– Akwa Ibom, Enugu follow at the top
By Codratus Godson
Ebonyi State has emerged tops as the state with the highest number of youths in politics. Youth is defined by the Civil Society Organisation (CSO), “67 Million Initiative’’ that conducted the study as those between 18 and 45 years.
The report said Ebonyi came tops with 36 per cent, Akwa Ibom and Enugu with 34 per cent each, Bauchi came fourth with 32 per cent.
Others include Imo and Niger states with 29 per cent each, Nasarawa 26, Katsina, Kogi and Zamfara 25 each and Kaduna 24.
One of the conveners of the group, Mr Luqman Edu, disclosed at a news conference in Abuja on Friday: “Meanwhile, Yobe and Kwara states recorded the least youths participation with 5.67 per cent, followed by Ogun with 7.67 per cent, Osun, Jigawa, and Bayelsa had barely 9.67 per cent.
The convener said the report would be published regularly to show the performance of the Federal Government and states regarding youths in elected positions.
According to him, the aim is to promote youth participation in politics.
Edu said that the data revealed the low participation of youths in politics, a narrative the group was working to change.
Another Convener, Mr Mark Okoye, the Commissioner for Budget and Planning in Anambra, said that the “67 Million Initiative’’ was a coalition of Nigerians with the mandate to galvanise active youth to participate in politics and to support youth friendly policies.
Okoye said that the aim of the group was to also create a voice for the 67 million youths, irrespective of religion, political party, tribe or gender.
He said that the aim was to build and leverage on the bloc vote of youths for their interest to get many young people appointed into various positions in the states.
Mr Muhammed Abdulahi, Commissioner, Ministry of Budget and Planning, Kaduna State said that the group would begin its work at the grassroots.
Mr Asuquo Ekpenyong, another convener and Commissioner for Finance in Cross River, said the group believed in grassroots politics so it would support youths vying for positions at the grassroots.
Ekpenyong said that the group also believed in youths growing in politics, so the focus for now was not on the presidential race but the state Houses of Assembly and the National Assembly.
He said that way, youths would learn the tenets of running for elective offices up the ladder.