Factsheet on Youth and Women Candidacy in the 2022 FCT Area Council Elections
Youth inclusion in democratic processes has gained global attention, buoyed largely by the emergence of younger leaders and the demand for the recognition of youth participation as a human right. The youth of today are largely existing in a time of democratic contradictions where the increase in the number of countries adopting democracy as a system of government has not necessarily translated into the practice of democracy. For developing democracies, the struggle remains the ability of the system to consistently institutionalise democratic institutions and effectively mainstream a democratic political culture as the norm. Central to the discourse on democracy is the fundamental role of the people and the actualisation of the core principles of inclusion and representation especially of marginalised groups like youth and women.
Today’s generation of young people is the largest in the world with nearly half of the world population under the age of 25. Africa for instance is a young continent with a burgeoning youth population constituting more than half of its population. The United Nations projects that the population in Sub-Saharan Africa is expected to double by 2050 with countries like Nigeria expected to be one of the nine countries contributing to half of the world population by 2050. The numerical strength of young people in Nigeria, Africa and the world has not however translated to political representation in Government. According to a Global Parliamentary report, the average age of Parliamentarians is 53 years.
According to the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) ‘Youth Participation Parliament Report 2020’, only 2.6% of the world’s Members of Parliament/ legislators are under 30 years, while 17.5% are under 40 years. In Nigeria, 2.55% of legislators in the National Assembly are under 35 years while 8.74% are under 40 years at the national level. In the State Houses of Assembly, 8.98% of legislators are under 35 years while 21.6% are under 40 years of age. Similarly, women representation in government remains poor with the Inter- Parliamentary Union putting the global average percentage in all chambers of national parliaments at 25.7%. The reality is worse in Nigeria, with women representation at 4.47% in the National Parliament and 4.54% in the State Parliament. The under-representation of young people and women in government and democratic processes remains a threat to democratic sustainability.