By TechnocratMedia, Abuja
Ahead of the 2023 general elections, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Yiaga Africa and Channels Television have announced their partnership to host citizen dialogues and election debates to mobilise youths.
A statement released by the organisations said the project is a televised programme series designed to provide a public platform for citizens to conduct political debates and focused dialogues to promote electoral awareness of the upcoming 2023 general elections.
According to the statement, the television series will comprise citizen dialogues with youth, election experts, development experts, and other influential voices. These series are aimed at increasing electoral awareness and kindling engagement on social, economic, and development-related topics for Nigeria to consider in the 2023 General Elections and beyond.
“Additionally, there will be debates and town halls with aspiring presidential candidates and political party leaders who will highlight and discuss their strategies and party manifestos. The key focus on these will be youth empowerment and women’s empowerment as they relate to other critical development issues in Nigeria, such as inclusive economic growth, peace and security, and climate change. The debates will be informed by current challenges and opportunities while being guided by questions and topics raised by the Nigerian youth.
“The television series will create opportunities for engaging in a two-way dialogue between citizens and relevant stakeholders to increase citizens’ participation in the electoral process, rather than the traditional one-way communication of information delivery on election processes. This will be critical in reversing the decline in voter turnout which is mainly attributed to voter apathy and a dearth of information on the political and electoral processes in the country.” the statement reads.
Speaking about the dialogue, Mr. Mohamed Yahya, UNDP Nigeria Resident Representative, noted that “This series is about highlighting the key issues confronting Nigerians with the upcoming General Elections. The electorate needs to be fully informed about the process and be able to voice their concerns. By being active participants in the electoral process, they can hold their intended representatives accountable to deliver on their promises.”
“Providing citizens with the information required to make informed choices and giving them a platform to market their ideas, will alternatively have to inspire them to turn out and vote,” said Samson Itodo, Executive Director of Yiaga Africa.
“We are pleased as always to be the medium through which citizens of the country would engage with political office seekers and by so doing play a role in deepening the electoral process in Nigeria,” said Dr. John Momoh, Chairman/CEO of the Channels Media Group.
According to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), 71 per cent of the 11 million new voters registered in the last registration exercise are of youth ages between the ages of 18 and 35. This makes the youth a critical target demographic to engage with ahead of the election to reduce political apathy, improve voter turnout and rebuild trust in the electoral process.
Although young people between the ages of 18-35 make up 51.1% of registered voters, only 28% of these voters voted in the 2019 elections. This missed opportunity for young people to shape governance in Nigeria can be reversed with a political mobilization strategy premised on innovation, inclusion, collaboration, consistency, and context-specific interventions. These dialogues and television series are aimed at building trust and inspiring participation among the youth and provide accurate information on voter registration and other critical thematic election topics in the 2023 General Elections.