By Abavo Kingsley, Benin

 

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Prof Eddie Erhiagbe making his presentation during the event

As the race to the 2019 general elections heats up, Nigerian youths have been charged to actively participate in politics instead of playing second fiddle and complaining.

Prof. Eddy Erhaigbe gave the charge on Tuesday in Benin, Edo State capital at the Town Hall meeting held for youths interested in politics in the Niger – Delta region.

The event was organized by the African Centre for Leadership, Strategy and Development (CLSD) in collaboration with the Ford Foundation.

Presenting the paper titled: ‘Youth Participation in Politics in Edo State: Issues, Challenges and Way Forward, Prof. Erhaigbe tasked the youths on what it entails to make the desired impacts.

Against the clamour for ‘Not too Young to Run’ among the youths, in the history of the Nigeria nation, they have not only participated in politics, but have actively been in governance, he pointed out.

Hence the real challenge for today’s youth borders on acquisition of skill, capacity and capability anchored on good education to enable them participate.

They must therefore go register, and collect their Permanent Voters’ Card so that they are not disenfranchised;

They should join political parties, be ready to work for the parties even as volunteers, and must be patient to get rewarded;

They must be actively involved in civic mobilization and sensitization of voters especially women and youths;

 

Workshop participants in a pose with the organisers and guest speaker

The youths must avoid all forms of inducement;

Also, they should not allow themselves to be used as election riggers, and tools for perpetrating violence;

Youths must be prepared too, to interrogate elected representatives but they must do it with tact for security reason.

But Erhaigbe would not exonerate them from the challenge of lack of good governance in Nigeria democracy as they are collaborators with unscrupulous politicians in the culture of impunity, he noted.

Which is one of the reasons the nation seems not to be making progress, he added.

Therefore, the youths must be properly educated, avoid being manipulated by politicians, and equip themselves with the skills required, Erhaigbe emphasised.

This is as he canvassed tolerance, and sacrifice by all stakeholders in the collective task to positively redefine the fortune of the Nigeria nation.