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By Maryam Aminu, Abuja

“Africa has a vibrant, youthful population. However, the potentials among this demographic has not yet been realized across the continent”.

The team lead of the organization Speak Up Stand Out (SUSO), Gloria Emmanuel made this statement at a community sensitization on Saturday in Lugbe, Abuja.

Ms. Emmanuel said there is minimal engagement on governance issues between the political elites and Nigerian Youths.

In her words,
“African youths are passionate and creative, but they need more space to expose their innovativeness, provide solutions, work, and build an atmosphere that suits all and prepares the future generations to not face the same insecurities, imbalances, and corruption we see today. They should continue building on the strengths of their predecessors and participate in investing in and sustaining their communities. If an individual can learn to hate and kill, they can easily learn to love and protect. Having active youth participation in governance requires civic education to instill ethical values that can help youth to distinguish right from wrong.

“For a democratic society to function properly, there is a need for youth participation”, Gloria added.

Reacting to the theme: youth Participation in Active Politics, she said youth engagement on the part of public authorities helps young people to be relevant in the decision-making process and also allows them to broaden their own experiences.

“There are numerous advantages attached to the inclusion of youth in politics, having charismatic and passionate youths who are politically conscious will foster rapid growth and development in all sectors of the economy. Also, the youth are better performers in the area of sensitization and mobilization of the electorate during electioneering campaigns. The vibrancy of youths makes them indispensable in politics as such their inclusion cannot be overemphasized. If this energy is channeled well into politics it will go a long way to affirm their relevance in the polity of their countries”, she said.

She urged Nigerian youths to take the sensitization as a challenge to participate in politics, and governance and henceforth take actionable steps to be involved in governance as change agents.

Gloria obliges state parties to, among other things, “facilitate the creation or strengthening of platforms for youth participation in decision-making at local, national, regional and continental levels of governance.”

The Village Head,(Dakachi Lugbe)Chief Danlami Cheta, the Village Head, noted that without active participation in politics, a nation toys with its future, and undermines its existential capacity. The active participation of youths in politics must be seen as a beacon of hope for attaining purposeful and sustainable political leadership and stability.

The Guest Speaker at the occasion, Mr. Abe Fisayo encouraged youths to always speak out and demand accountability in order to reap the dividends of democracy.

Fisayo also urged youths to join political parties and set the agenda for politicians and refused to be used as thugs during elections.
” you will not be able to change the political process without being a part of it.” He added

One of the SUSO advocates, Maryam Aminu expressed that there should be a special focus on the empowerment of girls and women to meaningfully express themselves and actively participate in leadership and decision-making processes if we are to see their increased participation.

“This is the right time for the youths to arise and challenge the status quo of being left to dance to the tune of unscrupulous elders who try to lure the youth into political vices like violence, rigging, ballot snatching, etc without highly educated, highly literate, highly skilled, intellectually brilliant and self-confident youth.

“The time has come when Nigeria youth change from being the abused and disenchanted to being the drivers of social cohesion and economic development,” Aminu added.

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