Six political parties on Wednesday pledged to give incentives to young Nigerians between 18 years and 35 years who are aspiring for different elective offices in the 2019 general elections.
The parties include Accord Party (AP), Action Alliance (AA), Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN), Better Nigeria Progressive Party (BNPP), Democratic People’s Party (DPP) and the National Democratic Congress Party (NDCP).
They made the pledge in Abuja in a joint statement with some young aspirants from the North Central geopolitical zone at the end of a forum organised by the Youngsters Foundation, an NGO.
They said in their bid to encourage inclusion of more young Nigerians in political leadership, they had decided to reduce cost of purchase of their forms.
“We have agreed to reduce the cost of purchasing our parties’ interest and nomination forms for young aspirants,” the statement says.
“We will leverage on other sources of raising funds and put in place measures to control election campaign funding to increase youth participation in the general elections,” it says.
Among the signatories to the statement are the National Chairmen of AP, ACPN and BNPP, Lawal Nalado, Gani Galadima and Nnaji Godswill, respectively.
Others are Adama Adama, Harirat Yakubu and Anas Hamisu Lawal, representing the young aspirants.
They also called for more positions for Nigerian youths in leadership composition and decision making process of the political parties.
“We observed that there is a gap in voter education and political sensitisation of the youth and people living with disabilities especially at the grassroots.
“To plug the gap, we agreed to adopt grassroots initiatives in collaboration with civil society organisations to reach a wider range of young people.
“We are determined to leverage on the social media in this direction, in addition to translating political messages into local languages.’’
The participants also urged political parties to give free tickets to Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) and come up with policies and initiatives to increase their emergence as flag bearers in 2019 and beyond.
The Executive Director of Youngsters Foundation, Kingsley Bangwell, said the forum followed an online survey conducted by his organisation.
He revealed that the NGO also held a focused group discussion with about 150 young aspirants in the northern parts of the country in March and April.
“So, we decided to bring the parties and aspirants together to discuss these issues and reach some sort of consensus on the way forward,” he said.
President Muhammadu Buhari signed the “Not Too Young To Run” bill into law on May 31, thereby giving a legal framework to Nigerian youths to run for political offices.