This essay will discuss the impacts of youth participation in Nigerian politics; including some of the challenges facing youth participation in politics in Nigeria and how to address them. Youth participation in politics is a topic that has gained significant attention in Nigeria in recent years. The youth population in Nigeria constitutes a significant portion of the country’s population and is therefore a critical group that cannot be ignored when discussing politics.
The youth are often considered the future of any society, and their involvement in politics can have a significant impact on the development of the country. In Nigeria, there are several challenges that hinder the participation of young people in politics, ranging from inadequate access to education and training to discrimination and marginalization. But first, lets start with the positive impacts of youth participation in Nigerian politics.
Youth participation in politics can bring fresh perspectives and ideas to the political landscape. The youth are often more innovative and creative than older generations, and their involvement in politics can bring new ideas to the table. They are more open to change and more willing to challenge the status quo, which can lead to positive changes in the political system.
For instance, the Not Too Young To Run Act, which was signed into law in 2018, lowered the age limit for political office in Nigeria, making it possible for young people to run for political office. This law was a product of the advocacy efforts of youth groups in the country.
Youth participation in politics can lead to increased political engagement and awareness among young people. When young people see their peers actively involved in politics, it can inspire them to take an interest in politics and become more politically engaged.
This increased engagement can lead to a more informed and politically active youth population, which can result in a more politically conscious society. This increased political awareness can help to hold politicians accountable for their actions and policies, leading to more transparent and effective governance.
Youth participation in politics can help to address the issue of youth unemployment in the country. Nigeria has one of the highest youth unemployment rates in the world, and youth participation in politics can help to address this issue. When young people are involved in politics, they can advocate for policies that promote job creation and youth empowerment.
This can lead to the creation of more job opportunities for young people, reducing the unemployment rate in the country. Additionally, when young people are involved in politics, they can use their positions to create opportunities for other young people, such as through mentorship and internship programs.
Youth participation in politics can lead to increased representation of young people in government. When young people are involved in politics, they can advocate for policies that benefit young people and represent the interests of young people in government.
This can lead to more youth-friendly policies and programs being implemented, such as policies that address the issue of youth unemployment or programs that promote youth entrepreneurship. This increased representation can also lead to more diverse perspectives being represented in government, which can lead to better decision-making and governance.
Youth participation in politics can help to promote peace and stability in the country. Nigeria has been plagued by political violence and instability for many years, and youth participation in politics can help to address this issue.
When young people are involved in politics, they can advocate for peaceful and non-violent means of resolving political disputes. They can also promote the idea of political tolerance and respect for diversity, which can help to reduce tensions and promote social cohesion in the country.
Youth participation in politics is essential for the development of any nation, as young people represent a significant portion of the population and have fresh ideas and innovative solutions to the problems faced by their communities. Here are some of the major challenges facing youth participation in Nigerian politics.
One of the major challenges to youth participation in politics in Nigeria is the lack of access to education and training. Many young people in Nigeria do not have access to quality education, which limits their understanding of political processes and structures. This lack of education means that young people are unable to engage in informed and critical analysis of policies and programs, which can affect their ability to participate meaningfully in the political process.
Additionally, young people in Nigeria lack training in leadership, communication, and negotiation skills, which are essential for effective participation in politics. Without access to education and training, young people in Nigeria are unable to make informed decisions and participate effectively in the political process.
, the high cost of participating in politics is another challenge faced by young people in Nigeria. Politics in Nigeria is expensive, and young people do not have the financial resources required to run for office or participate in the political process. Political campaigns require a significant amount of money to fund, and without access to these resources, young people are unable to compete with older and more established politicians.
Additionally, the cost of participating in political rallies and events, such as transportation and accommodation, can be prohibitive, making it difficult for young people to participate in political activities even within their constituencies.
Discrimination and marginalization are significant challenges faced by young people in Nigeria. Discrimination based on age, gender, religion, and ethnicity limits the opportunities available to young people in politics. Older politicians and party members often view young people as inexperienced and lacking the necessary skills to participate in politics or run political campaigns, which can lead to marginalization and exclusion from the political process or party primaries.
Additionally, women and young people from marginalized communities face significant discrimination, which limits their ability to participate in politics. This discrimination makes it difficult for young people to gain access to leadership positions and participate meaningfully in the political process.
Fourthly, the lack of accountability and transparency in the political process is a significant challenge to youth participation in Nigerian politics. Corruption is widespread in Nigeria, and politicians are often seen as self-serving and corrupt.
The lack of accountability and transparency in the political process erodes the trust of young people in the political system and discourages their participation in politics. Young people need to see that their participation in politics can lead to positive change and that their efforts will be rewarded, but this is not always the case in Nigeria.
The lack of political will to engage young people in politics is a significant challenge. Many politicians in Nigeria pay lip service to youth participation in politics, but in reality, they do not take concrete steps to encourage and support young people’s involvement.
The absence of affirmative action policies to promote young people’s participation in politics limits their access to leadership positions, and there are few opportunities for young people to be mentored by older politicians. The lack of political will to engage young people in politics is a significant challenge that needs to be addressed if Nigeria is to harness the potential of its youth for national development.
The challenges facing youth participation in politics in Nigeria are many and varied. They include a lack of access to education and training, high cost of participating in politics, discrimination and marginalization, lack of transparency in the political process, and a lack of political will to engage young people in politics.
Addressing the challenges to youth participation in Nigerian politics requires a multi-faceted approach. It involves increasing awareness and education about politics, reducing the cost of politics, promoting inclusivity in political parties, and providing adequate security during political events.
These challenges will require a concerted effort by all stakeholders, including political leaders, civil society organizations, and the government. By addressing these challenges, we can create a more vibrant democracy that represents the interests of all Nigerians, including the youth.