- A member of the House of Representatives, Honourable Kolawole Babatunde says it is possible to win elections in Nigeria without spending millions of naira
- Babatunde made the comment at a colloquim on youths and the future of democracy in Nigeria
- The colloquim was hosted by the Young Parliamentarians Forum (YPF) in partnership with the Youth Initiative for Advocacy, Growth and Advancement (YIAGA)
A member of the House of Representatives, Honourable Kolawole Babatunde has said it is possible to win elections in Nigeria without spending millions of naira.
Babatunde who represents Akoko South East/South West in Ondo state, made the comment at a colloquim on youths and the future of democracy in Nigeria.
The colloquim was hosted by the Young Parliamentarians Forum (YPF) in partnership with the Youth Initiative for Advocacy, Growth and Advancement (YIAGA) on Friday, May 26.
Babatunde, 42, admitted that young people in Nigeria face economic limitations when trying to participate in the political process.
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He however stated that Nigeria has made progress in practicing democracy, even as he noted that there is still a lot of work to do.
“Our leaders haven't created a space for full youth participation in politics. Young people in Nigeria face economic limitations when trying to participate in the political process," Babatunde said.
Speaking on the place of money in Nigerian politics, Babatunde informed the gathering that he spent only N5 million during the electioneering period.
His words: “I do reach out to the youths in my community a lot. I'm a grassroot person. That was why during the elections, while my colleagues from the east spent N200 million for election in their constituencies, I spent only N5 million from primaries till the end of the election.
“We cannot take away the issue of godfatherism from Nigerian politics but if you can prove that you have the capacity to deliver, you will gain the support of your people.
“I have served two terms now, and I promised my people that when I’m leaving, I will be handing over to another young person.”
On his part, the chairman of YPF, Honourable Ralph Igbokwe said the forum serves as a platform for bringing youth issues in Nigeria to the fore.
“The efforts of the YPF in working to reduce the age for running for elective office is beginning to pay off.
Young people must be active participants in this democracy not just on social media. Together we can make young people relevant and create space for their active participation in democracy,” Igbokwe said.
On her part, YIAGA's program manager; Cynthia Mbamalu bemoaned the fact that money in is a major problem in politics, not just in Nigeria, but all over the world.
“Globally, a lot of efforts are been put in place to regulate election financing,” she said.
The event also had a panel discussion titled: 'Harnessing the Demographic Dividend in Youth Through Civic & Political Engagement' where issues that affects youths participation in politics and governance were discussed.
Meanwhile, Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu has called for the total removal of age as a criterion for holding political offices in Nigeria.
He instead called for a situation where the electorates were allowed to make their choices based on their assessment of the competence of those who presented themselves for elections.
Ekweremadu made the call when YIAGA paid him a courtesy visit on Thursday, May 25.
Watch the NAIJ.com TV vox pop asking Nigerians if a youth can lead Nigeria below: