Convergence 3.0 is About Reclaiming the State With Leaders Capable of Providing Promises of Democracy

Convergence 3.0 is About Reclaiming the State With Leaders Capable of Providing  Promises of Democracy

Convergence 3.0 is About Reclaiming the State With Leaders Capable of Providing Promises of Democracy

Yiaga Africa and the Not Too Young To Run movement have reiterated its commitment to reclaim the state by replacing poor leadership currently seen across Nigeria with new sets of leaders who are  capable of driving reforms and providing the promise of democracy. The battle for the political soul of Nigeria; its present situation  and indeed its future antecedents  came out really strongly in the just concluded  largest gathering of young people running for office in Southwest, Nigeria tagged Convergence 3.0. 

This is part of the movement’s reaffirmation  to promote political inclusion of youth, women, and People With Disabilities (PWDs), for transformative politics and purposeful leadership, while reflecting on the movement’s successes and future prospects going into the next phase of Nigeria’s political dispensation. The movement also remained determined to increase inclusion of youth, women, and People Living With Disabilities, PWDs in  elective positions to 30 percent  in 2023 general elections.

Panel sessions at Convergence 3.0
Panel sessions at Convergence 3.0

This commitment informed the Convergence series designed to equip young people with the knowledge, skills and networks for running effective political campaigns and winning elections.  The latest in the series of Convergence held between 9th and 10th December, in Lagos, Nigeria hosted about 150 young aspirants under the age of 40, to empower them to not only run, but win elections. Convergence 3.0 which is the first regional conference hosted young aspirants from Oyo, Ekiti, Ogun, Ondo, Osun, and Lagos State while exposing them to critical knowledge and information to enable them run effective, issues-based campaigns ahead of the elections.

In his opening remarks, the Executive Director of Yiaga Africa and Convener of the NotTooYoungToRun Movement, Samson Itodo emphasized that The Convergence was about reclaiming the stakes, and replacing poor leadership evident in the country, with a new set of leaders who are capable of driving reforms.

   

“Young people are saying ‘we are ready’ and they are demonstrating it and the best that we can do as a civil society is to provide the necessary support, inspiration and solidarity. We are providing a bold statement with evidence that they are ready,” said Itodo. 

He added that the event is a clarion call on Nigerian youths to take up positions of leadership.

The British High Commissioner in Nigeria, Catriona Laing in her address called on the political parties in the country to take the registration of women and youths seriously, as this would encourage these sects of people to participate actively in the governance of Nigeria, especially as the 2023 general elections draw near. 

“Africa and the rest of the world are closely observing the coming general elections of 2023 in Nigeria, as the outcome of the polls is very important to democracies in the continent,” Ms Lang revealed.

Tony Nwulu, a former member of the House of Representative and the sponsor of the NotTooYoungToRun bill, described the event as an opportunity to create hope for the Nigerian political youths. 

In her remarks on ideology-driven politics, Dr. Jumoke Oduwole, a policy entrepreneur and a public servant advised young aspirants to always put their ideology and values first. According to her, “Youth is not an identity or a batch of honour, but your character, competence and capacity. Your impression on people whom you are supposed to serve, is what sets you apart from every other politician who comes to them for support.”

Rt. Hon Debo Ogundoyin, the Speaker of the Oyo State House of Assembly who is also a beneficiary of the NotToYoungToRun movement appealed to the aspirants to identify what their drive is, as every politician must have a motive for running for office.

 ‘Identify your aspirations, and then identify what political party will help you achieve that aspiration. That is the best thing you can do for yourself as a young politician,’’ said Ogundoyin. 

 

 

Speaker, Oyo State House of Assembly giving a remark at Convergence 3.0

                                                                                   

Speaking on the NotTooYoungToRun movement, Ogundoyin expressed his pleasure as one of the beneficiaries of the Bill, because he was the youngest person to ever become a Speaker of the House of Assembly. In his words, ‘Politics is a personal journey. Endeavour to leverage on opportunities and support that organizations such as Yiaga Africa are providing for you.’

Young aspirants at Convergence 3.0 also had opportunity to engage the Executive Governor of Kwara State, His Excellency Governor, AbdulRahman AbdulRazak who shared lessons on his foray in politics and the importance of youth and women political participation. Similarly, Spokesperson of the Senate, Senator Ajibola Basiru also advised young people on necessary action to take while preparing to run for office in 2023.

The two-day event featured Jude Abaga, Honorable Seyi Adisa, Honrable Favor Tomomewo, Simi Fajemirokun, Alero Ayia Otobo, Dr Oluwatobi, Oluwatola, Hon. Shina Peller, Hon. Kabir Tukura, Abosede George-Ogan, Kafila Ogbara, Gbadebo Rhodes Vivour, Angel Adelaja-Kuye, Ife Adabayo, Aderinsola Abiola, Tony Ehilebo, Dr. Kehinde Ogunsola Saliu, Bode Olanipekun, Tope Fasua and members of Not Too Too Young To Run Strategy team who led  panel discussions, interactive sessions and masterclasses on topics such as Ideologically-driven leadership, Campaign structuring and money politics, Candidate nomination, Election law and adjudication, Electoral operations and dirty politics. 

 

Bank W giving a closing remark

The event came to an end on Friday night with a grand ceremonial dinner for the participants, featuring guest appearances by entertainers such as Banky W and Wande Coal.  After  his musical performance at the end of the dinner, Banky W tasked Nigerian youths to become more active, because the only way to get the country we want is by participating in politics and by voting. 

The first edition of The Convergence was held in Abuja in 2018, with over 400 young political aspirants in attendance. The event was aimed at providing the aspirants with critical knowledge and information to enable them run effective, issues-based campaigns ahead of the elections.

The success of this event gave rise to the second edition titled The Convergence 2.0, which was held in Abuja in 2019 for newly elected young representatives in order to celebrate their election and prepare them for the task ahead. It was an opportunity for these young leaders to share their experiences, and connect with each other for the job ahead. 

The Convergence 3.0 is the first regional edition of the series for young men and women planning to run in the 2023 elections. In February of 2022, the Convergence 4.0 will be held in Sokoto state, for politicians in the North-West region.

Master classes at the Convergence 3.0