A United Kingdom’s (UK’s) leading democracy strengthening organization, Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD) has decried absence of quality youth representation/participation in activities of political parties in Nigeria.
Speaking during the opening ceremony of a two-day workshop convened by the foundation with partnership with the National Assembly (NASS) with the theme ‘Strengthening coordination on pro-youth policies’ yesterday in Abuja, the WFD country representative, Nigeria field office, Adebowale Olorunmola, pointed out the absence of youth in decision making accounts for little attention on issues pertaining youth welfare in the country.
“If young people re not represented in decisions that affect their everyday life, how would quality decisions be made? Perhaps this and many more are the reasons why youth interest items, such as quality and affordable education, quality and affordable health provisions, employment and unemployment among others are given little attention,” he said.
Olorunmola averred the National, State Assemblies have important roles to play in tackling youth and children related issues especially the menace out of school children.
According to him, “About 13 million children are out of school in Nigeria as we speak. This is more than the population of Liberia (4.7 million) and Sierra Leone (7,719,729) put together. Technically, we can say we have more than two countries out of school. We need to tackle this problem, and others, heads on. And the National and State Assemblies have important roles to play here using legislative instruments of appropriation, legislation and oversight and working with key stakeholders.”
He said the workshop aims highlight the roles of National and State Assemblies in promoting youth inclusion; how strategic partnerships between stakeholders can be established to further youth inclusion; mutual commitment of parliament and stakeholders towards such partnerships; and how international and national instruments can be effectively utilized to realise youth inclusion in Nigeria.
Earlier, Clerk of the National Assembly, Mohammed Sani-Omolori, represented by Joseph Oru, commended the foundation’s support in complimenting NASS’s effort in institutionalizing the Young Parliamentarian Forum (YPF) especially through crafting of an operational guidelines and pragmatic action plans for the forum.
In his goodwill message, a representative of the British High Commission, Nigeria, Dominic Williams, pointed out it is fundamental everywhere in the world to have young people in the policy making process and positions of leadership, saying it is more important in Nigeria taking into consideration the countries unique demographics and the number of young people and the immense challenges they face, even as he called for the consolidation of the ‘Not too young to run campaign’ milestone recorded in Nigeria by promoting sufficient youth inclusion in policy making process and politics in the country.