The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has revealed why he backed the passage of the amendment of the electoral bill for the use of direct primaries among political parties in Nigeria.
Speaking on Saturday at the National Children’s Dialogue to mark the 2021 Universal Children’s Day, Gbajabiamila said that deliberate efforts must be made to prepare the children and youth of Nigeria to become the leaders of tomorrow we desire them to be.
He said such efforts must include involving them in governance and expanding the democratic space to accommodate many young people.
According to the Speaker, with direct primaries, a youth with leadership qualities had equal chances of becoming a candidate for an elective office just like any other person.
The speaker noted that this was one of the surest ways of securing the future of Nigeria, by giving people with multiple ideas the opportunity to be at the very top of governance.
He said, “That debate on direct primaries, which I championed, is about the future of our country. Our position in the 9th House of Representatives is that everyone must have equal opportunities to participate in governance and the democratic process.
“Our young people must have a seat at the high table and we must create the enabling environment for them to be in leadership such that a young man with bold ideas can come out to vie for any position, be it legislator, governor or any other office. That can only be achieved through direct primaries, which will give a fair chance to the youth of this country to be involved in governance.”
Gbajabiamila called for huge investment in youth education, particularly technology, which the speaker said had transformed the world from what it used to be into a global village, delivering services and innovations at an unprecedented speed.
He added, “Technology has changed our world. We no longer exist in communal or national silos but as part of a broad fabric of humanity in a global village where opportunities and challenges abound. In this new world where a child with a computer and internet connection in Lagos can compete for jobs in Texas or Bombay, our job as leaders is to ensure that every Nigerian child is educated and empowered to compete in and succeed in this global marketplace of ideas and talent.”