Northern youths lament political exclusion, accuse politicians of using them as tool of violence and destruction
By Charly Agwam – Bauchi
A group of northern youths under the aegis National Youth Inclusive In Governance Organization (NYIGO) Northeast zone has called for youths inclusion in governance while also lambasting politicians for using youths as tools for violence and destruction.
Convener of the youth group, Yusuf Sherrif Banki made the statement at the end of a one-day round table strategic meeting held at the multipurpose hall of Pali Hotel and Resort New GRA Bauchi on Saturday.
He said that most youths in the political space, particularly those in political parties, are oftentimes used as thugs by politicians who seek selfish political gains through the perpetuation of violence.
Banki further said that for democracy to thrive in Nigeria, young people must play important and active roles in determining the political future of their country by engaging political actors with demands for inclusion and equal access to political participation.
He said: “The youth forces under the egis of NYIGO and affiliate are determined and have since launched an aggressive mobilization across the length and breadth of the country. There is no doubting the fact that the input and resources of the youth are needed to further accelerate the engine of progress in the country.
“So far, youths have been neglected and forced to surrender to their fate, resulting in politicians using them as tool of violence and destruction, political corruption and misdemeanor. For proper appreciation of their role in governance and democratic deepening, the youth should be empowered with political education, mentorship and employment opportunities which will ultimately serve as succession plan for them to take over the affairs of governance when the time come.
“The exclusion of youths from political participation and decision making is underscored by trivial responsibilities apportioned to youths such as posting of posters, distribution of campaign materials, singing and dancing during campaigns and party conventions, mobilization of thugs and crowds.
“These can neither be referred to as inclusion nor qualitative participation since they do not translate into access to the structures of decision making.
Its widely accepted view that increased youth political participation in governance and decision-making is a clear indicator of a country’s democratic development.”
He noted further that since democracy thrives on the ability of citizens to enforce their rights by participating in decision making, young people must be given the opportunity to contribute to the development of their communities through political participation that grants them access to structures of governance where decisions are taken.