Benin city – Following the 14.8Million young persons that participated in 2015 general elections, Youth Initiative For Advocacy Growth and Advancement (YIAGA) has reaffirmed that the role of youths in Nation building can not be overemphasized. YIAGA, a group that campaigned for the “Not Too Young To Run” Bill that was signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari, made the reaffirmation during a consultation meeting recently with Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Benin city.
In a paper review on youths and election in Nigeria, YIAGA representative in Edo state, Israel Orekha, said there is need for government to develop policies and strategies to engage young persons to participate meaningfully in the electoral process. Orekha added, “If young people could champion a Bill that could affect them positively, I know they could also do other productive things. That shows that we are not lazy, we have what it takes to actually impact our communities”. Earlier in his remarks, INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner in the state, Emmanuel Hart, said youths possesses the energy to change the society for good, adding, young persons had not taken their chances to impact positively. The Edo REC who was represented at the meeting by Samson Nduh, said, “the youths of today have all it takes to turn this country around for good but we have refused to use our opportunities”. The state’s chairman, National Youth Council of Nigeria (NYCN), Ajayi Innocent, said, the passing of the Not Too Young To Run Bill was a pointer that if the youths take a decision it will stand. “The time for us to sit down and complain is over, it is our duty now to stand up and take what belongs to us. If you look at the statistics of youth in Edo state for example is 70 per cent, so it is now for us to stand for our rights and go for what we believe in”, Ajayi asserted.