Some young aspirants who vied for tickets of some political parties in the just-concluded primaries of the parties on Friday said they were cheated by leadership of the parties.
Ms Amina Iliyasu, a House of Assembly aspirant in Zamfara, on All Progressives Congress (APC) platform, stated this on behalf of all affected youths at “Young Aspirants Experience Sharing Workshop’’ in Abuja.
The programme was organised by The Centre of Legislative Engagement of YIAGA AFRICA and it was aimed at highlighting the experiences of young unsuccessful aspirants in the primaries.
Illiyasu said that the lack of internal democracy in political parties robed the youths of candidacy in forthcoming general polls.
She said that though people from her constituency wanted her to be in that position, leaders of the party in the states were not happy because they felt she was too young.
“Even though I won, I was asked to step down because of a zoning formula in the state.
“So, since the present governor is contesting for Senate position, and we are from the same constituency I had to step down so the other zone could benefit. ‘’
Iliyasu said that many women were marginalised in the primaries and that the women leaders did nothing to rectify the situation.
She called on Hajiya Salamatu Umar-Eluma, National Women Leader of APC, to stand up and speak for women so they would not be left out in politics.
Another aspirant from Kano, Mr Abdulhamin Liman, said that there was no APC primaries in the state, adding that aspirants were asked to bring money.
Liman said that as a young person he was only able to raise N3 million so he lost to another aspirant that gave N20 million.
Ms Mary Frank, a Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) aspirant from Adamawa, said that the primaries limited a lot of women and youths due to lack of funds.
Frank said that the act began with the fees placed on nomination and expression of interest forms in addition to discouraging words and acts.
She said that though some of them managed to pay for the forms, they were weeded out at some point.
Dr Ernest Ereke, Coordinator, YIAGA AFRICA Centre of Legislative Engagement, said that Nigerian youths clamoured for political inclusion hence the Not-Too-Young-To-Run law was enacted to enhance youths’ participation in elections.
Ereke, however, said that though a lot of young people indicated interest to run for offices and bought the very exorbitant forms, some of them were successful but were substituted.
He said that YIAGA AFRICA initiated the Ready-to-Run project in order to keep encouraging youths to participate, adding that it was imperative to organise the event for youths to share their experiences form the primaries.
Ms Yetunde Bakare, Senior Programme Officer, YIAGA AFRICA, commended the aspirants for vying for positions even though they did not succeed, adding that their stories would encourage youths in the future.
Bakare said that the group under the Ready-to-Run project would continue to provide feasibility support to young candidates contesting in the 2019 elections and make their voices heard, especially in the media.
She said that the group would also connect young candidates with organisations willing to support them with funds for the elections.
She said that 1,077 young aspirants registered under Ready-to-Run platform, and that only 297 purchased nomination and expression of interest form “because of the exorbitant rate of the forms’’.
She added that 117 of the aspirants emerged as candidates and urged all other young aspirants to register under the Ready-to-Run platform to create a network where they could support each other and also receive support.