Obinna Odogwu, Abakaliki
The International Republic Institute (IRI) has identified godfatherism, lack of funding, political parties delegate system, none membership of political party, wrong perception of youth, systemic failures, and unemployment as some of the factors that militated against youths participation in the 2019 general election in Ebonyi State.
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It said that the aforesaid factors worked against them and dampened their zeal to play active part in the political processes in the just concluded polls.
The event which was attended by some members of various political parties including the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), the All Progressive Congress (APC), and Alliance for New Nigeria (ANN) also had Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), People Living with Disabilities, Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), among others in attendance.
Coordinator of IRI in the state, Mr Anthony Anichukwueze, while speaking at a two-day workshop holding at Cirene Hotel, Abakaliki, the state capital, said that the purpose of the workshop was to enable the participants rob minds on the challenges facing the youths, especially as it affects their participation in politics.
Anichukwueze said: “We are here today because there is future for our youths who are in politics and those who want to get involved. Last election remains an eye opener. The percentage of those who got involved in seeking elective positions is fewer than we expected.”
Programme Associate of IRI Mr Akuma Bonaventure further explained that the essence of the gathering was to review the youth participation in the 2019 general election in Ebonyi State and then to identify the challenges that they faced and then project way forward for them to be more involved in the politics in the future.
Akuma, while presenting a paper on the topic: Review of Youth Participation in the 2019 General Elections in Ebonyi State said that there were a lot of issues ranging from the structures of the party; funding, and other factors that hindered youths’ participation.
He said that out of all the youths that registered and contested for positions in the last election in Ebonyi, only one person won the election.
“So, the person that won shared his experience and then, other people were ready to learn from him and then move forward.
“At the end of the day, they will develop a youth agenda that will form part of the youth demand for more participation in politics in Ebonyi,” he said.
In the course of the event, the participants were grouped into three as they came up with critical challenges facing the youth’s political participation and involvement in decision making processes.