February 15, 2019
2019 ELECTIONS: UNESCO YOUTH CIVIC ENGAGEMENT INITIATIVE RELEASES A STUDY THAT PREDICTS THE CHANCES OF PEACEFUL ELECTION ANDACTIVE POLITICAL PARTICIPATION IN NIGERIA
As the 2019 Nigerian elections kick off soonest, the Nigeria’s Country team for the UNESCO Youth Civic Engagement Initiative has launched a research into the role of youth-led organisations in making sure there is peaceful election and maximum political participation of young people in selected Nigerian states.
The research which started some months ago took its population from five south-west states in Nigeria and set out to investigate the voting behaviour of young people in the country.
Through the responses of the respondents, it has been found out that youth-led organisations have a large influence on young people and their political behaviour as they have attended one or more political seminars/events in the recent times, confirmed that they were influenced by these youth-led organisations and were twice as likely as their counterparts who have not been politically active.
However, this evolving study on the role of about 166 youth-led organisations in peace building and political participation of young people in Nigeria has revealed that despite that many of the respondents had participated in one youth organisation or the other; the effect of such engagements are yet reflective on their political behaviour with respect to variables of political participation measured.
In addition, the study reveals that while over 80% of the respondents hold the perception to vote whether one believes their vote will count or not; only about 68% of the respondents were reported to currently have a permanent voters cards and about 50% had previously voted in an election while about 17% still favoured the idea of God-fatherism (which has been researched as the basis for political violence) and another little percentage still believe that political unrest/violence cannot be prevented.
Interestingly, after many years of campaign on gender equality and political sensitization in Nigeria, this study further reveals that for every three (3) males who are politically active, only one (1) female feels the same.
Some of the identified challenges attributed to this poor political participation and voting consciousness include; the belief that elections can never be fair, mistrust for political leaders, lack of proximity to polling unit where a young person registered, ASUU strike, direction and indifference of young people, among many others.
Meanwhile, while addressing the question on the most influence on their choice of a political candidate; more than half of the respondents reported that the civic organisation s shape their opinion first, followed closely by the social media.
Hence, the results of this investigation especially to promote better political participation ahead of the 2019 election, have then pushed for a call on all youth-led organisations in the country who reportedly have governance, political participation and active citizenship as a thematic area; to increase sensitization campaigns on the possibility of peaceful elections and active political participation in Nigeria.