PDP to grant youths 30 percent of positions in 2015 - Maibasira
PDP youth leader, Abdullahi Maibasira, in this interview speaks, on the clamour for better representation by youths towards 2015. Excerpts:
As PDP youth leader, how will you ensure youth participation in governance?
I belong to a political party that is all inclusive and youth friendly. PDP is the only true national party in Nigeria today, it is perhaps the only party where you will find people of all, backgrounds and classes pursuing their respective dreams and aspirations. As a party, we have provided young people with the greatest political and electoral space to further partake in our country’s collective democracy. We have produced the youngest Senator, Speaker of the House of Assembly, several members of state legislators, young ministers and so on. As part of the nation’s youth movement, I know there are current demands for inclusion of young people. This is the call for 30 per cent inclusion for youths in both elective and in appointive positions. We are championing this demand, in fact, I identify with it and I know that my party will handle it in the best interest of building future leaders for Nigeria’s political institutions. Remember that this is a party where our chairman, Mr. President and our governors are youth disposed, and we all take issues concerning the youths very seriously.
What are your major ideas to address the issue of youth unemployment and youth restiveness?
Addressing youth unemployment is the most important item on our agenda. It is also at the core of our party’s national objective. It is equally on every item of our government’s policy design. It is now agreed that Nigeria has witnessed economic growth. The last time we calculated the GDP, was way back in 1990. This successful feat is the sum total of the economic policies of our successive governments which is to liberalize and open up areas of our economy like communications, entertainment, manufacturing, protect small businesses and expand access to finance especially in the largest contributor to our GDP - agriculture. Our next objective will be to translate the economic growth into real, absolute and evenly spread economic development which will further reduce poverty, allow businesses to open and grow, give room for employment and increase both our purchasing power and human development index. I can assure you that our party is committed to this cause. Already, we are witnessing the largest investments in the power infrastructure, which when completed, will provide supply from new and rehabilitated generating and transmitting lines. As you know, the federal government through the transformation agenda of the President has engaged in direct youth empowerment programmes, the states and private sector too have a critical role to play. So with the opening-up of our economy, it is expected that youths will be able to gain more employment and mobility of labour will increase.
What major effort have you made towards mobilising youth for political activities?
First, we analyzed the political cum mobilization space. We have gone online to enrich our capacity to interact with the youths. We have also invited youth groups across the country to come and register with the PDP, this is a non-stop operation. We have jointly met with all state youth leaders and youth groups affiliated with the party. We are now in the final stage of restructuring the youth vanguard to make it more formidable towards 2015 and beyond. Our next programme is to invite all 774 local government youth leaders for the PDP Youth Congress. I have also been officially notified by the APC Youth Frontier on their defection to the PDP. We have received them with broad arms. Some of us began from students activism, I therefore think that political ideologies can be shaped from at least tertiary institutions given the fact that most students are of voting age. By 2015 Presidential elections, the party’s national youth movement will have at least one youth per polling unit to canvass and protect our votes. With the strength and capacity of our states and local government youth leaders, we will do same for all elections. Some other ideas are as of now, within the party. I will advise us youths to contribute to the general discussion on our country’s political dynamics, which invariably, influence the economy, social life and our social security.
With the ongoing national conference, do you think youth
issues will get desired attention?
The federal government, in its determination to provide the country with a holistic political and economic framework convened the national conference. We have youth representatives and I for one, is immensely proud of our youth delegates. These are excellent young men, whom I know personally, and I know that they will be able to contribute to the general discussions, and I am very confident that they will promote the agenda of Nigerian youths at the conference. The confab is already in progress, we stand by the delegates, wish them successful deliberation and like every Nigerian, await their proposals on taking Nigeria to a higher pedestrian.
Most of the youth delegates are factional leaders in the National Youth Council of Nigeria, don’t you think their personal interests may affect their contribution at the confab?
We are all driven by our hopes and desire to be of service to the country, I may not be an official of the NYCN, but being a youth, I am interested in what happens there, I will not like to call what is happening in NYCN a crisis, even though unbecoming, I will rather call it a challenge because organisations, associations are evolving and changing and as youths, we venture into youth activism and politics principally for the purpose of acquiring the knowledge and experiences to strengthen our capacity to participate actively in governance hopefully someday. NYCN is one of such mediums, I am confident that the youth council will overcome its present challenge, I am also very confident that the youth council will be able to rally round its energy to building a coercive front that will bind the Nigerian youths together.
Youth leaders of political parties in Nigeria met recently and formed an agenda; how far have the groups gone with its implementation?
Yes, we held our first meeting as a body, and that meeting was convened so that we would discuss, share experiences and see how we can build a common front towards the 2015 elections. The principal objective is to ensure that there is no violence in 2015 and beyond. Voter education, electoral inclusion and election violence are all the issues that has to do with youths, we are concerned and if adequately addressed before during and after the elections, our elections will be peaceful. Our next line of action is to call on the generality of our members to share more experiences and increase our network capabilities and build a common front towards the 2015 general election, we are hopeful that it will come sometime in June.
What is the state of preparedness by the PDP youths for the 2015 elections?
PDP youths are ever ready for elections at every point in time and the youths of the party are fully mobilised and we will continue to do our part to ensure that our party retains control.