Baywood Foundation, a non-government organisation concerned about the advancement of youths and education, has said that it is ready to train 200,000 youths in governance and politics.
The foundation, through its founder, Chris Baywood-Ibe, made this known during a briefing held recently, where it also sought the support of the African Union to prepare youths for leadership roles at various levels of governance.
Ibe said the proposed training had become necessary because despite President Muhammadu Buhari’s signing of the ‘Not Too Young To Run’ bill in 2018, the systemic constraints to youth participation in governance had not been addressed.
He said, “Beyond Nigeria, age limits are a common barrier to young people seeking political office in Africa. Only a few countries such as Guinea, Uganda, Kenya, Mozambique and South Africa have the same minimum age limit for voting and seeking office, according to the International Parliamentary Union.
“This is totally unacceptable and a major constraint to youth participation in governance. It is, therefore, not surprising that the youth in Africa have expressed their dissatisfaction and displeasure, sometimes through violent means.
“Transforming education is of particular interest to us at Baywood Foundation because at the heart of every economy’s development, is education. That is why from from 2020, 200,000 youths from diverse socio-economic backgrounds, under the auspices of the foundation, will participate in a special internship programme for 12 months.
During this period, the candidates would be placed on internship in a political party, legislative body or government agency. The objective being to position the candidate within an environment which provides opportunities to establish networks, upgrade knowledge levels and chart a career path in government.”
Calling for the support of governments in Africa, Ibe added, “This initiative requires the support of broad ranging implementation partners throughout Africa including the AU, to provide an avenue for effective youth participation in governance, institutional transformation, effective stakeholder outreach within the continent. It is also necessary for strengthening multi-lateral cooperation with regional political and economic communities as well as international development partners.”