The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Yiaga Africa has launched a project tagged #SixtyPercentOfUs, aimed at mobilizing at least 60% of eligible young voters to register, collect their Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs) and vote in the 2023 elections using traditional and non-traditional tools of political mobilization.
The project is aimed at leveraging the large number of potential first-time voters who are young people with about 29 million of them targeted.
Every year, an estimated 4.5-5 million Nigerians turn 18, the constitutional age of electoral franchise, which translates to between 18-20 million potential ‘new voters’ from the 2019 general elections to the 2023 general elections.
This increase in the level of first-time voters provides an opportunity for young people to determine the next set of leaders for the country through their participation in active citizenship and the project is aimed at mobilising 29 million young voters.
Speaking at a joint press conference, the Executive Director Yiaga Africa, Mr Samson Itodo, said young Nigerians and women play a critical role in democracy as they can act as catalysts for social change and good governance simply by participating in the election process.
UNDP Nigeria Resident Representative, Mohamed Yahya, said youths enthusiasm, resilience, and creativity needs to be harnessed, paired with the right platforms and opportunities for engagement, to help catalyze important changes in Nigeria’s political system.
“Although young people between the ages of 18-35 make up 51.1% of registered voters, only 46% of these voters turned out to vote in the 2019 elections. This missed opportunity for young people to shape governance in Nigeria can be reversed with a political mobilization strategy premised on innovation, inclusion, collaboration, consistency, and context-specific interventions,” Yahya said.
“The #SixtyPercentofUs Project aims to leverage this opportunity ahead of the 2023 elections and will host a number of activities that will create platforms for civic engagement and access to information, including the recently launched Power of 18 Challenge.
“Nigerian youths have the numbers to determine elections, and more importantly, they can vote for good governance. Our desire is not just to push for huge numbers of young people to come out and vote, but to also vote for issues and for candidates that will deliver the good governance they yearn for,” said Samson Itodo, Executive Director of Yiaga Africa.
It was gathered that the project is armed to increase youth voter turnout in the 2023 election from 33.5% to 60% (which is 29 million young voters) through traditional and non-traditional means in order to ensure that young people play a significant role in determining the next set of leaders for Nigeria.
“Empower young women and men to build a community of young civic actors who are passionate about democracy.
“Complement INEC’s voter mobilization initiative through youth mobilization, digital campaigns and offline campaigns.
Build a solid peer-to-peer voter-mobilization system to build a Nigeria where young people, with their large numbers, can determine the next set of leaders.
“The #SixtyPercentOfUs initiative will focus on states with low voter registration and PVC rates across the country in order to ensure that there is a high turnout of youth voter turnout in the 2023 elections,” the group said of the project.