Yiaga Africa, a civil society organisation, has advocated for affirmative action to be included to free Nigerian youths from financial burden in the highly monetised electoral ecology.
The call was made in a Research Report on “Youth Political Participation In Lagos”, launched by Yiaga Africa with the support of UKaid.
Speaking, Prof. Sylvester Akhaine of Lagos State University in his presentation of research findings on the level of youth participation in political affairs in Lagos state, said godfatherism, adultism, lack of proper information among others discouraged the youth from participating.
The don, a professor of political science, said that youths do not need godfathers before they could participate in politics, rather, a mentor that could guide them in the right direction due to their experiences.
According to him, it is one’s activities, commitment and participation that brings one out and makes one recognised and not the godfatherism thing.
He, therefore, encouraged the youth to be more committed and consistent in order to make way for themselves in the political affairs of the nation.
Akhaine also called on all stakeholders to free the youth from the shackles of political slavery through policy advocacy, planning and sound decision making.
In his recommendation, he said the gederal government should establish at all levels, more agencies for the political socialisation of the youth.
“For example, the National Orientation Agencies should impact the citizens in ways that can enhance political awareness and inculcate civic responsibility in them.
“Government should establish more agencies or structures dedicated to political socialisation.
“While at state government, l recommend promotion at the level of State Houses of Assembly, the ‘not- too-young- to-run law’ needs to be replicated at state level nationwide.”
On affirmative action, he advised on the need to create specific positions for youth in the hierarchy of public affairs to inspire them as successor generation.
According to him, affirmative action should include freeing the youth from financial burden in the highly monetised electoral ecology.
He added that government should create positions dedicated to youth so as to facilitate their transition into the mainstream of governance in the country.
“Government must respect and promote rule of law for order and stability in the political system,” he said.
“If abidance by the rule of law is promoted, it will certainly break the strongholds in the way of youth participation in politics. The counterproductive role of adultism and godfathers will be a thing of the past.”
Speaking, the All Progressives Congress Youth leader, Lagos state, Seriki Muritala, charged youths to follow people with remarkable track records for mentorship.
Muritala implored them to stop demanding for peanuts from politicians that do not mean well for them.
He encouraged them to be politically informed, otherwise politicians would treat them as blind ambitious youth.
“The youth must get informed and follow people with credible reports.”
On his part, Emmanuel Olabisi, a member of the Obasa Youth Alliance urged youths to inculcate the idea of “not ready to fail” adding that they should be ready to take the bull by the horns.
Earlier, Mr Ezenwa Nwangwu, Board member, Yiaga Africa, called for a rejig of youth organisations like the National Youth Council and the National Association of Nigerian Students.
Nwangwu who is also the Chairman, Partners for Electoral Reform tasked youths on making themselves relevant by taking responsibilities and making commitments to a course they believed in.
“They should stop following some politicians aimlessly looking for leftovers.”