The Executive Director of the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), Auwal Ibrahim Musa Rafsanjani, has condemned the marginalisation of youths and women in the Nigerian political space.
Rafsanjani disclosed this on Wednesday during a town hall meeting on Strengthening Accountability Among Civil Society (SANCUS) project in Keffi, Nasarawa State.
The town hall meeting which was held between Wednesday, 11th and Thursday, 12th of May, centred on sensitising participants on the need for political integrity and the need to hold public office holders accountable as the 2023 elections approach.
CISLAC and 31 other Civil Society Organisations had demanded the immediate resignation of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Godwin Emefiele, over his unethical and illegal involvement in the 2023 presidential race.
The 32 CSOs also called for more youth and women involvement in the democratic process.
They cited the amount for nomination and expression of interest forms by the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC), and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as a challenge for youths and and women.
“As the country prepares for the 2023 general elections, it is imperative to consider that such a huge cost for nomination forms could widen political exclusion. At a time when youth and women are disproportionately underrepresented in Nigerian politics, the expensive political process is a double jeopardy of the financial burden and political exclusion for them,” Rafsanjani said.
He noted that the political landscape ahead of the 2023 elections has been hijacked by politicians who are focused on money and citizens bear the brunt of bad governance.
He said, “Money politics is at the heart of the general crisis of democracy and governance in Nigeria.
“This money politics makes a mockery of the efforts of all the stakeholders and public that campaigned vigorously to secure the signing of the Not Too Young to Run bill.”
He, however, urged Nigerian citizens to hold public office holders to account to avoid the use of official resources for personal political ambition.
“It is important for us to advocate for a move from politics of money and materialism to politics of ideas, issues, and development,” he said.
Also speaking at the event, BudgIT’s Project Manager, Tolutope Agunloye, said the town hall meeting was necessary to increase citizens’ awareness on political accountability and also to sensitise the public on the consequences of vote trading.
One of the participants, Ibrahim Dansabo Danbawa, the convener of Keffi Concerned Group, said the town hall meeting was important because it has empowered them to learn how to scrutinise constituency projects.