UNITED States (US) ambassador to Nigeria Mary Beth Leonard has advised Nigerian youths to elect credible leaders in the 2023 general elections.
The US envoy, who spoke at the 13th commencement ceremony of the American University of Nigeria (AUN) in Yola, Adamawa State capital, said the youths should vote for candidates who have the capacity to provide security and justice for the country.
In her keynote address at the event, the ambassador said, “It is you and your generation that has the future of Nigeria in your hands as you become the most significant demographic in Nigerian elections, and you owe it to yourself and to your country to demand an elected leader who will govern and provide security, justice, and services for all Nigerians. This is the call to action 2023.”
Leonard identified voter apathy as one of the major problems in democratic societies.
She, therefore, called for massive and continuous sensitization of citizens on the need to exercise their voting rights.
The US representative stressed that it is through voting that leaders can be held accountable.
“I see this in my own country all the time. I know it is easy to get discouraged and to doubt that your vote will make a difference, but again please remember that voting is your voice, it is only through voting that you can hold those for whom you vote accountable,” she said.
Also speaking at the event, President of the University Margee Ensign told the graduating students to deploy the knowledge and experience they acquired in the institution to solve social problems and promote good governance in Nigeria.
Ensign noted that the future of Nigeria is full of challenges.
“Nigeria is one of the fastest-growing populations on earth. That means that in the not too distant future, Nigeria will be the third-largest country in the world after China and India.
“Nigeria is also a democracy in this world. Democracy is always under threat, tyrants and potential tyrants abound.
“So, despite its many natural and human resources, the future of Nigeria is a challenging one. Problems of poverty, violence, illiteracy, environmental degradation, unemployment, sustainability, good governance – all these and many other challenges loom.”
Usman Mustapha is a solution journalist with International Centre for Investigative Reporting. You can easily reach him via: firstname.lastname@example.org. He tweets @UsmanMustapha_M