Group urges youths to participate actively in CVR, electoral process – By Ijeoma Eke-Ojim/Enugu

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Okenwa: Current political leaders above 60 years should be retired

The Leadership, Entrepreneurship and Advocacy (LEAD) Network, on Wednesday, urged youths to participate actively in ongoing INEC’s Continuous Voters Registration (CVR) and other electoral processes to change the status quo.

The Executive Director of LEAD Network, Mr. Chukwuma Okenwa, made the call while speaking to newsmen in Enugu on why youths must participate actively in politics to get the desired change.

Okenwa noted that the impediment to youths participating in politics remained the notion that “vote does not count in the country”, adding: “with this notion, present political dynamism disfavouring youths will never change’’.

According to him, for us, youths, to anticipate peaceful change, it will be by engaging political leaders, recalling those not performing or out-rightly ensuring that political misfits do not get into political offices by our ballot votes.

The activist noted that the present crop of leaders, who are aged (above 60) should be retired for the political space to breathe fresh air.

“The country needed new and progressive ideas based on modern knowledge driven by technology for the country to move ahead and fulfill its destiny among the comity of nations,’’ he said.

He said that the ongoing CVR and the forthcoming 2023 general elections provided an opportunity for youths to change the fortune of the country to benefit their generation.

“The youths remained the silent majority. It will surprise you that in a nation of anticipated 100 million voters, the President election is decided by only 30 million votes. It means that 70 million voters not participating are majorly youths.

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“If the 70 million voters, who are the silent majority, stand up to vote and be voted for; there will be a great upturn in the democratic process and its outcome henceforth.

“With this overwhelming number, the youths have the electoral power and critical mass to ensure that political parties fashion their electoral policies, manifesto and candidacy to favour the youthful population.

“The youths should stand out to be counted and influence who is finally elected at the end of the day and if they can rise, they will be a great threat to any existing group or force in the political space,’’ he said.

On the activities of secessionist groups dissuading youths from participating in ongoing CVR, Okenwa said that such a move was productive if youths really want to make a positive impact.

“Political negotiations and decisions are made based on numbers. Politically, your impact might not be felt if you do not have the critical mass in terms of numbers to upturn things around.

“For regions where these secessionist agitations are being carried out; it will limit their regions’ chances of making it at the top politically,’’ he warned.

It would be recalled that INEC started its online CVR exercise on June 28; while the schedule of appointments for online registrants and physical CVR at INEC state and local government offices nationwide is expected to commence on July 19

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