December 3, 2021

NEWS AGENCY OF NIGERIA

Africa's Media Giant

Get your PVCs to influence political participation, VC tasks youths

By Angela Atabo

Prof. Suleiman Muhammed, the Vice Chancellor of Nassarawa State University (NSUK) has urged Nigerian youths to get their Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) towards changing Nigeria’s political structure in 2023.

Mohammed, represented by Prof. Haruna Ayuba, DVC Academics, made the call at a two-day roundtable on raising political awareness among youths and students of tertiary institutions in Nigeria, on Tuesday in Keffi.

The event was organised by the African Centre for Media and Information Literacy (AFRICMIL) in collaboration with the Ubuntu Centre for African Peace building and Development (UCAP) and the Institute of Strategic and Development Communication NSUK.

He urged students and youths to add to their degrees the knowledge of the Constitution, know their rights and develop entrepreneurship skills to empower them to decide the political atmosphere of the nation.

“I urge you to begin to get your voter cards so you can influence and change the political structure of this country.

“The programme is very important because it will help you reflect ,we say keep saying youths are the leaders of tomorrow and we are not relinquishing the power to them.

“So this programme for me is to create awareness so that the future is in their own hands and they will need to look at how to develop themselves.

“They have to understand that they don’t have to be used by any political leaders as thugs, so they need to mobilise themselves since they represent 60 per cent of the population of this country.

“If they can leverage on that they will really be the leaders of tomorrow, one way is to create political awareness, so now you have a critical power in your hands which is your vote so exercise it,’’ he said

Prof. Saadatu Liman,the DVC Administration, NSUK said that it was very necessary for youths to participant in politics because the nation needed change.

Liman urged youths to grab the mantle of leadership leveraging on the education they received to play a positive leadership and political role Nigeria needed.

“We need youths to take Nigeria to the next level and they need to wake up from their slumber and be positively active and start inventing things like their counterparts in other climes,” he said.

In his remarks, Prof. Osita Osita, Executive Director, UCAP, urged youths to be interested in politics and stay away from violence ahead of 2023.

Osita also called on youths not to allow themselves to be used as agents of violence by rejecting weapons from politicians and urged them to work to make Nigeria safe and better for all.

Also, Ms Angela Odah, Programme Manager, Rosa Luxemburg Foundation, West Africa said that the organisation supported the AFRICMIL to organise the event to amplify the voices of youths politically.

Odah said that historically, Nigerian youths have been in the forefront of the struggle for democratisation of society and of decision making in Nigeria’s institutions of higher learning.

“Therefore, having a forum like this to promote reclaiming the civic space and building popular movements for social transformation is useful as this discussion could help to revive the vibrancy of the campuses and restore some of its progressive content.

“We must organise and build issue-based coalitions to focus on unbundling the challenges that confront us on all sectors of development.’’

She tasked youths to rebuild Nigeria in the area of credible electoral processes; participatory and inclusive governance, media rights and freedom of speech, peace and security, education, agriculture, health and access to justice.

Coordinator AFRICMIL, Mr Chido Onumah, represented by Mr Kolawole Ogunbiyi, Programme Manager, AFRICMIL said that the sensitisation event was part of AFRICMIL’s Political Education Project (PEP) started around 2018.

Onumah said that although youth were participating in political activism to some extent, there was still much to be done in addressing political apathy among them.

“While it appears that many of our young citizens do not show interest in taking up the baton of leadership, some who dare to, are challenged following barriers placed by the present political actors.

“Discouraging as this seems, we must remember that we owe it a duty to hold leaders accountable and ensure that they deliver to us the dividends of democracy,” he said. (NAN)