International Republican Institute (IRI) has launched the Young Political Party Leaders Academy in Sokoto with 20 participants to be trained on responsive governance.
The 6-month intensive leadership programme for youth in political parties was aimed at placing youth at the forefront of policy creation, as well as to prepare them to be transformative contributors in their political parties.
Speaking at the opening of the event, Resident Program Director of IRI, Mr Sentell Barnes, said the academy would specifically train participants on basic research skills to support political parties in developing citizens-informed policy proposals.
Barnes, who was represented by Program Associate, IRI Abuja, Anuli Mefor, added that the Academy would also highlight the relevance of volunteerism to participants.
"I have advocated the need for youth to imbibe the habit of volunteerism. This will avail young persons with rudimentary mentorship opportunities and experience to navigate the turbulent murky waters of politics in Nigeria," he said.
He added that since December 2017, IRI had been implementing the responsive political party programme which sought to increase political party’s responsiveness and representation as well as oversight and accountability of government programmes in Adamawa, Bauchi, Ebonyi and Sokoto states.
"We believe that parties are only responsive when they understand and incorporate citizens’ priorities into their policy agendas and are representative when marginalized groups are integrated into their activities.”
In a goodwill message, the Secretary of PDP, Sokoto state chapter, Kabiru Aliyu, underscored the need for Nigerians to inculcate the spirit of volunteerism.
APC representative, Comrade Abdurrahman Umar, noted that the programme would ensure inclusion of youth in Nigeria politics.
Professor Sadeeque Abubakar of the Political Science Department, University of Abuja, who was guest speaker said the essence of the gathering was to mobilize the young members of Nigerian political parties especially the two leading parties APC and PDP to give them political education, create political awareness in them and mobilize them towards party supremacy and how effectively it can be managed towards having political stability and democratic governance in Nigeria.
Two participants, Nasiru Musa Marafa of APC and Samira Bello Malami of PDP lauded IRI for the programme which they noted would go a long way in making youths more politically active.
IRI Program Associate in Sokoto, Abubakar Dangaskiya, said the 20 participants were pre-selected by the two major political parties in the state, APC and PDP.
“As the programme continues, these youth called party volunteers, will be coached on how to conduct basic citizen centred research on policy issues including primary healthcare, basic education, and WASH, (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene)," he said.
He added that the data received would be presented to political party leaders in Sokoto state to inform them in the development of policies that are citizen-based.