Road to 2023: Youth candidacy drops to 28.6%


From Magnus Eze, EnuguA leading electoral reforms-focused civil society organisation, Yiaga Africa, has expressed concerns over the drop in the number of young people standing for next year’s general elections.The group said youth candidacy in the 2023 polls stood at just 4,398 out of a total of 15,336 candidates, representing a paltry 28.6 per cent of the total number of candidates aspiring to occupy the office of President, Governors, National Assembly and State Houses of Assembly seats.This was disclosed by the Programme Officer of the group, Olaniyan Sanusi, at a town hall meeting for young men and women in Enugu State contesting the 2023 general elections, tagged ‘Yiaga Africa Run to Win.’Sanusi, who decried the decrease in the forthcoming general elections, during which the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is expected to conduct elections in 176,846 polling units across the federation, lamented the abysmally low participation of youth candidates in the proposed exercise.Sanusi, however, informed assured youth candidates of various political parties in the state that the group would mobilize support to enable them make impact and win in their various constituencies in the 2023 polls.According to him, they had already mapped out plans to give technical support to the selected youth candidates so as to enable them compete favourably with their elderly colleagues.“In 2019, youth candidates stood at 34 percent but in the 2023 general elections, it reduced to 28 percent. That is not encouraging.“So, our major target here is to get the leadership of political parties to support young people on their platforms.“Because of this, Yiaga Africa with support from OXFAM-Voice in Nigeria will be giving technical support to selected youth candidates. We are going to support their campaigns with media visibility. We’re going to provide the platform for them to sell themselves to the electorate,” he stated.The House of Representatives candidate of Labour Party for Enugu North/South Federal Constituency, Chimaobi Atu, identified financial and security challenges as two major issues facing young candidates, especially in his party. He, then, enjoined political parties to provide technical, financial and logistics support to young candidates during the campaigns.

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