By Femi Ogunshola
Prof. Abubakar Suleiman, Director General, National Institute for Democratic and Legislative Studies (NILDS), has urged President Bola Tinubu to appoint young person the Youth Minister.
Suleiman said this at a leadership conference to promote inclusive political party practices organised by the Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD) in Abuja on Tuesday.
He commended Tinubu for appointing a substantial number of women into his cabinet, most of whom he said were youths.
“You can see what the president has done by bringing sizeable numbers of women into his cabinet. Now we need a youth as the minister of youth, not person of my age,” he said.
He urged political parties reflect on how to deepen democratic processes through their actions by giving women, youth and persons living with disability a chance in their operations.
He said a political party that excluded the youth, women and persons living with disability had excluded a good percentage of the population from participating in the democratic process.
“Political parties exist as platform where broad based ideas should be actualised and it’s a fulcrum for inclusion where ambitions should be realised,” he said.
He said the abysmal representation of women as candidates in 2023 election where 3.6 per cent women were represented in elective position was unacceptable.
According to him, Nigeria retrogressed from 25 women Senators to 15 Senators and nine to three House of Representative members from 2019 and 2023.
He said as long as persons living with disability, women and youths were left out of decision making, the country was still practicing monarchical government.
Mr Adebowale Olorunmola, WFD Country Director, said in 2027 Nigeria should have a totally different story contrary to what obtained in 2023, especially among the under-represented groups.
“Political party is the only platform where all, including the vulnerable, can contest for election because the country does not have independent candidate yet”, he said.
He said there was need to have inclusion of under-represented group in political participation, while calling on political parties to make their platform opened to them.
According to him, how many political parties have persons with disability in their Board of Trustee, National Working Committee or delegates during their primary elections.
Prof. Fatai Badru, University of Jos, who gave the keynote said there was need to promote inclusive participation among political parties and commitment to implementation.
He said political parties should proffer mitigating solution to deal with exclusion of these group, adding that the factors responsible for the discrimination must be identified.
He called for strategy to ameliorate the menace, adding that there was no conscious evidence that political parties were ready to absorb the under-represented group.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that some of the political parties present at the event included the All Progressives Congress and All Progressives Grand Alliance.
Others are People’s Redemption Party, Accord Party Labour Party among others. (NAN) (www.nannews.ng)
Edited by Uche Anunne