After years of passive participation in Nigerian politics, the youth seem to be heeding the clarion call of the Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka, who in 2015, was quoted to have said: “The youth should come together to challenge the status quo. They must not give up.”
Nigeria is estimated to have one of the largest youth populations in the world.
Ahead of the much-awaited 2023 election, the youth are demonstrating willingness to challenge the status quo with increased participation in the voting process.
For instance, the Independent National Electoral Commission said not less than 37.06 million youth (aged 18-34) are eligible voters — out of the total voting population of 93.46 million.
This means by age classification, the youth have the largest population of eligible voters ahead of the elections.
But what does those running for the highest office in the nation have in stock for the youth?
CRISPNG runs the rule over the manifestoes of the leading presidential candidates — Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP); Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress (APC); and Peter Obi of the Labour Party (LP) — to ascertain their action plans for the youth when elected.
Atiku will be trying his luck at the poll again come February 25. His running mate is Ifeanyi Okowa, the governor of Delta State.
The former vice president came forth with an over 100-page manifesto tagged: “A covenant with Nigerians”.
If elected, Atiku/Okowa plans to: “Implement robust job creation and entrepreneurship development programmes that will target the youth.
“A strong economy with enhanced capacity to provide opportunities for the economically active population to participate in the economy through wage or self-employment.
“Self- and wage-paying employment opportunities are expected to be created in the private sector across all the economic sectors, including agriculture, manufacturing, MSMEs, ICT and Sports and Entertainment.”
Bola Ahmed Tinubu
Tinubu of the ruling APC and his running mate, Kashim Shettima, former governor of Borno State, came up with a “Renewed Hope” manifesto for Nigerians.
In the 40-page manifesto, the pair said they, among others, build a Nigeria, especially for our youth, where sufficient jobs with decent wages create a better life.
They also promised to empower youth “who see their future as starting and owning businesses in the new economy” in a way that encourages the best that the modern digital and IT-driven sectors have to offer.
Obi of the LP seems to be the new bride among the teeming Nigerian youths. The former governor of Anambra State has pledged to take the country from consumption to production.
In his manifesto, tagged “Our Pact with Nigerians: Creating a New Nigeria”; Obi and his running mate, Yusuf Datti Baba-Ahmed, vowed to; “Enhance the human capital of Nigerian youths for productivity and global competitiveness through investment in world-class scholarship and research, quality healthcare, and entrepreneurship education.
“Remodel tertiary institutions to serve as hubs or centres for research, development and commercialisation of ideas for the quick industrialisation of Nigeria.
“Prioritise education to function as technical and industry relevance; alignment with local comparative advantages and factor endowments; modern skills proficiency, critical thinking, ethical citizenship values, global competitiveness, and talent export.”