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:

Daily Trust - - INSIDE POLITICS - By Romoke W. Ah­mad

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.

Ab­dul­lahi Maibasira

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