2015 ELECTIONS: WHAT NIGERIAN YOUTHS WANT
One of the cardinal points of democracy is electioneering. Election is believed to be an avenue where citizens particularly those of voting age participate in governance by voting individuals who will govern them over a period of time.
Ahead of the February 2015 general elections in Nigeria, concerns and considerations have been high on what should form the agenda for the 2015 elections which political observers say will be the defining moment in Nigeria's democracy and the country's continued existence.
Statistically, the Nigerian population is largely youth based. The youth population accounts for over 75 percent of the country's total population - an undeniable demographic force in determining the present and indeed the future of the country.
So, what do the teeming Nigerian youths want?
According to a recent survey conducted by the International Press Centre (IPC) Nigeria, published via the Nigerian Democratic Report (NDR), the five topmost demands of Nigerian youths are Power Supply, Education , Youth Employment and Job Creation, Security of lives and HealthCare.
The survey, which was conducted through an opinion poll titled 'Setting public agenda for the media ahead 2015 elections', had about 2012 respondents spread across 30 states of the federation.
'The highest response was from the students population which had 983 (48.9%) followed by 550 respondents (27.3%) who were professionals (journalists, engineers, doctors, accountants, etc), the civil servant population was 181 (9%), the self employed being 114 (5.7%), private employee 95 (4.7%), and artisans, 61 (3%)and 28 unemployed people (1.8%)'.
Taking a cue from this research outcome, it is apparent that the demands of the Nigerian youth are not out of the blues for any development minded government to achieve. Hitherto, it is unarguable that the current governance system, which has existed for almost two decades, has not done as much as expected in providing these supposed basic amenities of social wellbeing for its citizenry particularly the ever-bulging youth population.
As we approach the 2015 polls, it is imperative for public office seekers to be cognizant of the position, power and prospects of the over 100million youth population whose actions and inactions will in the long run determine the fate and feat of Africa's most populated country, Nigeria.
At the centre of this realisation is the media. Media practitioners across both traditional and new platforms must create the space for productive interactions and engagement that will foster positive development for the country before, during and after the 2015 elections.
For the youth population, there is no better time than now to forge the agenda for incoming elected public officials. Only with the power of our votes, we can unite to birth the expected change in our socio-economic, political and leadership experience cutting across Power Supply, Education , Youth Employment and Job Creation, Security of lives and HealthCare.
Elegbede Tayo JET, is a freelance journalist, mediapreneur cum communicator.