By G9ija

Youth candidates vying for various positions ahead of the February 2022 Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Area Council Elections on Friday said lack of finance and insecurity remained their greatest threat to contest the elections.

They said this at the Run to Win Town Hall Meeting   with young candidates and the leadership of political parties organised by YIaga Africa to   provide a platform to engage youth’s candidates in Abuja.

According to Mr Daniel Amos, the Kwali Area Council Chairmanship candidate for Allied Peoples Movement (APM), said that it was hard for youths to contest elections in Nigeria due to finance and other logistics involved.

Amos also said that insecurity was another challenge he was facing because  Kwali being a remote area was prone to kidnapping and mobility to the villages was not easy.

“ We face challenges of finance because people believe in money and as we are going out for campaign we have to give them money.

“There is also  the challenge of insecurity and mobility, voter registration is another issue we are facing in Kwali as people cannot register for their voter cards because most times there is no network.

“We need all the support we can get ,we need support from our political parties for campaign because you can’t campaign without security ,we need parties to help in securing youths as they go about campaigning.’’

Ms Mina Horsfall ,the National Rescue Movement (NRM) Chairmanship candidate for the Abuja Municipal Area Council(AMAC) said that there was need to encourage youths ,women and persons with disabilities to run for elections by supporting them in various ways.

Horsfall appealed to security agencies to provide security support to help them get safe campaigns.

She also urged political parties to support such candidates with moral and logistics support to help them win elections adding that “the media also should help give them visibility ‘’

Ms Juliet Isi-Ikhayele ,the African Democratic Congress(ADC) Counsellorship Candidate, Kubwa ward under Bwari Area Council urged political parties to put structures in place to assist youths and women to contest.

Isi-Ikhayele said that man power was key in winning elections and therefore urged parties to provide  to engage in man power structure in various wards in order to set up polling agents .

This she said would help in having ready man power during elections at ward levels, adding that parties should also help with logistics mobilisation and finance because politics was not a man’s duty but a collective effort.

She appreciated Yiaga Africa for creating the platform for young people to discuss their challenges and to publicise the intents of young people vying for election positions and encourage other people to participant.

Mr Michael Odoh, AMAC Chairmanship candidate of the Young Progressives Party(YPP) urged political parties to implement policies that would favour youths to contest because they were faced  with so many challenges especially finance.

Odoh said that parties had many policies but most time they only existed on papers as they were hardly implemented.

“I want my fellow youths to also help us because most times when we go for meetings they will be asking us `Wetin dey for us’ meaning what do you have for us?,’’ he said

Mr Mahmud  Muhammed Vice Chairman ,FCT, Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) commended  the effort of Yiaga for initiating the programme because it wa an avenue for more enlightenment for youths and women.

Muhammed said that although finance play a role in elections but a good candidate would always be supported by the people to succeed.

He said that so far ,PDP youths were determined  to participate in FCT elections this time around noting that the  greatest measure put in place by PDP was to  encourage them to run.

“When you look at AMAC chairmanship candidates  ,the PDP representative is the youngest among those contesting  for election in the entire FCT and that alone is encouraging youths.’’

Mr Ibrahim Farouk, Programme Manager, Governance and Development programme yiaga Africa, said that  the event was a build up on the  passage of the Not Too Young To Run law.

Farouk said that Yiaga Africa through the Run To Win Project intended to amplify the influx of competent youths into politics as their participation was critical to democratic governance especially ahead of the February 2022 FCT Area Council Elections  to  create effective campaigns and win elections.

According to him ,Run To Win is a campaign dedicated to supporting young women and men with competence, capacity and character to contest and win elections in Nigeria borne from the demands from the Not-Too-Young-to-Run campaign.

“There are a few things we hope to see after today, one is that it increases awareness around the 2022 FCT Area council elections because we know that there is a lot of voter apathy when it comes to area council elections in FCT.

“Secondly, is how we increase visibility for young people who are running for elective offices positions in the area councils election especially’.

“Our analysis has shown us that 14 political parties and 227 young candidates who are either contesting for councellorship or chairmanship elections in the 2022 area council elections.

“Thirdly, is it also to see how  young  candidates and their political party leaders can come together and have a discussion ,to understand some of the challenges ,the needs that young people running for office have and what the parties can do to support them.’