Nigeria's New Voters: Youth, Civic Education and Political Participation
Samson Itodo, Head, Research, Policy and Advocacy, Youth Initiative for Advocacy, Growth and Advancement
Since Nigeria's return to civilian rule in 1999, there has been an increase in youth-led civil society organizations involved in the promotion of electoral governance, citizen participation and public accountability. Advancements in mobile phone technology and social media have helped to drive this engagement forward. With approximately 60 per cent of the country’s population currently aged 18–35, this trend promises to have a prominent impact on Nigeria’s political landscape. Low election turnout amongst young voters in previous elections and minimal youth representation within Nigeria’s main political parties demonstrate that many challenges still remain. Pressures to address these challenges are increasing however, particularly as in the next general election in 2019, a new set of young voters, born since the country’s return to civilian rule, will be eligible to vote. This raises important questions about voter and civic education and strengthening Nigeria's electoral institutions to accommodate their participation.
At this event, Samson Itodo, head of research, policy and advocacy at the Youth Initiative for Advocacy, Growth and Advancement, will discuss how to foster increased youth engagement in key political issues and promote democratic governance and human rights in Nigeria. Samson Itodo is visiting the UK as part of a delegation of youth leaders, supported by the Westminster Foundation for Democracy.