By Chinedu Adonu
For political systems to be representative, it means all parts of the society must be included. And when young people are disenfranchised or disengaged from political processes, a significant portion of the population has little or no voice or influence in decisions that affect group members’ lives and the society at large and key consequence is the undermining of political systems’ representativeness.
Armed with this understanding, the New Nigeria People’s Party is embarking on aggressive youth mobilisation and formation structures of the youth wing of the party across the local governments and wards in the country.
Speaking to newsmen, the Deputy National Youth leader, Rev. Victor Ekam said that, to make a difference in the longer term, it is essential that young people are engaged in formal political processes and have a say in formulating today’s and tomorrow’s politics.
According to him “Inclusive political participation is not only a fundamental political and democratic right but also is crucial to building stable and peaceful societies and developing policies that respond to the specific needs of younger generations.
“For young people to be adequately represented in political institutions, processes, and decision-making, and in particular in elections, they must know their rights and be given the necessary knowledge and capacity to participate in a meaningful way at all levels and that is what NNPP is doing across the country, taking advantage of the Kwankwasiyya Movement which cut across the country”
Speaking further, Rev. Ekam pointed out that when there are obstacles to participating in formal, institutionalized political processes, young people can rapidly feel disempowered.
“Many youths tend to believe that their voices are not going to be heard or that they will not be taken seriously even if they are heard. The problem becomes circular as leaders may lose interest in responding to the aspirations of young people if they cannot win their votes.
“This in turn leads to young people being increasingly excluded from taking part in decision-making, or in debates about key socio-economic and political issues, despite their sensitivity to the demands for social equity and justice, environmental protection and cultural diversity. So the NNPP as a political party is taking this very seriously and efforts are on top gear to reverse this dangerous political culture of ours especially as it concerns our youth.”
The Deputy National Youth leader of the party used the opportunity to call on the government at all level to quickly begin to implement policies aimed at inclusiveness of our youth in all decision making especially those ones that directly affect them for a viable, vibrant and practical democracy “yes, young people’s active contributions can bring democratic values to life, leading to the overturning of Irresponsible practices in governance.
“In a society like ours where crime, militancy and banditry are everyday crime, one can say, this is as a result of frustration resulting from not being included in decision-making procedures, government activities and lack of policies that are targeted at the youths to harness their potentials and that is what NNPP is coming to do.
“So we have started now to groom them, inform them and inculcate the real principles of democracy and governance and how to make informed choices when voting and not just flirt on social media. He said the youth structures across the country echoed our position that the NNPP or Kwankwasoyya movement is not just a sectional movement as some think, and with this in place victory is guaranteed at presidential election,” he said.