As part of its efforts to promote democratic governance, human rights and civic engagement, Yiaga Africa, a non-profit civic hub, has disclosed in its preliminary report titled ‘Youth Candidacy in the 2023 Elections in Nigeria’ that youth candidacy has declined to 28% from the 34% it recorded during the last general elections in 2019.
The Executive Director, Yiaga Africa, Samson Itodo, who disclosed this in Abuja at a conference, said the report indicated a whole lot of factors responsible for the decline, including the excessive cost of nomination forms, and highly commercialized party primaries, among others.
According to him, the total number of young candidates are 4,398 as compared to the total number of candidates contesting for various offices is 15,336 which represents 28.6 percent.
He cited that youth candidacy for the House of Representatives plunged from 27.4% in 2019 to 21.6% in 2023, similarly, the State House of Assembly also dropped from 41.8% in 2019 to 35.6% in 2023.
Itodo said the report shows that out of 3,122 candidates vying for seats in the House of Representatives, only 674 of them fall in the youth category, and out of this two of them are with disabilities, making it 22%.
He also said 51 young candidates are vying for governorship and deputies, out of 837,12.2%., adding that Senate has 41 young candidates out of the total 1,101 representing 3.7 percent.
Itodo furthered that the report pointed out that State House of Assembly has 3,632 young candidates out of a total number of 10,240 representing 35.6 %.
The report also showed that across the geographical zones distribution, the North West has 23 % of young people vying for various offices and South West has 18%.
However, in the North East, recorded 38% of young candidacy, while young candidates from the North West represented 85%.adding that the South East he noted had one of the lowest with 20,% of young candidacy.
On age representation, the report indicated that fewer than half (46 percent) of the young candidates belong to the group’25-30′. While across zones, the North West has the highest number of candidates in the age group ‘25 – 30’ and ’31 – 35’.
The geographical classification of the young candidates by gender reveals that the North West had 37% recording the largest representation of male candidates and South East 8% had the lowest.
In contrast, the report said South West had 28%, which is the largest representation of female young candidates, while both North Central and North East recorded 13% each of female representation.
Party distribution of Candidates across zones in general, showed the Action Democratic Congress, (ADC ) had the highest number of young candidates in the 2023 State House of Assembly election.
Itodo remarked that 43.2% of youth candidates in the 2023 election are direct beneficiaries of the Not Too Young To Run Act, and of the 15,336 candidates on the ballot in the 2023 elections, 4,398 are youth candidates.
The Yiaga Africa boss explained that political parties nominated more youth candidates for legislative elections at the state level than executive on the national assembly seats.
Ranking of youth-friendly parties showed that the African Democratic Congress (ADC) ranked 1st for nominating the highest number of youth, the Labour party ranked 6th, New Nigerian People’s Party ranked 3rd, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) ranked 13th, and All Progressive Congress (APC) ranked 15th.