Your Right to Vote – All Africa Youths Platform to Nigerian Youths

By Azugbene Solomon

One of the most critical ways that individuals can influence governmental decision-making is through voting.

Voting is a formal expression of preference for a candidate for office or for a proposed resolution of an issue. Voting generally takes place in the context of a large-scale national or regional election, however, local and small-scale community elections can be just as critical to individual participation in government.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted unanimously by the United Nations General Assembly in 1948, recognizes the integral role that transparent and open elections play in ensuring the fundamental right to participatory government. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Article 21 states:

  • Everyone has the right to take part in the government of his/her country, directly or through freely chosen representatives.
  • Everyone has the right of equal access to public service in his country.
  • The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government; this will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret ballot or by equivalent free voting procedures.

Your Rights is at Stake
Article 25 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) is the key international guarantee of voting rights and free elections, but its provisions are strongly related to other articles, specifically Article 2 (see below). The ICCPR also includes guarantees of freedom of expression (Article 19), assembly (Article 21), association (Article 22), and non-discrimination (Article

AFRICAN UNION (Formerly Organization of African Unity)
African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (1981)
Article 13(1) of the African (Banjul) Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights provides that every citizen shall have the right to participate freely in their government.

Protection and Service Agencies
Free and fair elections play a critical role in ensuring voting rights. International and regional governmental groups, along with non-governmental organizations, work around the world to observe and monitor human rights related to elections processes. Several international and regional documents have outlined international standards for elections.

According to the United Nations committee, Article 25’s mandates should be considered in light of the following:

  • Protecting the right of every citizen to take part in the conduct of public affairs, the right to vote and to be elected.
  • The right of peoples to self-determination.
  • Protecting the rights of every citizen.
  • Any restrictions on voting should be based on objective and reasonable criteria
  • The constitution and other laws should establish the allocation of powers and the means by which individual citizensexercise the right to participate in the conduct of public affairs.
  • Political participation is supported by ensuring freedom of expression, assembly and association.
  • The right to vote in elections and referenda must be established by law.
  • Positive measures should be taken by the government to overcome specific difficulties, such as illiteracy, language barriers, poverty, or impediments to freedom of movement that prevent persons entitled to vote from exercising their rights effectively.
  • Persons entitled to vote have a free choice of candidates.
  • Conditions relating to nomination dates, fees or deposits should be reasonable and not discriminatory.
  • Elections must be conducted fairly and freely on a periodic basis within a framework of laws guaranteeing the effective exercise of voting rights.

The United Nations helps to conducts elections and monitors activities around the world, primarily in fragile democracies of in post-war and nation-building contexts. For example, the UN and OSCE were heavily involved in election monitoring in Bosnia and Herzegovina, where they provided training for election monitors and provided police support on election day. UN monitoring activities depend on the needs evident in the particular national context, but can include all of the following:

  • the pre-election preparations and campaign period
  • the electoral administration
  • the registration
  • voter education and information
  • the media
  • the vote
  • the count
  • the results and follow-up.

The Rights to Vote: University of Minnesota Human Rights Center


Nigeria: Youth group seeks end to electoral illiteracy

By Chuks Nwanne

In a bid to ensure peaceful, free and fair election as well as curb electoral malpractices in the forthcoming elections, the Office of the Youth Organising Secretary of the Lagos state All Progressive Congress, APC, has put together a one-day election-enlightenment programme tagged Election Tips.

The admission-free event, which is slated to hold on Monday, February, 2019, at the APC Secretariat, Acme Road, Ogba, Lagos, at 10 a.m, according to the organisers, is focused on mobilising and educating young people to achieve peaceful election, while also sensitising them to take a leap now and take the lead tomorrow, so as to promote youth empowerment and political participation.

Speaking on the event, the Youth Organising Secretary of the Lagos APC and Convener of frontline socio-political group ‘Our Lagos, Your Lagos’, Idris Aregbe, disclosed that the programme would feature party stalwarts, party faithful, youth ambassadors, A-list actors, actresses, artistes, comedians, youth influencers and other important personalities – all of whom would be on ground to impart positively on the youths ahead of the general elections.

“We are very close to elections right now, which is scheduled for February 16 and March 2, so we are trying to do a lot of reach outs telling the people that they need to be part of the process and how.” Aregbe said.

“So we would be educating them on elections principles and for them to shun violence and also on the need for our party to win the elections.“So it specifically designed for the elections – how to vote, what and what to do, expectations as a young person on the Election Day and the principle of the elections, because we know that every election year, whether we like it or not, INEC comes up with additional structures. Like now we are going to be voting with index finger and so we would push out such message to our people.”

“It is an election year and we know that we need to do a lot to mobilise our people and educate them for a peaceful election and that is what my office has been doing to ensure that the youth are carried along and to bring them together for progress.” He added.He therefore urged all and sundry to keep the belief of an effective electoral system alive by coming out en-masse to exercise their franchise in order to hold in high-hopes the dreams of a better Nigeria.”

Source Guardian Nigeria

Sowore Urged Nigerian Youths to Drop Their Devices

Young Nigerians have been asked to go beyond social media when it comes to holding people in positions of authority accountable.

The call was made by Omoyele Sowore, presidential candidate of the African Action Congress (AAC), when he spoke on the ‘Holding Government Accountable’ panel at the Social Media Week which held at the Landmark Event Centre, Victoria Island, Lagos.

He urged the youth to drop their devices and get more involved in national affairs.

Sowore, who is also the founder of the Citizen Journalism platform, Sahara Reporters, said: “I can tell you that nothing has worked as much as social media in Nigeria in terms of holding government accountable, because it is beyond their reach; it is accountability beyond borders. However, I have to say that it has its own downside to the extent that if you think social media has all the power and you don’t do what is necessary next, government starts to adjust to social media.

“So, you must move from revealing everything and holding them accountable, and for you to have the best result, you have to drop your devices and get on your feet. That was why social media was powerful in Egypt, but until the Egyptians dropped their devices, they couldn’t have the Arab Spring.”

Sowore called on young people to work hard by ensuring that they get their Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs), vote and monitor the electoral process to ensure that there is an “Equitorial Spring” in Nigeria that will usher in a new era of politics in Sub-Saharan Africa.

He encouraged “a new generation of Nigerians who are children of democracy”.

“They are the secret to defeating the old brigade. The thing that happened with voters is a planned thing; they know there are 22 million students who are voters, and they had to keep you out of your schools, because they know that you are the angriest Nigerians and you are about to punish them with your votes. Regardless of what they have done to you, please find your way to your polling unit and vote these guys out,” he added.

“I can tell you that nothing has worked as much as social media in Nigeria in terms of holding government accountable, because it is beyond their reach; it is accountability beyond borders. However, I have to say that it has its own downside to the extent that if you think social media has all the power and you don’t do what is necessary next, government starts to adjust to social media. So, you must move from revealing everything and holding them accountable, and for you to have the best result, you have to drop your devices and get on your feet. That was why social media was powerful in Egypt, but until the Egyptians dropped their devices, they couldn’t have the Arab Spring,” Sowore said.

Source Saharareporters

1,515 young Nigerians to contest for Senate, Reps elections —report

No fewer than 1,515 young Nigerians will contest for the Senate and House of Representatives positions at the forthcoming general elections.

Mr Ezenwa Nwagwu, board member, YIAGA AFRICA made this known at the Public Presentation of a report on Youth Candidacy in the elections compiled by YIAGA AFRICA.

Nwagwu said he got the figure from the Independent National Electoral Commission.

“The release of the list of candidates by the Independent National Electoral Commission, for elections into the National Assembly and other offices provides invaluable data.

“This afforded YIAGA AFRICA the opportunity to carry out a comprehensive analysis of youths candidacy in the 2019 general elections in Nigeria.

“The participation of youths in the electoral process will enable them to effectively enforce their civic rights, only when their political aspirations are firmly protected in the constitution,“ he said.

According to him, the number represents 27.4 per cent for House of Representatives and 13.5 per cent for the Senate.

The number he said was against 18 per cent recorded for the House of Representatives and 10 per cent for the Senate in the 2015 general elections.

He attributed the increased participation of youths to the Not-Too-Young-To-Run law.

The board member also said that of the 1,904 senatorial candidates, 253 were youths while 1,262 youths were among 4,680 candidates that would contest for the House of Representatives.

He said that the North-West had the highest number of youths contesting for the House of Representatives and the Senate.

Nwagwu said that the observable trends in the participation of youth candidates between 18 years and 35 years in the 2019 general elections were in two broad segments.

He said that the first segment was on youth participation in the National Assembly, and Presidential elections while the second was on the Governorship and State Houses of Assembly elections.

Ms Cynthia Mbamalu, Programme Manager, YIAGA AFRICA said that 10 candidates or 14 per cent of the presidential candidates were aged between 35 and 40.

Mbamalu said that 15 per cent of political parties fielded candidates for the office of vice presidential, who were aged between 35 and 40.

She said that the number of young female candidates in the 2015 general elections was below 20 per cent and was even lower in the 2019 general elections.

Source Punch Nigeria

Nigeria: Youth Group optimistic President Buhari will be re-elected

The Committee of Youth on Mobilisation and Sensitisation (CYMS), an NGO, has expressed optimism that President Muhammadu Buhari would be re-elected on Feb. 16.

The Chairman, CYMS Board of Trustees, Mr Festus Uchenna, expressed this view when the committee issued Certificate of Recognition to Sen. Abubakar Sodangi, as the CYMS Patron, Nasarawa State Chapter, on Wednesday in Abuja.

Uchenna said that he believed that Nigerian youths would re-elect Buhari for his personal qualities, which include integrity and his administration’s policies that were in favour of the future generation of the country.

He advised all Nigerian youths to support the re-election of Buhari, saying they should cast their vote for Buhari to enable him to consolidate on his achievements.

“In leadership we shouldn’t be thinking of money all the time. We need to change the narrative.

“Do not vote for money, because after elections there will still be life.

“Buhari is a man of integrity, a man that wants to serve and a man with the mind set of the People.

“Before now, people were moving around begging for money, but now people are beginning to build fish ponds, going into farming, they are beginning to be serious and change their mindset because there is no more illegal money to be shared,” he said.

The Director-General, CYMS, Mr Obinna Nwaka, said that following the anti-corruption crusade of Buhari, transparency has become the watchword of Nigerians.

Nwaka urged the Nasarawa chapter of the committee not to relent in mobilising support in the state for the re-election of Buhari

“Do not think that you can go and relax because Nasarawa state is being controlled by the ruling party. You need to put in all the required strategies.

“Go to the grassroots, to the wards, local governments and every part of the state to seek support of the people for Buhari.”

He said that nomination of Sodangi was approved by the Committee’s National Executive Council, based on his history and his antecedents.

Sodangi, former Senator for the Nasarawa West constituency, commended the committee for counting him worthy to be the Nasarawa State chapter’s grand patron.

He pledged to mobilise Nasarawa youths to work for re-election of Buhari.

“In Nasarawa many youths have keyed into the call by the President to go back to farm.

“We have the land, the water and the dam. In Nasarawa we have where rice is being cultivated.

“We have seen it this year that youths have become very rich, not idle, because they are committed to the policies of President Buhari.”

He noted that with Buhari policies, untapped resources in the state would be soon harnessed.

He added that Buhari has achieved three key programmes, fight against corruption, security and and economic development.

Mr Kelechi Ugwumba, CYMS’ Director, Contact and Mobilisation expressed confidence in the ability of Sodangi to mobilise Nasarawa youths.

Source Pulse NG

Nigeria Politics: My minister of youth is going to be less than 30 years – Atiku

By Adeola Opeyemi

The PDP presidential aspirant, Atiku Abubakar, has pledged to engage more youths in his government if he is voted into power in 2019.

Atiku said 40 percent of his appointments will be allocated to Nigerian youths.

He further promised to appoint a minister of youth that is younger than 30 years of age.

The presidential aspirant of the Peoples Democratic Power (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, has promised to engage Nigerian youths in his government if elected in the 2019 election.

Atiku promised to give 4o per cent of the slot in his government to youths and appoint a minister who is 30 years of age or below.

The PDP presidential aspirant made the pledge at a Town Hall meeting with youth in Lagos on Monday, December 17, Premium Times reports.

“I have pledged that 40 percent of my government will be youth. Let me assure you that it’s a promise and I won’t break it. My minister of youth is going to be less than 30 years.

“President Buhari has confessed that the economy is in bad shape under his watch and it is clear that the President is short of ideas about how to fix the broken economy. There is no single economist in his administration and that is why we are in this mess.

“I know how to fix a broken economy. I know how to create jobs and I also know how to empower the youth. That’s the reason I’m here today – to give hope to you the youth that together we can get Nigeria working again.”

Meanwhile, earlier reported that Atiku Abubakar wished President Muhammadu Buhari a happy birthday as the latter celebrates his 76th birthday.

In a tweet on Monday, December 17, the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party wished Buhari long life

He acknowledged that although they are set to battle it out at the presidential polls soon, he still believes that they are brothers from the same country.

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