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Lagos Media Roundtable

Journalists in Lagos State pledge to amplify youth candidates running in the 2023 elections through quality reporting

As the 2023 elections draw nearer, journalists in Lagos State have made a commitment to improving their press coverage of young people running for office in a bid to project their capacity, competence, and character to brighten their chances of winning in the elections scheduled to hold in February and March next year. This was an outcome of a media roundtable meeting held by Yiaga Africa with journalists and editors, including the Lagos State Chairman of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) on Friday, October 14th. 

Roundtable meeting on youth candidacy reporting with media in Lagos State
Roundtable meeting on youth candidacy reporting with media in Lagos State

“We are also invested in getting more young people to be elected into government, and we are going to ensure that young candidates get as much publicity as possible which will encourage people to vote for them,” said the NUJ Lagos State chairman, Adewale Ajayi. 

Lagos State NUJ Chairman, Adewale Ajayi speaking at the Roundtable Meeting
Lagos State NUJ Chairman, Adewale Ajayi speaking at the Roundtable Meeting

The roundtable provided an opportunity for journalists in Lagos State to discuss publicity challenges faced by young candidates running in elections and to offer recommendations for improving reporting of youth candidates ahead of the 2023 general elections. This is timely on the heels of the recently released report by Yiaga Africa that showed a decline in youth candidacy from 34% in the 2019 elections to 28.6% in the 2023 elections. This means that there is a need for urgency to project young candidates to increase their electoral chances so that the proportion of young people elected into government does not fall further. 

In his opening remarks, Yiaga Africa’s Programme Manager, Ibrahim Faruk highlighted the important role that the media can play in getting young people elected into government.

“There is a public perception of young people in govt as inexperienced & ill-prepared which is a partial narrative, & it affects the chances of young people in elections. The media has a crucial role in reshaping this perception,” said Faruk. 

Yiaga Africa Programme Manager Ibrahim Faruk
Yiaga Africa Programme Manager Ibrahim Faruk 

There were also vibrant conversations on how to improve storytelling in ways that will positively highlight the candidates and their campaigns, which was led by Idris Akinbajo, the Managing Editor of Premium Times.

"Journalists need to tell stories that focus on the people involved & who are impacted most by the stories. There is also a need for deliberateness in promoting youth candidacy through publicity," he said.

Idris Akinbajo, the Managing Editor of Premium Times
Idris Akinbajo, the Managing Editor of Premium Times

In their submissions, some of the journalists lamented the unavailability of candidates for media appearances and their lack of willingness to provide necessary cooperation to journalists.

“Candidates, especially youth candidates, need to see the media as their partners, and not as a cost centre. Media appearances need not cost them any money, but if they are not prepared, they cannot seize opportunities that will provide them with needed publicity,” said one of the participating journalists.

Participants at the roundtable meeting
Participants at the roundtable meeting

Some of the journalists also recommended that media houses should be intentional in dedicating pages and peak time to report young people running for office ahead of the 2023 general elections.

Participants contributing at the Roundtable Meeting
Participants contributing at the Roundtable Meeting

There was also an interactive session between the journalists and a young candidate running for the House of Representatives seat for Mushin II Federal Constituency in Lagos State on the platform of the Young Progressives' Party (YPP), Folarin Joseph Opeyemi. The interaction gave the journalists insights into his level of preparedness for the office he is running for as he shared his manifesto and the policy issues he intends to focus on as a lawmaker.

Folarin Opeyemi Joseph, YPP candidate for Mushin II Federal Constituency
Folarin Opeyemi Joseph, YPP candidate for Mushin II Federal Constituency

The roundtable on reporting youth candidates is part of an effort by Yiaga Africa through its TurnUpDemocracy project supported by the United Kingdom Aid for International Development (UKAID) to support young candidates ahead of the 2023 general elections.

 

About

Yiaga Africa is a non-profit civic hub of change makers committed to the promotion of democratic governance, human rights and civic engagement. With its operational base in Abuja, Nigeria, Yiaga Africa focuses on in-depth research, providing critical analysis on key democratic and governance issues, crafting practical solutions, training and empowering citizens to lead change in their community. Yiaga Africa implements several innovative programs aimed at stimulating active citizenship, protecting human rights and deepening democratic governance. We invest in building networks and social movements to drive social change and transformation. Yiaga Africa has leadership structures and members in all 36 states and 774 Local Government Areas (LGA) of Nigeria.