By Peter Okolie
Awka, Nov. 28, 2020 An NGO, Centre for Strategic Leadership and Youth Orientation (CENSTLEYO), has called for political reforms that will engender responsive youth leadership in the country.
The Executive Director of CENSTLEYO, Mr Emeka Imah, made the call during the second edition of the National Youth Dialogue, organised in Awka on Saturday by the group seeking to promote democratic values.
Naija247news reports that the dialogue has, as its theme, “Reform of Political Process in Nigeria: a Passionate call for Reform and Participation.”
Imah said that the current political structure in the country had created a closed space which did not encourage youths in politics.
“Where can the youth get N5 million for purchase of nomination forms or N50 million to get support from delegates for primaries before the main campaign begins?
“The stakeholders of the major political parties in the country train their followers to see their oppositions as enemies instead of training them to learn to live together as patriots.
“They are doing all these to divide the attention of youths so that we will not be able to reclaim the future,” he said, even as he called for reforms that would enable active participation of youths in politics.
Imah said that the group would henceforth hold accountable all established institutions lacking in their responsibilities to foster political processes that would produce legitimate leaders.
“Our focus is to raise young reformers to sustain activism in Nigerian politics and we are determined to train the youth to shun politics of money, violence and thuggery,” he stressed.
In his keynote address, Prof. Patrick Lumumba, a former Director of Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission, who made a virtual presentation, urged Nigerian youths to take up responsibility in leadership.
Lumumba also urged them to conquer fear and change the political situation in the country by engaging their leaders constructively.
“To do this, youths must be dignified and disciplined. Emphasis should be on the things that unite Nigerians rather than things that separate them.
“There is also the need to change the perception that politics is a means to wealth,” Lumumba, a Professor of Law, said.
Speaking on the ‘Role of Police in Political Reform’, the Commissioner of Police in Anambra, Mr John Abang, said that the police would continue to institute reforms that would make policing more people-friendly.
Abang, who was represented by CSP Okundaye Ewera, tasked youths to hold politicians accountable by asking what value they could bring to the society.
Also speaking, the Guest Speaker and former President of Transcorp Hotels Plc., Chief Valentine Ozigbo, said that political reforms should begin with the Anambra governorship election coming up in November 2021.
Ozigbo, who is also a governorship aspirant under the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), urged youths to carefully select the next governor of the state.
“Choose someone who is patriotic; someone who will speak to the people with humility and respect, someone who understands what humanity is.
“Choose someone who understands the meaning of leadership; someone who is competent and understands what it means to unite the people of the state and the zone,” he said.
A participant, Mr Chinedu Okoye, while commending the organisers of the programme, called for reduction in cost of governance and the political processes to enable the youth participate actively in politics.