Politics & Elections’, and supported by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, FCDO.

According to the statement the Convergence series provide young people running for elective office platform that will help them surmount challenges of securing party nomination, money politics, and managing electoral operations.

The statement reads in part, “The Convergence 3.0 is the largest gathering of young people running for elective office in the 2023 elections in South-West Nigeria aimed at empowering and preparing them to run successfully in the next general elections.

“The Convergence 3.0 is a space for emerging political leaders who are committed to transformational public leadership to reflect, engage and build generational solidarity in their quest to run for elective office. The conference is designed to equip young people with the knowledge, skills and networks for running effective political campaigns and winning elections.

“With the inspiration, knowledge, and solidarity The Convergence series provides, young people running for elective office will surmount the challenges of securing party nomination, money politics, and managing electoral operations.

“The Convergence 3.0 is aimed at preparing young people in the South West running for elective offices in 2023 through keynote speeches, masterclasses, plenary sessions, political fairs and clinics.

“It will feature experts drawn from academia, civil society, professional bodies, relevant tiers of government, political parties and the diplomatic corps.

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“There will also be conversation-styled sessions and masterclasses/clinics on: Ideologically-driven leadership; Campaign structuring and money politics; Candidate nomination; Election law and adjudication; Electoral operations and dirty politics.

“The Convergence 3.0 will take place physically in Lagos State between 8-10 December 2021 with online participation, and qualification criteria needed to apply for The Convergence 3.0: Applicants must be between 25 – 40 years; must be a from any of the South West States and running for office in the South West; must be a registered voter; must be a registered member of a political party; submit two letters of recommendation, one of which must be from an official of your political party.”

The statement also recalled past editions held, which the first edition of The Convergence took place in Abuja, between 10-12 December 2018 with over 400 young political aspirants in attendance.

It featured important aspects of the conference, which included panel discussions and lecture sessions to provide the aspirants with critical knowledge and information to enable them run effective, issues-based campaigns ahead of the elections.

“This was critical in enabling 20 young people between the ages of 25 and 30, who Yiaga Africa and the Not Too Young To Run Movement supported, first through the Not Too Young To Run Act and The Convergence 1.0 win elections into their respective state houses of assembly.

“This gave birth to the second edition of The Convergence which took place between 7-9 May 2019 in Abuja with the theme, ‘Leadership, Power & Politics’. The Convergence 2.0 assembled the newly elected young representatives to celebrate their election and prepare them for the task ahead.

“This was in recognition of the fact that Nigeria needs a new leadership paradigm that puts the people first, and a new leadership model that is driven by the philosophy of results and impact as well as transparency and accountability.

“The Convergence 2.0 featured experts drawn from the academia, civil society, professional bodies, relevant tiers of government, political parties and the diplomatic corps who gave insightful and inspiring keynote speeches”, it added.

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