Kabir Tukura, Chairman, Youth Progressive Forum, National Assembly, said that the group would do everything humanly possible within its powers to ensure young people have increased access to political offices.
Tukura, a House of Representatives’ member from Kebbi, said this at the Inclusive and Accountability Politics (IAP) with Values Campaign Award organised by Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD) in Abuja.
He said that the National Assembly had been partnering with WFD to achieve a lot in terms of equipping youths to run for offices and it had led to tremendous impact in their lives.
He commended WFD for the politics with values initiative adding that this was just the starting point of proffering ways to increase inclusion in politics .
“We are here to honour outstanding performances and achievement, it is a very good platform for us to call ourselves to do more; so, I urge all you volunteers not to see this as a reward but as a call for more.
“We expect that by 2023 you are all members of major political parties in the country; I don’t want it to stop there.
“What we want is to first see you aspiring for offices, the WFD wishes to see more young people participate in the electoral process,’’ he said.
Tukura said that recently, a first care review was conducted in collaboration with WFD to see the impact that young legislatures were making in the 9th assembly.
“I make bold to tell you that in terms of motions ,quality representation, close contact with constituents, members that are within the WFD (youths) bracket stand out and are doing the best better than those in the older group of people,’’ he said.
Mr Obajide Obanikoro representing Eti-Osa Federal Constituency Lagos said that youths interest in politics was commendable and encouraged youths to join political parties.
According to Obanikoro, a lot of youths have the idea of wanting to start their own party to run for offices but it usually is a step in the wrong direction because due to lake of finance and the structure to deliver an election.
“So I encourage all youths to either join the ruling party or the opposition party, fill them up that way they will win elections.
“Trying to float a new party is not going to help us let us concentrate our numbers in these two major parties and let’s slug it out among ourselves and we will see a difference in youth participation in governance.
Country Director WDF, Nigeria, Adebowale Olorunmola, said that the event was to officially bring to a close the IAP programme which the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office of the UK funded.
Olorunmola said that the IAP was implemented from two angles ,one was the angle of inclusivity, promoting the inclusion of women, youths and persons with disabilities in political participation and also to advance transparency in Nigeria.
“We have been working to promote open government partnership, with inclusivity we have been promoting politics with value.
“What this means is that as we continue to advocate for increased participation of young persons, we don’t just want their participation for participation sake we want them to change the cause of politics in Nigeria.’’
Olorunmola said WDF wanted youths to bring value and service into politics into politics because they wanted youths to practice politics in a very transparent way and to be accountable to the people.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that highlights of event included cutting of cake to mark 29 years anniversary, video presentation of volunteers sharing experiences, presentation of awards to Volunteers, outstanding performance members among others.