Participate actively in voter registration, electoral processes, NGO urges youths

An NGO, Leadership, Entrepreneurship and Advocacy (LEAD) Network, on Wednesday, urged youths to participate actively in ongoing INEC’s continuous voter registration (CVR) and other electoral processes, to change the status quo.

Executive Director of LEAD Network, Mr Chukwuma Okenwa, made the call while speaking with newsmen in Enugu on why youths must participate actively in politics to get the desired change.

Okenwa noted that the impediment to youth’s participation in politics remained the notion that “vote does not count in Nigeria”, adding: “with this notion, present political dynamism disfavouring youths will never change.’’

According to him, for youths to anticipate peaceful change, they must engage political leaders and ensure that those not performing or the political misfits were now allowed to get into political offices through popular votes.

The activist also called for compulsory retirement of the present crop of leaders, particularly those above 60, from politics “for political space to breathe fresh air.

“The country needs new and progressive ideas, based on modern knowledge, driven by technology, for it to move ahead and fulfill its destiny in the comity of nations,’’ he said.

Okenwa said that the ongoing CVR and the 2023 general election would provide opportunities for youths to change the fortune of the country to benefit their generation.

“The youth remain the silent majority. It will surprise you that in a nation of anticipated 100 million voters, the presidential election is decided by only 30 million votes. It means that 70 million voters not participating are majorly youths.

“If the 70 million voters, who are the silent majority, stand up to vote and be voted for, there will be a great upturn in the democratic process and its outcome.

“With this overwhelming number, the youth have the electoral power and critical mass to ensure that political parties fashion their electoral policies, manifestoes and candidacy to favour the youthful population.

“The youths should stand up to be counted and influence those who are elected at the end of the day. If they can rise up, they will be a great threat to any existing group or force in the political space,’’ he said.

According to him, political negotiations and decisions are made based on numbers.

“Politically, your impact may not be felt if you do not have the critical mass in terms of numbers to turn things around.

“For regions where secessionist agitations are being carried out, it will limit their regions’ chances of making it to the top politically,” Okenwa said.

NAN reports that INEC had, on June 28, begun its online CVR exercise on June 28, while schedule of appointments for online registrants and physical CVR at INEC state and local government offices nationwide is expected to commence on July 19. (NAN)