By Myke Agunwa
As the 2023 general election draws nearer, the International Republican Institute (IRI) has organised a two day leadership training conference for zonal and state youth leaders of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to enable them play active leadership roles in the next election.
While addressing youth leaders drawn from all the states in the country during the conference, National Chairman of the party, Prince Uche Secondus on Monday, charged them to reinvent themselves and ensure that they actively participate in the political space so as to occupy leadership position in the next election.
The party boss in his remarks on the conference with the theme, “Strategizing for Massive Mobilization in Politics and Governance”, reminded them that the great Zik of Africa was a youth while M.T Mbu was the minister of external affairs at the age of 21. He tasked them to position themselves in the forthcoming election to recover the country and rescue the nation from the hands of ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
Secondus told the youths that they have the best opportunity now more than ever to make active participation in the political ecosystem with the use of digital technology. He said that the party is committed to reserving 70 percent of elective and appointive positions to women and youths if they have the requisite skills.
“We are going to give preferencial treatment to the youths especially the youths that will be seeking for elective offices.
“The women have been agitating for a very long time and they have secured 35percent and the same thing will be applicable to the youths both in elective and appointive positions. The PDP is now a rebounded party that is coming with vibrant youths who are creative, youths who are innovative, youths who have capacity to deliver, hard working youths, they are also dedicated and committed.
“In the E-regisration that we want to embark on, and this government of the PDP that is coming will be youth and women based because we have discovered that the energy of the youths.
“By now all the transactions in government should be online but we are still operating as the colonial government handed over to us. This is not acceptable, this must change and it is only the youths that can effect this change. We can no longer mortgage the future of the youths because that is exactly what the APC has done
“Most of the you cannot afford cost of forms especially for Presidential Election. We will attend to them give them preferential treatment by the grace of God.
“In most cases we will remove most of the things for women and youths. They are very important to us. PDP is for the youth and the government of PDP coming that is coming in 2023 including the he elders interested. Everybody will be giving a space” he said.
Secondus urged them to use the conference to task their intellect and come out with creative and innovative ideas on how to govern the country.
The House of Representative minority leader, Hon. Ndudi Elumelu in his remarks regretted that data from National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) alerted that unemployment has escalated to 33.3 percent, pointing out that over 40% of the active youthful population (15 to34 years) have no jobs.
He said, “Nigerians can recall that under the PDP, the rights of our youth were protected. The youths were also allowed to fully participate in political leadership and governance even at very top levels.
“The PDP produced leaders of the National and State Assemblies, state governors, key ministers and heads of critical agencies, who were in their 30s and early 40s. Those in the private sector had unhindered access to opportunities that abound.
“You must exert yourselves and come up with more practical options to restore the rights of our youth and redirected their productive energy towards nation building
“You must come up with strategies to massively mobilize our youth for greater political participation beyond acting as thugs and spectators to practical involvement in political leadership, contest for elective positions, party administration, policy making and governance”.
The National Youth leader of the party SKE Ude-Okoye also in his remarks charged the youths to make use of the opportunity provided by the party and IRI and equip themselves with the needed leadership skills to take over the political space.
The event was attended by the House Deputy Minority Leader, Hon. Tobi Okechukwu, PDP National Organising Secretary Col. Austin Akobundu Rtd., PDP Woman leader Hajiya Mariam Waziri, representative of IRI, PDP zonal and state youth leaders and other party stake holders.