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Youth Candidacy Report Launch

Yiaga Africa Launches Report on Youth Candidacy in the 2023 Elections

As the 2023 general elections approach, Yiaga Africa has released a report on youth candidacy in the elections based on the final candidates' lists released by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for the presidential, governorship, federal, and state legislative elections. 

Hon Simon Elisha Karu, Member of the House of Representatives; Hon Kabir Tukura, Chair, Young Parliamentarians Forum; Samson Itodo, Executive Director, Yiaga Africa and Cynthia Mbamalu, Director of Programmes, Yiaga Africa at the launch
Hon Simon Elisha Karu, Member of the House of Representatives; Hon Kabir Tukura, Chair, Young Parliamentarians Forum; Samson Itodo, Executive Director, Yiaga Africa and Cynthia Mbamalu, Director of Programmes, Yiaga Africa at the launch

The report shows that youth candidacy in the 2023 elections has declined to 28.6% from 34% in 2019 as out of the 15,336 candidates running for 1,491 seats, about 4,398 are youth candidates. 43.2% of the youth candidates are direct beneficiaries of the Not Too Young To Run bill, with their ages between 25-30. 

The analysis also shows that there are more youth candidates for state legislative offices than executive or federal legislative candidates, with 35.6% of candidates of State Assembly being youth, while 21.6% for House of Reps and only 3.7% of Senate candidates are youth respectively.

Guests at the launch of the report
Guests at the launch of the report

While the North-West region has the highest percentage of youth candidates, the African Democratic Congress (ADC) leads the 17 other parties in providing the most opportunities to youth candidates with the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) ranking 13th and the All Progressives Congress (APC) at 15th. 

Guests at the launch of the report
Guests at the launch of the report

A further breakdown shows that only 11% of the youth candidates are female, with the ADC having the highest number of young female candidates followed by the Action Alliance (AA) and the Allied Progressives Movement (APM) in second and third respectively.

Speaking at the launch, the Executive Director of Yiaga Africa, Samson Itodo said the report indicated a whole lot of factors responsible for the decline, including high cost of nomination forms, highly commercialized party primaries, and others.

Samson Itodo, Executive Director of Yiaga Africa
Samson Itodo, Executive Director of Yiaga Africa 

He expressed displeasure over the current funding model of political financing, which he pointed out as creating unfair competition and shrinking the political space to the detriment of competent leaders, youth, and women.

“Political finance reform is an urgent necessity to ensure the political space is accessible to all persons regardless of age, economic class, tribe, and creed. Any meaningful reform of party funding or campaign funding should deliver the following four key outcomes; first, limit the influx of unregulated money in the political process; secondly, enhance the capacity of political parties on resource mobilization and maintenance of proper account of financial transactions and assets register; thirdly, strengthen INEC’s ability to monitor and ensure compliance with political finance regulations and; fourth explore new pathways of candidate selection that de-emphasizes the place of money and economic power over competence, capacity, and character.

He added that the net effect of these outcomes will be improved safeguards for the political space, party supremacy, and candidate recruitment. 

The report also made recommendations for increasing youth candidacy, including that political parties should provide technical, financial, and logistics support to young male and female candidates during the campaigns.

Guests at the launch discussing the report
Guests at the launch discussing the report

It also recommended that the media should prioritize coverage of youth candidates by providing adequate airtime to young male and female candidates to provide visibility for youth candidates and improve public perception of youth candidates.

“Finally, the general public are encouraged to support youth candidates by making financial donations to youth candidates with competence, character and capacity,” the report concluded.

The Youth Candidacy in the 2023 Elections report was produced with the support of the European Union Support to Democratic Governance in Nigeria (EU-SDGN II) which is funded by the European Union. 

 

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.