By Gift Olivia Samuel, The Sight News
ABUJA-Months after President Muhammadu Buhari signed the #NotTooYoungToRun Bill into law, young Nigerians are taking the Bull by the horn,by working to ensure that the right candidates are available to fill in relevant offices in the political space.
In line with this, a Civil Society Organisation, Raising New Voices Initiative, on Monday, launched a campaign tagged, #BreakTheHold, in order to support the emergence and the election of young competent Nigerians who understands, into the house of Representatives in 2019.
Speaking to Newsmen in Abuja, the Convener, #BreakTheHold, Jude Feranmi, disclosed that the group will be working with exactly 25 candidates cutting across the 6 geo-political zones in the country and across different political parties.
According to him, “We will be pursuing an agenda that cuts across two categories of reforms – sectoral reforms and governance reforms. Under sectoral reforms, this new caucus will focus on three sectors – Technology and Innovation, Economy and Education. Under governance reforms, this new caucus will be focusing on reforms on Anti-Corruption, Civil Service reforms, with emphasis on the Nigeria Police Force and Lean Government. Our comprehensive legislative agenda can be found and downloaded from our website www.raisingnewvoices.org.
“Our hope is that in supporting these candidates to get elected into parliament, Nigerians both at home and in diaspora will join our campaign in crowdfunding the resources, both financial, physical and material to ensure their election. In more specific terms, the campaign is seeking between 200,000 and 250,000 Nigerians who will commit to giving their resources to the campaign at a minimum of N5000 and a maximum of N100,000 .
“Our volunteer crowdfunding initiative will be partnering with YIAGA’s #ReadyToRun movement to select and vet the candidates we will be working with, and the International Republican Institute to ensure spendings are monitored and their campaigns comply with the existing electoral laws. Every donor who gives to the campaign will be sent a souvenir pack containing a lapel pin and a support card that they can hold to show accountability from the candidates when they have been elected” He said.
Feranmi stressed, that if Nigeria is headed towards a future that will be defined by technology, an information based economy and the 4th industrial revolution, then the young people of the country who will be alive in that future need to have a seat at the table of governance.
“Our generation must rise as we have a solemn obligation to ensure that our country does not become more irredeemable than it is turning out to be already. In spite of the political drama in our country, we have a duty to ensure that the policy issues that matter to our generation and our demography receive adequate attention and that laws are passed that favour the sectors that affect us directly.
“We must then identify those amongst us who are qualified to push forward these reforms in our agenda and ensure that we get them elected and that they begin to pursue these reforms in the interest and progress of our demography” he remarked.
He reiterated that these candidates will come from across different political parties, as they will be working with YIAGA to identify young reform-minded Nigerians, which he said, are in every party. “We will especially work with candidates whose party agenda are clear aligned with ours, not just in word but in deed”.
On his part, the Senior Program Officer, YIAGA, Ibrahim Faruk, noted that the #ReadyToRun movement is designed to inspire young people, following the passage of the Not Too Young To Run Bill into law.
Also, the Resident Program Director, International Republican Institute(IRI), Sentell Barnes, stated that IRI is working to increase participation and space for women, youth and people living with disabilities.
He further said the organisation looks forward to encouraging candidates, especially youth and women to participate politically in Nigeria.
Speaking further, the Director of Policy and Learning, Venture Platform, Adaeze Sokan, noted that the future of Africa and Nigeria lies with entrepreneurs, urging those going into government to prioritize certain sectors as well as entrepreneurs, to create an enabling environment for them to thrive.
She expressed hopes that if Nigeria will live up to being a giant of Africa, she must create policies to push technology and innovation.
The campaign which is for the 2019 elections, is expected to end on February 15,2019.