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Project Sprint Initiative Urges Youth to Participate in Policy Advocacy

Photo: from left: Godson Kelly (Global Affairs director), Israel James (Country Director)

 Nigerian youths have been called upon to take their destinies in their hands and vote out leaders who do not fulfill their campaign promises when they get into public leadership positions.

This was the focus of discuss during a summit of young people held recently in Port Harcourt. The gathering which was organized by a non profitable organization, Strategic Political Response in National Transformation SPRINT aimed to sensitize and advocate for policy influence in our legislative advocacy in Nigeria.

Delivering an address during the meeting, the Global Affairs Director, Mr Godson Kelly stressed that only an intentional bold step by the youth of the nation can bring about a positive change in the political sphere of the country.

The first thing that we need to understand as  young people is that we all have the power to  change the political atmosphere I keep telling people everywhere I go that my hope in Nigeria is not anchored on the promises of Nigerian politicians, my hope is anchored on my own faith, in myself, in the possibilities of what I can do because I understand that every individual can make a difference.

So when you say you want Nigeria to change, when you want Africa to change when you are passionate about change, what are you doing from your end? What is your preparation? He added.

He continued by encouraging Nigerian youth to emulate the Asians who have dominated the technology world rather than use social media to promote indecency.

 “when I look at Nigerian Tiktok, it is flooded with young female who just display their beauty and flaunt their bodies, but when I look at Chinese Tiktok, you going to see invention, innovation young people, children  playing with technology this is because they understand that the problem of their county is also part of their responsibility”

While encouraging members of the public to shun frivolities, the SPRINT boss stressed that once policies are implemented, everyone is affected irrespective of class or political inclination.

Everything that is happening in this country affects you, every policy made at the national assembly affects you, you don’t need to believe, or interested, it will affect you. You just need to be a citizen for politics to affect you as long as you are a citizen or living here, politics will affect you and any decision made by the government affect you. So don’t just sit back and complain, you can strive and say I want to be part of these people and force in the change that you dream”

Mr Godson also pointed out that it is expedient for youth and citizens generally to know who represent them at different levels (State assembly and National assembly) and hold them accountable when they fail to deliver their campaign promises.

Country Director of Project SPRINT, Israel James while delivering his address stated that it is the responsibility of the citizens to throw out any public office holder out of the office after 4 years if he or she disappoints . He said the era of dinning and winning with politicians for cookies is over and Nigerians should take a bold step in bringing positive change.

National transformation is not just the job of the political office holders so iv realized now not then that the the ‘ they’ that they  were saying is actually ‘we’ Democracy is a teamwork between the people and the government to better the society. Its so designed that if the person you voted in is not listening to you, its ok, he has for years, after that you vote him out” He said.

He said the beauty of democracy is the fact that you can choose who governs you and also change the person if the person fails.

Another participant and a legal practitioner, Barrister Freedom advised Nigerian youths to live a life of emulation and be an inspiration to themselves and others, adding that it is one of the ways they can realize their dream of a better Nigeria

While sharing his views one of the participants, a theatre professional,  Okoi Eteng  said the stage can be used as a tool to create the needed awareness for the teeming youth to take part in the polity of the nation. He added that making video clips that send messages of inclusion can go a long way in redirecting the attention of the young people.

 A student group leader, Miss Cythia pointed that content creation can also go a long way in sensitizing the youth in the inclusion narrative. Rather than only do comedy skits, she advised that content creators should look at the direction of productions that will better the citizens especially the youth in the area of policy making.

According to the country Director Mr Israel James who moderated the summit, efforts are in top gears to host another meeting in South Africa. This is in a bid to extending the message of youth inclusion in policy making beyond the shores of Nigeria.

Recall that Project SPRINT had a summit earlier this year ahead of the General election to sensitize the public on voter card collection and the need to vote and make the vote count.

The summit was well attended by enthusiastic group leaders, students and members of the press.

Photo credit: Project SPRINT Media

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