By Egufe Yafugborhi
PORT HARCOURT – YOUTHS in South South Nigeria have heightened condemnation of the prohibitive cost of nomination and expression of interest forms among leading political parties towards the 2023 general elections, describing it as a deliberate act by the political class to suppress youth inclusion in governance
The youths at a large gathering convened in Port Harcourt, Rivers state under the aegis of Youth Inclusion In Governance harped on building cohesion to vie for key positions in the coming elections against all odds.
Yusuf Sheriff Banki, convener of the gathering said, “Access and opportunities to participate in the leadership selection process for the country must be a matter of right, not a privilege, as enshrined under Section 14 (2) in the 1999 constitution as amended, reiterated in the National Youth Policy (2009), African Youth Charter and the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Good Governance.
“The political parties know that young people are prepared this time around to take the mantle of leadership. They now decided to impose prohibitive prices for nomination forms which expectedly has discouraged several young persons who can make remarkable impact as governors, lawmakers, even President. They have withdrawn for the lack of financial strength.”
He urged young people to reject being used by same leaders who have denied them access to run for elective positions, to now cause problems in the country in order to perpetuate selves in office, reminding the youths that the majority of the children of Nigerian leaders stay abroad.
Uko-Ebong Efiok, South South Coordinator of the group, from Akwa Ibom state, said, “This time around, we don’t want to look at the dinner table, rather we want to approach the dinner table. Youth must get involved in the processs. No time sitting on the fence. We are participants and must take advantage of the youth constituency as the largest.
Susan Agbonkonkon, from Edo state, said, “Nigerian leaders have sidelined us in decision-making despite the value youth we bring to the table with our numbers and energy. Youth should now wake up and do the needful because we need youths in government, and enough is enough for the old ones sitting tight at the expense of the common good.”
Ikoi Eno Obono, Cross-Rivers state stressed, “Against the odds, we still have some youths who have been able to surmount the prohibitive cost of participation. 2023 is going to be dynamic and only those with their PVC get to decide who will be their leaders. Let’s vote for our youths in their various areas.”