In Nigeria today, young people are often excluded or overlooked in politics whether as a candidate or beneficiary.
Politics in these areas is typically regarded as a space for politically experienced men, while women are often at disadvantaged in accumulating experience to run for political office. Presently, Nigeria have more than 70 registered political parties that contested for various elective positions ranging from the presidential seat, governorship position, senatorial, national, state and local assemblies in the last general election.
Despite this huge number of political parties and considering the age bracket of youths (18-40 years) who incidentally represent the larger percentage of the population in this country.
So, it is naturally expected that they troop out, show interest and possibly contest many of the available executive positions especially at the grassroots.
But what was witnessed over the years clearly showed that youths are nowhere to be found either to vote for or be voted for.
Comparing the current situation from what is observable in the early days of leadership where youths were majorly at the corridors of power holding various key positions as it was witnessed during the days of Chief Obafemi Awolowo who was the leader of the Action Group, Samuel Akintola who served as the arrow head of Nigerian National Democratic Party (NNDP), Sir Ahmadu Bello who was the general overseer of Northern People’s Congress (NPC), Tafawa Balewa who was the then prime minister, Nnamdi Azikiwe who led the National Council of Nigeria and Cameroons (NCNC) and who finally emerged as the Governor-General, Chief Bola Ige as Governor of Old Oyo state and Bola Ahmed Tinubu first as a senator of Federal Republic and latter as a serving governor of Lagos State, Olusegun Obasanjo and Mohammodu Buhari both as head of state at young age all ruled at different time with track records of achievements among the rest both within military and civilian rule.
Studies have shown that young people are systematically marginalized because of their assumed young age, limited opportunities and projected lack of experience.
They are sideline to play central and catalyzing roles in movements for democracy, they are less engaged than older generations in voting and party activism.
However, it is believed that increased political participation of youths and women will strongly benefits the society as a whole and that the presence of young people in decision-making positions will massively benefits all citizens and not just youth as it was witnessed in those glory days of our dear country.
Therefore, against this backdrop is the theme of 2020 IEYAN National Youth Summit that the youth can run for office and be the change they wish to see in Nigeria and the world.
IEYAN members are all in this together because the issues that cause us to cry, complain, and mourn indeed needed our efforts to take action and requires us to communicate, compromise and most of all, care enough to get involved and jointly set this country on the right path.
We strongly believe in one nation; united we stand and divided we fall.