Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo says if young Nigerians fail to bid for elective offices in the 2023 general elections, they cannot win and infuse fresh ideas into good governance.
Osinbajo made the observation through President Muhammadu Buhari’s Senior Special Assistant on National Assembly Matters (Senate), Sen. Babajide Omoworare.
Omoworare represented Osinbajo at the opening of a two-day retreat for young legislators at the federal and state levels held on Monday in Lagos.
He said government had been preparing and equipping the capacity of youths as future leaders.
According to him, President Buhari’s assent to the “Not-Too-Young-To-Run’’ Bill, was to ensure greater participation of youths in parliament and in government generally.
“In preparation for 2023 general elections, we must realise that greater participation of our youths should not be mere rhetoric.
“Power is never handed over on a platter. If you don’t bid, you can’t win. We must also register to vote.
“The whole essence is to ensure that youths get involved in the process of democracy and also in parliamentary process,’’ Omoworare said.
He urged youths, who were ready to throw their hats into the ring in 2023, to join political parties or form new ones, adding that the essence of the “Not-Too -Young To Run’’ Bill would be defeated if the youth failed to run.
He said that youth eligible voter population was still very low, stressing that their turnout on election days had always been abysmally low.
According to him, young persons in other clime volunteer to mobilise eligible voters for registration process for political parties; they canvass for votes and they participate in political parties’ congresses and conventions.
Omoworare urged national, state and local government parliamentarians to inculcate the culture of internship and mentorship for youth with a view to foster an enduring legislative practice.
He said that such would make democracy, leadership, governance, peace- building and legislative strengthening a continuum.
Osinbajo said that participation of youths in democratic processes would inject fresh ideas, build public interest, ensure efficiency as well as engender good governance.
According to him, since youths are coming with fresh ideas, it will stimulate the economy, advance democracy and strengthen the legislative process.
“The involvement of young persons in the democratic and legislative processes will give us a better democracy and opportunity to make Nigeria a greater country,’’ he added.