Quest for good governance at the three tiers of government in Nigeria is compelling young people to be proactive in their agitations for equity and fairness in the polity, which are some of the major ingredients for sustainable democratic system anywhere in the world. #NotTooYoungToRun, a recently launched campaign, an initiative of Youth Initiative for Advocacy Growth & Advancement (YIAGA) is currently taking the lead in correcting the several archaic notions and popular misconceptions that young persons in Nigeria are unfit to hold political leadership positions, and as such they are not to be given important in space in the corridor of power.
Speaking at Public Debate held in Abuja yesterday, Samson Itodo, Coordinator YIAGA and the initiator of #NotTooYoungToRun said the campaign is aimed at ensuring that young persons in Nigeria (above 18 and below age 35) be given opportunities to run for elective positions in government through #NotTooYoungToRun Bill. Itodo added that the Public Debate is targeted at stimulating public discourse on the rational and general principles of the Bill. “The debate will enlighten citizens on the role of the legislature, constitution review process and strategies for engaging state and federal legislators” he explained.
Honourable Tony Nwulu, Representing Oshodi-Isolo Federal Constituency 2 of Lagos State, who has also been the major sponsor of the #NotTooYoungToRun Bill which according to him has just passed the second reading in the hollow chamber of 8th National Assembly said “Young people in Nigeria have great potentials to be great leaders just like their counterparts in developed nations but it is quite disheartening that plethora of challenges are militating against them, the biggest challenge being lack of legal framework and constitutional backing for them to run for elective offices before age 35.
“It contravenes the fundamental human rights that any young person above 18 who has the right to vote, right to get married and be responsible for his or her family to be asked to wait for another twelve or fifteen years before he could be allowed to run for elective positions” he posited
Nwulu added that there is urgent need for constitutional review to ensure that these young intelligent Nigerians are given their space to run for political offices come 2019 and if possible before then. He further added that through this campaign young Nigerians are giving the older generation leaders a lifeline.
Jude Iloh, Country Representative, Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA) who also gave an insightful speech at the event said older generation of leaders in Nigeria have completely made a mess of the government. “Old politicians in Nigeria only get energised when it comes to the issues of partisan politics, doing everything within their powers to overshadow the efforts of younger political aspirants contesting for political offices, thereby preventing them from making meaningful contributions at the decision making levels and government policies.” Ilo further encouraged the Nigerian youths not to relent in their pursuits in getting #NotTooYoungToRun Bill passed into law.
The Stop Don’t Drop group in collaboration with Chanja Datti seeks partnership with Connected Development (CODE) in creating awareness on Environment sustainability and anti-littering stance.
Speaking at an interactive section held at CODE office in Abuja, the convener/Initiator of “Stop Don’t Drop”, Adiza Ujo said a research was conducted shortly after the fuel scarcity hit Nigeria.
She said the outcome of the research showed that many car owners who queued to buy fuel ended up buying eatables after which they littered the environment with wraps of whatever was bought.
“We found out the long queues at the filling Station led to more dirty in our environment, because while they wait for their turns to buy fuel the just buy “Gala and Lacaserra” drinks after which they just throw on the floor,”she said.
Ms Ujo noted that it is therefore necessary to enlighten the public on the use of waste bin or trash bags to deposit waste.
She further added that aside from depositing refuse dumps, such waste could be recycled into other products.
Also speaking,the Managing Director of Chanjia Datti, Ms Funto Boroffice said its not just about throwing dirty into trash bags, adding that when a trash bag could be returned back to the company for recycling.
She said it’s a way of also keeping the environment clean and to also create avenues for cab drivers to earn more income regardless of how little it may be
“Our focus are cab drivers and Keke riders, we intend to give them bag so that there passengers can throw their dirty in it,
“Once this is done the cab drivers are meant to bring back the bags to us with the dirty in it, after which they could either get recharge cards or a liter of fuel”, she said.
She said that about 50,000 or more stickers will also be launched, adding that the stickers will be at the bumper of every cabs and keke in Abuja environs.
“The essence of this stickers is to help car owners stop littering the road with dirty, by throwing it out the window while driving,
“I am certain that when the car behind the one that has a sticker that says “Stop don’t Drop” , he or she will think twice and not throw the dirty outside the window, “she said.
The Chief Executive of CODE, Hamzat Lawal, commended the group for this initiative, adding that CODE will assist in any possible way it can.
“I think it’s important that it is also treated at the senate level, whereby a bill is passed on that effect alongside policies,”he said.
He added that CODE will ensure the media helps broadcasts this initiative so that the information can get to the public as wide and fast as possible
“ We would try and engage BBC Hausa to help amplifier alongside Wazobia fm, we could also make any of the Host on Wazobia fm an ambassador,”he said.
The monitoring and Evaluation manager of CODE, Oladotun Babayemi, suggested that everybody not just car owners or Keke riders should also engage themselves in recycling.
” i would advice you start publicity through congregation, it would help a lot in sending the message across,”he said.
Chanja Datti is committed to transforming waste to value with an increasing demand to rid the environment of non-biodegradable waste materials.
Stop don’t Drop seeks a green trash free environment.
A Public Debate with Citizens on Independent Candidacy and Age Reduction in Nigeria’s Constitution.
The dilemma of youths being given the opportunity to run has been disturbing overtime, as such it is high time this question gets a concrete response with strong constitutional backing.
The timing for the “Not Too Young To Run Campaign” came just in time considering the state of the country at hand, the maturity of the democracy and the global context when it comes to sustainable development.
It is noteworthy of the fact that the youths in Nigeria are the most marginalized and segregated subgroup and on some certain set of people in the country irrespective of region, religion or tribal origin.
On Wednesday, June 29, 2016 at Barcelona Hotel, Blantyre Street, Wuse II, Abuja by 9:00 am stakeholders would rally around mobilizing and engaging citizens to air their opinions, both for or against the bill which has passed second reading at the house of representatives which is now with the Committee on Constitution Review.
In Nigeria with a vast population of over 60% youth, one tends to find out that the most popular duty of a young Nigerian is to vote while the older ones engage, advocate and of course contest and compete for political positions. Other activities of Nigerian youth are seen around offices as Personal Assistant (PA) to political office holders.
Civil Society Groups canvassing for the Not Too Young To Run Bill at the National Assembly, perceives that this marginalization process has grown gradually, as it can be regarded as deadly as cancer which does not kill immediately, but moves like a slow poison.
Inclusion and participation are twin principles that underpin constitutional democracy. These principles indicate democratic development in any given society. In other words, the vitality of democracy is hinged on the level and quality of citizens’ participation in the process. To this end, democratic processes or systems must be open and easily accessible for citizens to participate. Political alienation and marginalization is not only anti-democratic but a recipe for political instability.
If passed into law, the Bill will seek to alter the Section 65, 106, 131, 177 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) to reduce the age qualification for the office of the President from 40 years to 30 years; Governor 35 to 30, Senate 35 to 30, House of Representatives 30 to 25 and State House of Assembly 30 to 25 respectively; as well as mainstream independent candidacy into Nigeria’s electoral process.
Fundamentally, the debate will seek to answer the following questions:
1) Liberalizing the age requirements for contesting elections in Nigeria: A yes or No?
2) Getting Independent candidates on the ballot in Nigeria: Hope or doom for the electoral system?
The public debate for #NotTooYoungToRun Bill will assemble seasoned panelists who will provide supporting and opposing arguments for the Bill. In addition, it will present two contrasting arguments for the Bill which is poised to decide the future of the country.
The Following Organizations are signing onto the Statement:
Youth Initiative Advocacy Growth & Advancement (YIAGA), Connected Development [CODE], Youngstars Foundation, Orodata, Mind Capital, African Youth Initiative on Population, Health & Development (AfrYPod), The Election Network, Social Good Nigeria, League of Progressive Ambassadors of Nigeria (LEPAN), Project Pink Blue, TechHerNG
Official Media Partners: Amplified Radio, Order Paper and Media Insight
On a fateful Monday evening, as I discussed with my sister on certain plans I had made for myself for summer 2016 amongst which I mentioned an interest in working in any organization to gain an experience and also experience the real world. With excitement she exclaimed, “Yes!! I know an organization you would love to work in” and with my funny facial expression I replied, “ how serious can you be? I haven’t even enjoyed my summer yet and you want me to start working? I was just joking oo!”
Little did I know she went out of her way to reach out to the organization for a placement interview and at night she sent me a message “we have a place to go on Friday at 11am, but before then make sure you read on Connected Development [CODE] and have an idea about it.” I did exactly what she said and I found myself constantly visiting the organization’s website even when I want to check up something on the Internet, I kept checking on their website as well.
As Friday came, the clock kept ticking as my heart kept panting hard. I began to panic while different thoughts were flying into my head “what if they don’t accept you? Why can’t you just say you are not interested again? Is it really necessary to gain the experience? Would you be welcomed into the organization?”
While all these thoughts were traveling in my head, I found myself in front of a sign post reading “Connected Development, Empowering Marginalized Communities”.
Then I knew the work experience was real. I shook off the fear in me, and walked in. Immediately I opened the door I saw about six people looking at me and they took their faces off while they all worked on their laptops.
Walking further, I saw a “young chap” in an Alhaji’s cap on, I was wondering ‘ Is this the owner of the organization? Or is this his friend? All these assumptions were rectified when he introduced himself as Hamzat Lawal, the Chief Executive of CODE. He asked what I knew about CODE, and I poured all I read from the website. He cracked jokes and I laughed, it served as a piece of relief for me while I was expecting to see a man who had a straight face and does not smile after all the stories I heard from friends about their bosses at various organizations where they happen to work. To my amazement, this man was totally different. After our conversation, he told me ‘Wadiam, welcome to CODE, let me introduce you to the team.” Having met the team, and introduced myself, I was totally calm to have seen a little me accepted as an intern in CODE.
Two weeks later, I received an email urging me to resume on June 8, 2016 at 8am. I was quite sad as I expected to resume by 9am, but well, I obviously had to adapt.
I walked in on June 8, with my shy self, as I met everyone, they embraced me and we developed a relationship within ourselves. I would basically regard CODE not as an organization but rather a family.
Sadly, on my second day at CODE, I had an experience of a lifetime. As I sat on a chair, reading an article on my laptop, within the twinkle of an eye, I found myself on the floor. I realized I just fell down not knowing I sat down a bad chair, it was so funny and at the same time it wasn’t funny because I felt embarrassed. But then! When I remember that fall, I just sit and laugh on my own because of the way everything just occurred in seconds.
So far so good, working with this family, I have learnt to use the Google drive, social media as means of creating awareness to the public not only chatting and communicating with friends, I have also learnt to build up my self-confidence. Building my confidence is one of the best things I have learnt knowing my very shy part as a person. In the same vein, I have learnt how to build proper and healthy relationship with people while working as a team.
While working as an intern at CODE, I expect to teach a lot of things aside the ones I have learnt already. I would like to still understand the aspect of development strategies, making a stringent policy and how to implement as well as review such policies to enable its efficiency.
I would say on a brief note that this being my first internship experience, has been an amazing and challenging one for me as I would always want to return and work here after my school.
Having passed through the educational system in Nigeria, i must say a lot is still lacking ranging from infrastructure, books amongst others. I don’t even want to talk about the university lectures and what goes on in the system.
I have always criticized people who fly there kids abroad but along the line i asked myself, would you blame them. My answer is NO. Its a shame that here in Nigeria Education is not top most priority.
I could remember about a year ago, during the campaign specifically, our very own President Muhammed Buhari, made a lot of promises on the educational sector. When i listened, i said to myself if the president could do all of this , as little as it sounds then its more like clearing the way for a better educational system in Nigeria.
I took note of all the promises and i kept my list according to his promise. Do you know i started counting down to when the promises would be kept.(I don dey grow grey hair self when i dey wait for promise).
Its a year now and still counting and nothing has been done, do i take it that the President forgot his promises or would i just say he is been so busy and Education is not his to do list.
Nigerians may no longer have to send their children abroad or private schools to access quality education if the president elect, Muhammdu Buhari, implements all his campaign promises in the education sector.
Mr. Buahri has promised to invest 20% of the annual budget in education, establish well equipped ICT centers, six new universities of Science and Technology with satellite campuses in various states, cub examination malpractice and forgery, and provide at least one free meal to pupils in primary schools amongst others.
The Nigerian education system is in a mess. Nigeria’s education sector is plagued by poor infrastructure, endless strikes and low staff morale. Overtime, it became a tradition in the Education sector, where teachers, lectures go on endless strike over non-payment salaries. The distorted education system has made parents send their child abroad to school. But with the implementation of the Mr. Buhari promises; the education sector should be transformed.
I collected his promises (though through the help my of my journalist friends) to help the public check the fulfillment of these promises during his campaign and they are listed below
1. Fully review provisions of the Universal Basic Education Act with emphasis on gender equity in primary, secondary school enrollment whilst improving the quality and substance of our schools, through outcome based education, that address the individual, family, and societal roles in education; and the associative skills and competencies that go with these responsibilities.
2. Targeting up to 20% of our annual budget for this critical sector whilst making substantial investments in training quality teachers at all levels of the educational system.
3. Implement a performance-based education, predicated on outcomes, skills, and competences as against the current certificate based qualification. I will adjust the reward system accordingly too. This way, exams malpractice and certificate forgery will be resolved once and for all. Young men and women interested in real liberal arts education, based on a true understanding of scientific, the humanistic, and the social sciences will fill our classrooms to be prepared for future leadership of the nation.
4. Enhance teacher training and improve the competence of teachers in the light of the 21st Century and beyond understanding of the learner types, intelligence types, as the multiple assessment types, in order to open up learning for all our children types. The era of one student type will give way to an all learner type for our children and young people as well as adults who want to return to the classroom to sharpen their skills, competencies, and sensibilities. This re-engineering of our education will be followed with a clearly thought out and vigorous national inspection programmes.
5. Make learning experiences more meaningful for children as the nation’s education will no longer be a preparation for life, but life itself. Our children will be democratized for education, rather than be educated for democracy. This view of education will make educating our children more cost-effective in the long run.
6. Provide One Meal a day for all Primary school pupils. That will create jobs in Agriculture, Catering, and Delivery Services.
7. Develop and promote effective use of innovative teaching methods/materials in our schools.
8. Ensure a greater proportion of expenditure on university education is devoted to helping our youth to understand the juxtaposition of Science, Technology, the Humanities and the Social Sciences.
9. Establish at least six new universities of Science and Technology with satellite campuses in various states. These six universities should be fully equipped with ICT technologies in order to attract and encourage small and medium scale ICT enterprises after their university education.
10. Establish technical colleges and vocational centers in each state of the federation.
11. Provide more conducive environment for private sector participation in all levels of education. Re-authorised the NUC, TETFUN, JAMB, etc, Acts to enable Private institutions of Higher learning to benefit from research funds and programmes that will serve the national good
12. Establish six centers of excellence to address the needs of special education.
I am still relaxed and waiting for all the promises maybe with my cup of tea on my right hand and pen and paper on the other hand (so i go dey thick as them fulfill the promise)
This post was written by Tyo Faeren Jennifer, a Mass Communication Student of the Benue State University, during her Student Industrial Work Experience Scheme (SIWES) with CODE
Connected Development [CODE] a non-governmental organization [NGO], headquartered in Abuja and formed in 2010, has empowered 9 local communities in Africa through its Transparency and Accountability initiative. And has mobilized 30 million Nigerians and 1 million citizens in 7 other West African countries to take action around Environmental Sustainability in Nigeria.
Through its Follow The Money project that advocates, visualize and track funds meant for local communities, it has helped in providing water to the 15, 000 inhabitants in Kadandani, Kano; Bachaka, Kebbi; and Jeke in Jigawa by tracking and advocating for the 10 billion Naira meant for the Great Green Wall project [GGW].
Follow The Money came to limelight by providing access to healthcare for 1,500 lead poisoned children, and providing hostel for 440 pupils, and providing an overhead tank for 200 pupils in government school in Zamfara State, communities.
At one of its traditional stakeholders meeting on making sure water is provided in three villages – Kadandani, Jeke and Bachaka, the representative from the Federal Ministry of Water Resources, Mr. S.M.Babarinde said, “Follow The Money is the most objective transparency and accountability initiative I have followed over 2 years now on radio, TV and their online platforms.”
The World Wide Fund [WWF] ‘s Earth Hour , now coordinated by Connected Development [CODE] and the Young Volunteers for Environment, since 2010 has united the people of Nigeria and other Seven countries in West Africa by mobilizing millions of individuals, organizations and government to take action for the environment.
It’s OpenDataParty [ODP] makes and spread open data. The ODP is where participants from every part of the country come together to learn and share data skills. It’s ODP has taught 430 Nigerians with hands on workshops, which included-Data Analysis using Google Spreadsheet and Microsoft Excel; Data Scraping using Tabula and Import.io; Visualizing data using Maps with CartoDB and Open Street Maps; Visualizing data using Info.gram
“I have learnt where to get budget for environment especially ones related to my state, and how I can analyze it using Excel, I never knew this before coming” said Erdoo Anango of Kwasedoo Foundation International from Benue state.
It’s Sustainaware project, an initiative that aims to improve Youth Knowledge, Interest and Leadership on Environmental Health, Green Economy and Social-Environmental Entrepreneurship), initiated by CODE’s European partners in 2014 was and supported by the European Union connects eight partner countries (Nigeria, U.S.A, India, Slovenia, Argentina, Hungary, Croatia, and Liechtenstein), and now added Zambia and Somalia, as implementing countries of Sustainaware in 2016
CODE seeks global partners committed to a sustainable future and to empowering marginalized communities to make a difference by creating the missing feedback loop between the government and the people by amplifying the voice of these lurked away. Of course, these feat would not have been achieved if not for support from Indigo Trust, Omidyar Network, Heinrich Boell Foundation, Open Knowledge Foundation, Code For Africa, European Union and the thousands of followers on Twitter and Facebook.