Nigeria: Lawan assures of inclusion of young parliamentarians

President of the Senate, Dr. Ahmad Lawan, has assured young parliamentarians of inclusion in the affairs of the legislature.

A statement in Abuja on Tuesday by Mr Ezrel Tabiowo, his Special Assistant on Print Media said the president of the senate gave the assurance while inaugurating principal officers of the Young Parliamentarians Forum (YPF).

Lawan, who presided over the election of the principal officers, said the inauguration of the YPF was aimed at securing inclusion and participation of youths in the process of deepening Nigeria’s democracy.

He stated that the determination of the legislature to return Nigeria’s budget cycle to January-December timeline with the passage of the 2020 budget in record time was also part of plans by the National Assembly to build new momentum for good governance.

“The idea of the YPF is to give emphasis on the inclusion of young parliamentarians across the world, and particularly in the National Assembly.

“The young anywhere in the world provide new energy for development and they represent the future and the promise of any nation.

“The young are the hope of tomorrow and the group around which leadership would revolve,” Lawan said.

He added, “If you want to see the future of a nation, look at what it is doing with the young; that will tell you whether that country or society has a future.

“Our tomorrow is prepared today with our young parliamentarians.”

The president of the Senate noted that the forum, a body carved out of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, affirmed the importance of the young.

According to him, having an understanding of the youth is eventually made easier when a good number of them are in parliament.

He, therefore, tasked Nigerian youths to take advantage of the Not-Too-Young-To-Run Act to ensure representation every four years.

“The inauguration of the YPF of the ninth National Assembly is one big step.

“We are taking to sustain the forum through which young person across the nation have not only found a voice, but an instrument to be part of the decision-making process in the National Assembly.

“This is to make the voice of a young person at the grassroots to count.

“It is also to ensure that they are part of decisions that affects them today and in the future.

“I want to assure the forum that the senate is ready to provide the needed support to achieve the concept of inclusion across Nigeria.

“These roles of the YPF are indeed very timely. It is a fact that we need to stabilize our democracy. It is also a fact that democracy is a system, requiring involvement and participation of all.

“With these activities, we have built a new momentum, preparatory to delivering our mandate of good governance.

“With the imminent inauguration of the Inter-parliamentary Union (IPU) Young Parliamentarians Forum (YPF), we have also begun another phase”, Lawan said.

Earlier, members of the YPF of the ninth National Assembly, unanimously elected Hon. Kabiru Tukura (APC, Kebbi) as Chairman and Ibrahim Babajide Obanikoro (APC, Lagos), Deputy Chairman.

Both lawmakers who are serving members of the House of Representatives are aged 35 and 38 years.

Present at the election of the principal officers and inauguration of the YPF are, Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Idris Wase, representing the Speaker and Clerk of National Assembly, Alhaji Mohammed Omolori among others

Source PM News

South African Viewpoint: Six million youth disempowered?

By Indcatholicnews.com (Puleng Matsaneng)

I am not an expert in figures, but I definitely know that six million people is more than 10% of our nation.

According to the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) almost six million youth had not registered by the closing date at the end of January 2019. Was this their way of showing disappointment in their leaders or prospective leaders? The IEC slogan “voting is your way to be heard” didn’t mean a thing to them. Do our youth not see themselves as the people that will one day move the country forward?

I wondered if they felt like the Israelites in Egypt with no hope in their leader, Moses. Pressure is powerful. They felt pressured and angered by those in power. The rich people in this country (a mere 10%) own 71% of the country’s wealth, while the poorest people (a whopping 60%) share 7% of the total wealth.

Young people are disillusioned as they watch people who are better salaried than their own parents, have 24-hour security and many other resources, but continue to steal the countries resources.

To some of our leaders, stealing billions is like stealing 10 cents. Yet, every 10 cents is very important to the growth of the country. Another truth – it is not your 10 cents, but it belongs to the nation. Leaders were appointed to look after our money and not to squander and squabble over it.

Many young people mentioned that their parents or families depend on food donations from charities and on government pension money, which is not enough. I must be honest I feel for them, their cries are genuine.

We are all familiar with hope and disappointment. We are a nation filled with hopes and desires and those desires are sometimes fulfilled and other times they are not. It could be as simple as having trust that a friend will help you, and then be disappointed when all help fails. The truth is we do find ways of getting what we desire; then we either succeed or fail again.

So too, when we enter into prayer, we are filled with hopes and wait for the outcome. The outcome could be what we prayed for and sometimes it is not. Those are times where we go back to prayer to try and understand where things went wrong. We ask ourselves this question, was it through our lack of listening?

What am I trying to say to the youth of South Africa is this: your disappointment in the government that led you not to register to vote, hasn’t made any changes. Your vote could have made a significant change. There were 48 contesting parties and the choice was wide. Does it mean that not one of them spoke to you?

I appeal to the youth to become proactive about issues. Don’t feel forgotten and discarded. I know our leaders have failed you badly. They did not visit you when you highlighted your complaints, they carried on and enjoying stealing from your future. Your future is in your hands. Grasp it firmly.

Young South African voters hope for change

By Africanews.com

South Africa’s young voters said they hope for more jobs and a change in the distribution of resources, just one day after voting in the country’s national and provincial elections.

Many young South Africans complained about a lack of jobs, high crime rates, corruption and poor public services – issues the governing African National Congress has promised to address.

Young South Africans made up the majority of eligible voters who did not register to vote in the May 8 elections, raising concerns over apathy barely a generation after many of their parents won the right to vote for the first time.

Numbers released by the Electoral Commission of South Africa, indicated that nearly 27 million people registered to vote.

It however expressed concerns about 9.8 million eligible voters did not register.

Malawi: Chilima Assents to Youth Manifesto – Commits to Address Numerous Challenges Affecting Young Malawians

By Nyasatimes.com (Wongani Chiuta)

UTM Party’s presidential torchbearer Saulos Chilima, who disclosed that he will also be minister responsible for the youth should he be voted into power on May 21, has appended his signature to the National Youth Manifesto to commit himself that he will address numerous challenges youths are facing in the country.

Chilima adopts Youth Manifesto and commits to uplifting youths

The youth movement which launched the 2019-2024 National Youth Manifesto-the first such strategic document ever in Malawi- had an audience with Chilima on Wednesday morning in Lilongwe.

Chilima was presented with the document which will be a catalyst for economic transformation in the country as it is tackling a number of issues such as the revising and redesigning of the Youth Enterprise Development Fund (Yedef) while also looking on creation of 500 000 jobs for the youth each year.

Putting his signature on the document, Chilima said he was committing himself and the UTM to adopt issues in the manifesto considering that most of the issues in it are also within the UTM electoral pledges.

“Malawi youths deserve a better future. Tsogolo labwino, lowala with UTM,” he said.

Youth Decide team leader Charles Kajoloweka with Chilima presenting National Youth Manifesto

Youth Decide team leader Charles Kajoloweka, who is also outspoken Youth and Society (YAS) executive director, said the youth, who constitute about 50 percent of the country’s population, commended Chilima for making what he called a high-level political commitment saying it is a step ahead in trying to alleviate a number of challenges the youths are facing.

Some of the organisations which supported the formulation of the National Youth Manifesto are Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (Osisa), Danish Church Aid (DCA), National Democratic Institute (NDI) and the European Union, according to Kajoloweka.

The manifesto has 14 strategic points, with access to youth employment and vocational training being the first issue they want the next government to consider while agriculture and entrepreneurship come second.

A consortium comprising Youth Network and Counselling, M-Hub, Youth and Society, Young Politicians Society and other youth rights organisations will be monitoring its implementation.

Some points in the manifesto

1. Access to youth employment. 500 000 youths employed each year

2. No child should be learning under a tree by 2023

3. Scrapping off of quota system as a method for selecting students into university

4. Revise and redesign the Youth Enterprise Fund (Yedef)

5. Delink ACB from the Office if the President in terms of appointment of the director general.

SOUTH AFRICA: SADC ELECTION OBSERVERS RAISE CONCERNS OVER LOW YOUTH TURNOUT AT VOTING STATIONS

By Ewn.co.za (Thando Kubheka)

Election observers from the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region have raised concerns over the poor youth turnout at polling stations as South Africa votes in its sixth democratic elections.

The officials representing countries including Angola, Mozambique, Botswana and Lesotho visited a voting station at Freeway Park Primary School in Boksburg on Wednesday.

African National Congress chairperson Gwede Mantashe cast his vote at the school on Wednesday afternoon.

The election observers visited a number of other voting stations to assess whether the country’s polls were free and fair.

Nyeleti Mondlane who was with the Mozambican delegation said they would have loved to see more young people come out to vote.

“And to have young people come out to vote signifies that they have adequate information and they understand the meaning of coming out to vote. If you have an opinion, you need to exercise [it and] vote and voice your opinion.”

Tebelelo Seretse from Botswana said she was impressed with how South Africa’s election was progressing.

“It was calm, it was organised, so we are impressed with that and people seem to know what they wanted to do.”

The SADC observers applauded the Electoral Commission of South Africa for the work it had done so far.

Opinion: Nigerian Youths Need Value Re-Orientation – Ajibare

By Independent.ng (Popoola Yaqoub)

Tosin Ajibare Gold was the youngest gubernatorial candidate in the July 14 Governorship Election in Ekiti State .The 36 year-old flagbearer of the Independent Democrat Party in this interview with YAQOUB POPOOLA, he spoke on developments in the state.Excerpts:

You contested the last Governorship Election in Ekiti State. What was your experience like?

Yes i did, it was a wholesome experience, with daunting, challenges, but at the same time fulfilling. It was putting everything online for what i believed in and it was worth it. The experience and additional knowledge gathered is something that cannot be acquired within any walls or by tale bearing. It was tough and at the same time encouraging, One experiences the very best of people and the supposedly worst, it was like a check and balance thing and a trial of ones beliefs, values and conviction.

Going by the outcome of the results .Would you say that you are betrayed by the youths?

Not in any way, if there was any betrayal, I think it was to the youth themselves My candidacy and campaign was about our reality and our salvation, my ability to deliver the salvation was not in question, but since it’s about all of us, each and every one has his or her part to play. By the grace of God, I played my own part against all odds, they also played their own part, we all get to bear the consequences of our individual actions.

Since my standing up to give the youths a voice is not about my personal interest, I believed i was not in any way betrayed.

The issue of unemployment is like a synonym to youths, the high cost of living is general knowledge, we all knew what was at stake and we made our choice. It’s not about me; it’s about us and our future.

The involvement of youths in crime and corruption both at home and in the diaspora has reached an alarming proportion.What would you suggest as solution?

This issue gives us constant and continuous headache, and the most unfortunate aspect is that it seems like those at the helms of affairs fail to see the trend for what it really is, “the damnation of a future we are yet to enter”

As part of the solutions, there is need for an intensive value re-orientation campaign across board, aimed at awakening lost virtues and encourage positive values, a campaign so intensive that it would be akin to a political campaign for an executive position. Also there is need to nip these things at the bud and by so discourage it but most times we just look on until the snake has grown big enough to swallow a whole human being, that’s when we now term it as dangerous. An example of this is the Yahoo Yahoo trend. Even up till now focus is still on the fruits while we keep looking at the roots despite being exposed on top soil.

Also there is need to put up a definitive stance against vices, this issue has gone overboard.

What led you into youths activism?

The knowledge of what our society should be versus our present reality.The knowledge of what contributions youths can make in creating a better society as against the way talents are been wasted through negligence.

Youths are a blessing to any Nation; the period of youthfulness should be harnessed not wasted. I got really involved when i decided i have had enough of the phrase “the richest place is the graveyard because so many people are buried there with their potentials”.

My generation will not die with her potentials, in fact when we die, we want to die empty, having exhausted all our potentials and ideas to the betterment of this Nation and the World.

You are collaborating with other youths organisation of value reorientation .What informed this action ?

The extent of decadence in our society, we came to a conclusion that only a better people can bring about a better nation.

South Africa’s youth missing on election day

By Thesouthafrican.com

South Africa’s sixth general election took place on 8 May 2019. Notably absent from the voters is one population group heavily affected by the country’s most pressing issue: unemployment.

While the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) recorded a record number of voter registration for the 2019 elections, the statistics of registered voters have a notable absence.

People aged under 30 make up the smallest percentage of registered voters nationally. Considering this is the country’s largest population group, it’s a particularly alarming statistic.

The number of South Africans under 20 who have registered to participate in the general election has dropped to the lowest level since at least 1999, according to the IEC’s data. Registrations are at the lowest in at least a decade for those aged between 18-29.

The IEC only started keeping records by age after the country’s first democratic elections back in 1994.

It’s also surprising considering how, superficially anyway, the youth have appeared to be highly engaged in politics in the wake of the #FeesMustFall movement.

The leaders of the country’s two main opposition parties – Mmusi Maimane of the Democratic Alliance (DA) and Julius Malema of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) – are also relatively young. Both are 38 and some of the country’s biggest problems directly impact on the missing voters.

More than half of South Africans aged 15 to 24 seeking work are unemployed and the country remains one of the most unequal in the world.

South Africa’s registered voters by age group

Photo: TSA

Where is South Africa’s young voters?

Some believe it’s all down to apathy. Indeed, local media who interviewed young people electing not to vote often said that they feel like they are not able to affect change.

Others say that they just do not feel engaged enough by the current crop of political parties or that they simply did not have the time to register.

“There is an element of voter apathy and not political apathy – in universities, you see robust and noisy politics which is usually powerful enough to effect change,” said Mpumelelo Mkhabela, an independent political analyst told Bloomberg.

“The EFF has helped to energize young people. A lot of people on campuses vote for the EFF. The ANC Youth League has been disorganized.”

The election is the first measure of whether President Cyril Ramaphosa can reinvigorate support for a party whose backing rests largely on its liberation credentials, but now faces the prospect of a reduced majority.

Nigeria: Arewa youths, Atiku supporters task election petition tribunal on fairness, speed

By T.guardian.ng (Saxone Akhaine)

Arewa youths and supporters of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have admonished members of the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal to be firm, fast, independent and resolute as they handle the complaints of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar arising from the February 23,2019 exercise.

They reminded the panel that the judiciary remained the last hope for the growth and advancement of Nigeria’s democracy.

The Special Adviser on Youths and Support Groups to the PDP presidential standard-bearer, Ambassador Aliyu Bin Abbas, made the appeal yesterday in a statement in Kaduna.

According to him, the struggle to deepen the nation’s civil rule now rests on the judiciary after the contest.

He urged the tribunal to exhibit neutrality in the dispensation of justice.

Abbas said: “Honourable justices, as hearing of the presidential election petition is set to begin, I want to kindly remind you that, we, the Nigerian youths, have you as our last hope to restore democratic practice and principles in Nigeria and put the country back on the path of prosperity.”

He recalled that in the history of nation, the judiciary, which is the bastion and the pillar of every democracy and the most sacred institution, has never been this pressurised and attacked.

The aide continued: “This government has shown in some cases, flagrant disobedience to court orders thereby undermining the powers of the court, and this kind of behavior is very dangerous to our democracy.

“We see you as our last hope to believe and have faith in the Nigeria of the future. In my travels outside the shores of Nigeria, I have come across several Nigerians who left the country because they have lost all hope in the leadership of the nation.

“The last four years have been hellish to the Nigerian youths, as millions of them have lost their jobs.”

Lamenting what he called a trying time for the country, Abbas explained that “it is only the honourable justices of the Appeal Court, set to listen to the presidential election petition, that can restore the confidence of the Nigerian youths.”

South Africa’s election news with a unique WhatsApp channel

By Dw.com

Sizwe Mpofu-Walsh is a social commentator, a rapper, a political analyst, an Oxford University Ph.D scholar and a new media innovator.

He’s also the founder of #SMWX – named after himself: Sizwe Mpofu-Walsh Xperience.

“And no, it’s not another WhatsApp group,” Sizwe says.

“We don’t add everyone in a conversation at once because if anyone has ever been in a WhatsApp group chat they know how irritating that can become.”

Instead people can contact the team directly and ask questions one-to-one, ensuring a more personal response. They can also watch the video content on YouTube and Twitter.

Sizwe seizes the opportunity in his intro video to play on the phrase: #OutWithTheOld and #InWithTheNew. The clever catch phrase doesn’t only apply to the changes youth want to see in the government which is being elected on May 8.

It also refers to how leaders could choose to engage with the youth, using new media to address a young audience.

The youth vote, Sizwe believes, is the vote of power – although many politicians have overlooked this market, disregarding millennials as apathetic.

Sizwe knows better.

Attracting millenials

The response to his platform, he says, “has been overwhelming, proving that the millennials are anything but apathetic.”

Reaching over 5,000 subscribers within the first two days of its launch on March 10, 2019, #SMWX now has over 11,000 followers. That’s a third of what prime time paid TV viewership attracts in South Africa.

As well as news updates and behind the scene footage of political events, subscribers can give feedback and also request Sizwe’s latest music video.

The rapper and scholar’s ambitious pursuits to combine his love for hip hop music and the fruits of his academic scholarship add a special edge and grit to his WhatsApp channel. In addition, his content promises to deliver all the comedy, tragedy, intrigue and drama of South Africa’s 2019 general elections.

On one episode of #SMWX, for example, Sizwe sits down with young political activist Naledi Chirwa in a colorful urban setting. She is a bold 25-year-old who speaks out against gender violence and how male dominance is causing black women to suffer unjustly. Her aim is to liberate the black woman from patriarchy.

In another, he talks to a local white actress who became controversial for attending an ANC rally and was afterwards called “the white cover girl for the ANC.”

Sizwe also puts together news broadcasts – such as a recent one focusing on shabby infrastructure brought to light when recent flooding further damaged roads and shacks in KwaZulu-Natal province. This has led to ongoing protests, with poor communities taking to the streets in their more affluent surroundings to highlight the inequalities in South African society.

How does a 30-year-old graduate fund such a big project?

Just how the #SMWX concept is pulled together is a question that seems to intrigue many of Sizwe’s Twitter followers – they bombard his feed with endless comments and questions like: ‘Who’s filming?’ ‘Is it just him?’ ‘But who’s doing the digital strategy? ‘This is exciting!’

Sizwe reveals that he does the channel in collaboration with a tech company called Thanga.

He was at school with Thanga’s CEO Roy Barole and the two friends have been chatting for years about doing something groundbreaking.

The May 8 elections provided the perfect opportunity to do just that.

In addition, the two have sought grant funding from the South Africa Media Innovation Program (SAMIP) which accelerates digital media initiatives in SA, especially those run by independent broadcasters such as #SMWX.

How exactly does #SMWX work?

Thanga uses artificial intelligence, instant messaging and chatbots to run the channel – while still maintaining human interaction with subscribers. This kind of technology is, as one Twitter follower comments, “the next level,” especially for a developing nation like South Africa.

With Thanga covering the technical aspects, Sizwe handles the editorial side of things, which gives him the freedom to focus on topics that affect and interest young people – topics such as racism, unemployment, land reform and access to education.

He’s helped by a team of six creatives to do this.

What will happen to #SMWX after the election?

Sizwe says there are plans to continue after the election, to expand the channel “to different places on the continent and in different languages in South Africa.”

One issue is how to make money from the platform and keep it going in the future without diluting the integrity and values of his brand, Sizwe says.

Do we smell a conflict of interest?

After the many years of ANC corruption and nepotism, South Africans are sensitive to any hint of favoritism or conflict of interest. And Sizwe’s dad is Dali Mpofu, a lawyer who happens to be the chairman of the Economic Freedom Fighters – currently the third biggest party in South Africa.

Sizwe is keen to stress that he shares no political affiliation with his dad’s party or any other party for that matter. He says his channel is neutral and he assures followers that he doesn’t have any political agenda other than to be a voice to a younger generation.

But, he admits, his dad – and his mother for that matter – influenced him in that they made it clear politics was important.

“My parents were always political and I grew up in a political household and so politics has always been a part of my life,” explained Siswe, who back in 2014 shot to fame as a rapper when he penned a political song addressed to then South African president, Jacob Zuma.

Growing up in a different generation, he says the situation is different now to when his dad entered politics during apartheid. The youth of today just want to see the government deliver on its promises.

”My hope is that this platform will act as a catalyst for other young people to build a network or discussion and debate using new technology to contest the mainstream media landscape in South Africa,” he said.

Failure to Win Over Youth Voters Could Put South Africa Economy At Risk

By Dailymaverick.co.za (Sharon Wood)

Some 8m youth voters are either unregistered or registered, but unlikely to vote and 700,000 voters are undecided, given their economic concerns. Corruption and expectations that the economy will not improve post-election are keeping the youth on the fence, while undecided voters cite unemployment as their biggest concern.

Political parties and South Africa have a major challenge as voters gear themselves up to go — or not to go — to the polls on Wednesday 8 May. It’s the perception that none of the political parties is seen be able to solve the most pressing issue voters perceive to be facing the country: unemployment.

That’s according to the latest Citizen Surveys analysis, in April 2019. The South African Citizens Survey took stock of voter sentiment and views after registration closed in April. It’s also in contrast to what parties have been saying in the lead-up to the election. Citizen Surveys’ strategic research director, Reza Omar, says “the political parties’ electoral messages have not always aligned with their political party positioning”.

It is this failure to win the hearts and minds of some eight million youth voters that could put the country at grave risk and put paid to hopes that post-elections some form of Ramaphoria could return as President Cyril Ramaphosa hits the road to fix the economy.

Citizen Surveys delved into youth voter statistics for Business Maverick and found that some 6.1 million of 11.7 million youth voters in South Africa aged between 18 and 29 are not registered. That’s a huge increase of 1.6 million on the 4.5 million voters who were not expected to register, according to earlier surveys.

Add to that the 1.7 million (or 31%) youth voters registered, but unlikely to turn up at the polls, and there could well be a hefty proportion of young voters, the citizens of the future, opting out of the electoral system on Wednesday. That is significant in an election where, as Omar points out, “the choices made by those who have yet to make up their minds [have] the potential to have a large impact on the years to come”.

The underlying concerns of the registered and unmotivated youth voters, of which 63% are unemployed, give some insight into why they are so unimpressed with the political parties that they do not want to vote. The survey found 64% of them believe the economy will not improve over the next 12 months and 87% believe that corruption is increasing.

It’s not just the youth voters who could have a determining influence on the economic climate post elections.

“The key to the electoral outcomes lies in the decision taken by every undecided voter,” says Omar. “The 3% (just under 700,000 people) truly undecided voters remain key to these elections. They are weighing up and considering their options before casting their ballots on 8 May, rather than opting to withdraw completely. How they choose to vote can influence the outcome of this year’s elections.”

She says another factor that could influence who the “undecideds” opt to vote for would be how the parties have managed to position themselves in relation to solving some of the country’s biggest problems, often done through their manifestos and election campaign messaging.

“Often, those voters who make up their minds at the last minute, look to parties that they believe can help solve the issues that most directly impact upon their lives,” adds Omar.

As voters head for the polls, it doesn’t look at all promising. The SA Citizens Survey shows optimism about the future of the economy stands at a miserable 47% compared with 61% when Ramaphosa became president at the beginning of 2018. The overall trend over the past two years shows a decline in perceptions of the economy improving.

According to the 2019 first quarter (January to March) survey results, just more than one in five citizens (21%) felt the economy had improved over the past 12 months.

The most pressing problems cited by voters as requiring proactive attention, in order of importance, were unemployment, crime, poverty and destitution, corruption, delivery of basic services and education.

The survey found 27.5 million people, almost three-quarters of South Africans, felt unemployment remained stubbornly high and considered it to be the biggest problem facing the country. This was followed by crime (34%), poverty/destitution (25%) and corruption (23%). Omar says that the delivery of basic services (housing, water supply, roads, electricity) and education continue to be burning issues, “as is evident by the increasing footprint of service delivery protests around the country”.

This is not a pretty picture for a post-election South Africa. Luckily for the ANC, it is all the leading political parties, including the EFF and DA, which are perceived not to be taking unemployment seriously.

It will come down to the ruling party, and thus the government, putting its money where its mouth is to seriously tackle what voters consider to be the number one economic problem in South Africa. Otherwise, the economy stands to be mired in its sub-2% growth zone for many years to come.

By the time the next elections come around, millions more voters could opt out of the electoral system. DM