Oyo State Governor Seyi Makinde yesterday declared that no less than 60 per cent of registered voters shun elections, because politicians have failed to fulfill campaign promises.
Makinde who stated this at the two-day Retreat for newly elected Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) officers, said the major task for the party ahead of 2023, is how to address voter apathy.
Speaking on the topic political and economic issues that concern women and youths and the electoral process, said “I would like you to bear in mind, each time the speakers mention youth, that Nigeria has a population of about 78 million persons who fall between the ages of 16 and 40. And when they say women, we should be thinking in terms of about 100 million persons.
“So, in total, we are discussing a population of about 120 to140 million.
“I have decided to lead with this information because as politicians, we are interested in numbers. The 2015presidential election was won and lost with a voting population of less than 30 million. In 2019, the figures were similar – less than 30 million people voted. In both cases, the total number of registered voters was just below 85 million.
“From these numbers, we can clearly see that we have an election participation problem. First, those eligible to register are not registering to vote. Second, over 60% of those who register, shun the elections.
“So, looking towards 2023, one of the key issues that we need to address is voter apathy.”
He said they cannot effectively address youth participation in Nigerian politics and mobilising youth and women in Nigerian politics while ignoring the reason behind this apathy.
“If we are being honest, we will agree that the failure of the political class to make themselves relevant to the voting population is chiefly responsible for voter apathy.
“We over promise and under deliver and the citizens pay the price. We have a growing population of poor Nigerians and the growing feeling among the youths is that their only hope for economic stability is to leave the country. Why then should they be interested in voting?
“If politicians at all levels make an impact in people’s lives, then they will be more interested in who occupies these positions and who wins the elections. So, the solution really begins with us. Those of us in this room who are occupying elective positions. What are we doing with the trust we have been given?
“I am hopeful that with this new dispensation, new party leadership, we will begin to take actions that will show Nigerians that the PDP, is different. We need the people to come out and vote, because as has been shown, elections are harder to rig when the people are interested and invested in the process,” he said.