African Leaders Asked To Jumpstart Youth Involvement In Governance

AfricaLiberia’s Vice President, Joseph Boakai, has asked African leaders to jumpstart the involvement of the youth in governance in Africa.

He says the youths are eager and have what it takes to govern Africa efficiently.

Mr Boakai, who declared open the election of the first set of the Save Democracy Group, SDG-Africa Youth Parliament in Nigeria on Monday, said African leaders must stop the trend of irresponsible governance that forecloses opportunities for the growth of its youth.

Young And Capable

A former Speaker of the Nigerian House of Representatives, Ghali Na’Abba, told the gathering that Africa could no longer continue with the trend of recycling leaders when there were young and capable leaders set to tackle Africa’s numerous challenges.

Nearly 40 youths from seven African countries gathered in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital city, to build a network of African leaders under the SDG-Africa Youth Parliament.

This new network of African youth leaders is in support of the Liberian Vice President’s call for the grooming of the youths in Africa, saying that their involvement in politics only to bring older leaders into power, is no longer enough.

Africa needs transformation and change and the present practice of leaders’ recycling ‘must stop now’ for a virile future, the Director General, SDG-Africa, Ifedi Okwenna, stressed.

The principal leaders of the SDG-Africa Youth Parliament at the event elected on Monday, will form part of 120 youth parliamentarians to be spread across Africa.

They will have the task of making key contributions towards peace, progress and economic growth of Africa.

African nations are known to have old leaders of over 60 years, while most of them boast of over 60 per cent youth population.

Persons of less than 40 years are scarcely found in the cabinets of their leaders.

Group Decries Lack Of Structures Within Political Parties

Ghali-Na'abbaThe Save Democracy Group has decried the lack of structures and internal democracy among Nigeria’s political parties, after 17 years of unbroken democratic process.

According to the group, the lack of such structures has led to several acts of indiscipline among political parties with sad consequences for the practice of democracy in Nigeria since 1999.

They also argued that the current structures of the two major political parties, the ruling All Progressive Congress and the opposition Peoples Democratic Party could not support true democracy and rule of law, because their financial structures were built on individuals who dictate for the parties.

The group made the observation on Tuesday at a conference organised as part of activities to mark the 2016 Democracy Day in Abuja.

The conference x-rayed Nigeria’s democracy; the successes and challenges of sustaining democracy in the last 17 years.

First, the Governor of Bauchi State, Mr Muhammad Abubakar, said the last 16 years of democracy left little to be desired until the current administration came on board.

“If not for the intervention of the Almighty God and the good people of Nigeria who voted in Muhammadu Buhari, our nation would have collapsed,” he said.

Other speakers –the Deputy Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Moses Ekpo and the Acting National Council Chairman, Save Democracy Group, Ghali Na’abba – at the event decried the lack of structures among political parties, identifying it as a major obstacle to practicing true democracy in the last 17 years.

However, the guest lecturer, Professor Ibrahim Gambari, said the one year of President Buhari’s administration should call for a retrospect.

While appealing to the citizenry to support the government, he asked Nigerians to continue to question the government on the need to deliver on its campaign promises.

“President Buhari is fighting for us, the people, and we must support him so that we can take our country back from the looters.

“While doing the best they can, they have to explain to us why it is taking longer to do it is that was promised.

“Why is it that despite the overwhelming mandate for change, change is so slow?” he questioned.

Nigeria’s democracy is often referred to as nascent and fledgling, but many at the conference hall believed that 17 years were enough for the citizens to begin to feel the impact of democracy.