• Monday, April 22, 2024
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Why Nigeria’s democracy can’t succeed without youth participation – British High Commission

Why Nigeria’s democracy can’t succeed without youth participation – British High Commission

Magadalene Lagu, Head of Governance and Stability, British High Commission, has said that it was necessary for the Nigerian government to intensify its effort of encouraging more youths to participate in the democratic process because the country’s young population was crucial towards sustenance of democracy.

Lagu further stated that the Nigerian government must engage youths in accountability processes in governance in the country to restore confidence in the electoral process.

The diplomat made the call during the Lagos Digital Democracy Fair organised by Yiaga Africa in partnership with CivicHive, and supported by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office.

Lagu stressed that Nigeria, with most of its population on the young side, needed to be motivated, adding that government accountability was crucial to engaging them.

Speaking about the event, the UK official commended Yiaga Africa and CivicHive for promoting inclusion of people in Nigeria’s democratic processes.

“It’s amazing to see the profound work digital innovators and change makers are doing.

“The most critical thing is that we see a lot of activities in the digital space and now we need to look at how we can get more young people to engage and transfer their work from digital platforms to the democratic arena.

“It is also important to engage with them on different levels of accountability and governance.

“Participation of a lot of youths in the general elections last year is a really good example of progress.

“We are beginning to witness the influence of technology and social media in really transforming political participation,” she said.

Also speaking, Cynthia Mbamalu, director of Programmes, Yiaga Africa, a nongovernmental organisation, said that the digital fair was an initiative under Yiaga’s ‘TurnUp Democracy project.’

She said that it was designed to provide a platform to showcase civic tech innovations that promote education, demand for accountability and civic engagement.

She said: “Today, we have over 12 innovators who have tech solutions revolving around curbing misinformation, disinformation, fake news and also protecting human rights or holding the government accountable for their promises.

“So, most of the tools showcased today are civic tech solutions that can promote civic education at the local, state and federal level.

“Most of the innovators are from the southwestern part of Nigeria, but subsequently we will scale it to the national level,” Mbamalu said.

On innovations, Peculiar Inana, an official of Devatop Centre for African Development, said the centre had created an app called Talkam, to address gender-based violence, human rights abuses and trafficking among others.

Inana said the app would also help individuals perform various functions, including connecting and networking with human rights advocates, tracking cases and enrolling in online human rights courses.

“During the pilot phase of Talkam App, between 2019 and 2023, we received over 245 cases from Nigeria and three African countries and successfully addressed 50 of these cases,” she said.

Another innovator, Ruhamah Ifere, Project Manager and Team Lead of Truly Verify Africa, said the firm’s app was developed to help young people tackle misinformation and disinformation propaganda in Nigeria.

“With our solution, we are poised to empower them with media literacy skills and also create a platform where young people can effectively fact-check news in real time.

“It will help them know real and fake news and also dissuade them from spreading hate and inciting news,” she said.