Foundation works with young Nigerian politicians to strengthen democracy

Gloria Essien, Abuja

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The Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD), a Non Governmental organisation in Nigeria, says it is working with young Nigerian politicians to strengthen democracy in the country.

The country representative of the Westminster Foundation for Democracy, Mr. Adebowale Olorunmola, stated this at a Workshop on Leadership Development and Inclusion of Underrepresented groups in Politics with Values, held in Abuja.

He admonished participants that there is the need to change the narrative on how politics should be played in Nigeria.

“Politics with Values campaign is targeted at promoting positive values in Nigeria’s politics against backdrop of the need for change in the values that have pervaded the entire polity since her return to democracy in 1999. Similarly, partnership with a network of young Nigerians in Politics with Values (PWV) has launched a campaign to promote values in political participation in Nigeria,” Mr. Olorunmola said.

He also said that the Westminister Foundation for Democracy is embarking on a campaign to promote values in politics with the commencement of a two-day training of members of the Nigerians in Politics with Values Network and young volunteers.

“The Politics with Values Campaign, which is being implemented on the platform of the Inclusive and Accountable Politics (IAP) programme, funded by the Department of International Development (DFID), will engage with political parties and the legislature to, among other objectives, work towards changing the negative narratives about politics by emphasizing core positive and democratic values that are fundamental for improving the inclusion and quality political participation of young persons, as well as effective and value-based representation of citizen. Towards this, forty (40) young male and female volunteers who are interested in participating in politics were trained at a Master Class, to monitor and evaluate the legislature and political parties, using value-based scorecards,” he added.

The chairman of the Inter Advisory Council President, Mr. Peter Ameh stated that, the politics with values campaign is coming at a time when the sustainability of democracy in Nigeria becomes fundamental.

He urged young people to join political parties and make themselves relevant if they hope you change the narrative.

“It is very key to belong to a political party. You must belong to a political party because the most important thing in our democratic governance and practice is participation. It’s very important because if you don’t participate, nobody is coming to the house to pick you. And the price you pay for not participating is that you get inferior people to govern you,” Mr. Ameh said.

He added that politics in Nigeria drives everything and that the young generation of leaders in Nigeria need to bring values to politics for the desired change to Nigeria.

On her part, the Founder of ASPIRE Women Forum, Zainab Marwa-Abubarkar, said that “there is a lack of incisiveness of women in politics in Nigeria”.

She noted that Nigeria has a very small number of women in both elective and appointive positions.

According to her, “there is the need for improvement”.

Meanwhile, Mr. Tonye Isokariari, says the Westminidter Foundation for Democracy, would ensure the promotion of values in the political space.

He said that working with young parliamentarians, WFD, would visit constituencies to be able to hold them accountable.

” We will be able to access firsthand what exactly is going on and how they have been able to affect positively their constituents because they are actually in the national assembly to represent their constituents. So we want to ensure that they are actually doing what they are set out to do,” Isokariari said.

WFD’s engagement in Nigeria supports sustainable democratic growth, through inclusive citizen participation and strengthened institutions capable of accountable governance sponsored by the Department for International Development (DFID) and the Foreign and Commonwealth office (FCO) in UK.

The theme of the workshop is “Leadership Development and Inclusion of Underrepresented Groups in Politics with Values”.

There were goodwill messages from political players and actors in Nigeria.

Nnenna.O