Zakaa Lazarus, Abuja
The youth wing of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) under the leadership of Dayo Israel on Tuesday tasked the newly inaugurated high level work group co-chaired by Ahmad Salihijo and Solape Hammond on youth inclusion in the forthcoming elections.
The youth leader disclosed this at the press briefing of the high level work group held at the APC national headquarters Abuja
The party must be prepared to accommodate increased youth participation in the 2023 general elections due to the high anticipation among the youths of Nigeria according to a release signed by all members of the group.
“The aftermath of END SARS has seen the rise of strong agitations to actively involve youths in the electoral process” the statement reads.
It further reads: “The group is saddled with the responsibility to strengthen the participation of young people in the political process beyond the use of young APC members as political thugs or mere voters.
“Also, to lobby policy makers across the country to ensure the success and emergence of credible young aspirants in the forthcoming primaries.
“In the past elections, many young aspirants have constantly faced gruel-some hurdles that technically shoves them off from trying to contest and go further in their political aspiration to public office.
Speaking at the occasion, the national youth leader, Dayo Israel said: “Our mandate was to do things differently and promote the interest of our party and our office. The Office of the National Youth leader took that mandate very seriously. And we know that this is an election year. So we had a commitment to ensure that we can increase the number of young people according to our party constitution 40 years and below who are running or participating in this election. As a result of that we set up this high level Working Group on huge inclusion in the 2023 elections that is composed of some of the best minds that this country has produced so far.”
Israel further said, “You will recall my speech at the Aso Rock villa in the presence of the First Lady and God knows and all our aspirants that the youth of our party will not be used to snap ballot boxes this year. We’re not going to be used for veterans electoral violence in this election, but we are going to get a seat at the table to play critical role in this electoral process.”
He promised that the efforts of the working group will lead to the emergence of youth members of the house of assembly, deputy governors, speakers of parliament, reps and senate members.
“We’re all believing by the grace of God that the next edition of the FCC will be totally youth friendly and our advocacy is to have 70% of the common administration in appointments and cabinet for young people either young man or young woman” he added.
The chairman high-level committee, Ahmed Sahlijo Ahmed, speaking at the event congratulated the national youth leader for his exceptional leadership since assuming the saddle.
“So as the youth leader has mentioned, you know, we have been able to engage a few governors who have engaged with the governor of Lagos state governor of Ogun State, and governor of Ekiti state. And we have all gotten very, very firm commitment from these governors. Already. They have shown a lot of encouragement because once you look through their cabinet, you’ll find that a lot of the people that they are currently bringing into their cabinet are young people as commissioners, senior special advisers, advisers, you know, you find that they are holding very critical development Ministry such as the ministry of works, health, housing, you know, and all sorts of very, very important infrastructural regulatory, regulatory structures.
“So in addition to that, we have coming this week, were able to secure appointments to meet with the Cross Rivers State Governor, Niger State Gombe, Kebbi Jigawa and Kano most importantly, we have also met, as I mentioned earlier with the Ekiti state governor, who is incidentally, the chairman of the Nigerian Governors Forum, who has also used that platform to reach other governors to show them and tell us exactly what we’re doing.
” And so far, we have been seeing a lot of very, positive results. We have areas where we have our young aspirants who have been cleared to run as state house of assembly members, some house of representatives, some senate, some even governors, have been given the green light, you know, and they’ve declared to run and we’re hoping that with this sort of push that we have, as this high level group , we can get them over the primaries and support them. And another sort of commitment we’ve been getting from state government so far is this affirmative action, where they look to see how they can continue the trend of bringing the young people” he said.
The committee is tasked to deliver on three fronts: identify credible youth candidates with proven track record and a passion to serve. Mobilize for the emergence of the aspirants by advocating and lobbying for them to emerge through the nomination processes. Finally, the post-primary technical support which includes Setting Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), Political management mapping, Budgetary planning and Fund raising to the eventual young flag bearers of the party.
Restating the broader goal of the committee, it reads: “We are encouraging qualified, competent and sound young minds to run for public office under our Great party, The All Progressives Congress” an excerpt from the statement reads.
The members of the high level working group include: Hon Ibrahim Hamza; Hon. Ahmad Rufai Zakari; Hon. Ginika Tor; Hon. Sadiq S. Abubakar; Mr Wole Aboderin; Makinde Araoye; Dr Abdul A Ibrahim; Hassan Umar Kamfut; the secretary and technical assistant respectively to the group are Moremi Ojudu and Amaka Lawrence.