PROMAD highlights issues affecting youth civic participation in FCT

THE PROMAD infotech foundation has highlighted some of the issues affecting youth civic participation in Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

The nonprofit organisation, which combines evidence-based strategies with civic technology to bridge gaps that exists between citizens at grassroots communities and governments released its research policy memo in Abuja on Tuesday, April 4.

Speaking on the project, the Founder and Executive Director of Promad, Daisi Omokungbe, noted that the Accelerating Youth Civic Participation and Development in FCT (AYCP) Project is a youth component of its Grassroots Advocacy Project (GRAP).

“The project is a youth component of our Grassroots Advocacy Project (GRAP) that focuses on community needs assessment for budget making, enhancing citizens opportunity to nominate projects that meet the needs of their community into the budget. AYCP project attracted, educated and mobilised youth across the six area councils for civic participation such as in the 2023 general elections, collection of community and youth needs assessment data and empowered them to track projects in their communities to drive participatory and accountable governance in the pursuit of the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and #TheNigeriaWeWant.

“In the last four months, we’ve engaged young people at community levels and held town hall meetings across the six area councils of the FCT. We conducted the survey on youth civic participation and development challenges through the deployment of our home-grown civic-tech needs assessment platform–https://grap.org.ng, targeting young people mostly at the grassroots, as well as qualitative interviews and observations made during town hall meetings. All of these led to the production of this research policy memo,” he said.

On Promad findings, Omokungbe stressed that 46 per cent of youths are unemployed and depend on someone else to survive, while 26 per cent are self-employed, according to its quantitative and qualitative analysis.

According to him, 28 per cent are employed by government, Non Government Organisations and Private companies.

“52.35% of respondents belongs to a youth group involved in political participation and 51% of respondents belong to political parties. This shows that there is high interest. 82.72% of respondents have voter cards, 86.38% of respondents know where to collect their PVC. This points to the high level of awareness and interest amongst young people.

“75.91% of respondents voted in a past election and 76.43% of them would vote in 2023. According to INEC’s data on 2023 elections compared to the past elections, there was an increase in voters’ turnout in the FCT. However, they identified violence (the biggest challenge), corruption, high cost of participation and youth only meant for thuggery as barriers to youth participation. Violence was their biggest hindrance. This choice and feedback from the interviews strengthens the idea that young people view elections as the ultimate form of civic participation.”

Speaking on dividends of governance and empowerment, he noted that 83.24 per cent of their respondents have never benefited from government or lawmakers youth empowerment schemes, implying that there is a gap in service provision that ought to cater for the youth population. 

“This evidence proves the sentiment of neglect expressed in the interviews.

“ There is a wide disconnect between young people and elected officials. 76.96% of respondents have not engaged NASS members or government agencies, this indicates that the youths do not understand or respect their responsibility to engage with the government. On the other hand, elected officials are also not engaging them as indicated by 88% of the respondents that are not aware and know for sure that no representative has organized a town hall or consultation session.”

According to him, there is a wide acceptance of women and PWDs’ inclusion with 90.05 percent of their  respondents supporting their inclusion in governance and leadership. 






     

     

    He further appealed to all state governments to involve youths in government and policy making, noting that only Lagos and Rivers state have made attempts to domestics the National youth policy.

    According to him, youth must be front and centre of budget formation and must be involved before in empowerment schemes to avoid misplacement of priorities.

    “Young people must organize to pursue their cause_No one can fight the cause of young people like their critical mass coming together to pursue a common goal. The government and leaders understand that the youth are the majority, and with their numbers, they can achieve anything they want if and only if they come together and engage relevant authorities.”

    He stressed that youth inclusion and empowerment would facilitate new ideas and solutions to fast-track development not only in the FCT but the whole country. “This is particularly important as Nigeria is on the verge of democratic transition from one democratically elected administration to another which will create new political changes, efforts must be directed on actual youth development not ‘frivolous budgeting’ for the youth,” he added.

    Usman Mustapha is a solution journalist with International Centre for Investigative Reporting. You can easily reach him via: [email protected]. He tweets @UsmanMustapha_M

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