From Priscilla Ediare, Ado-Ekiti

In a bid to ensure the active participation of youths and accountability in governance in Ekiti State, a group, Inspiration Care and Development Center(ICDC), has launched #BetaGovernment project for youths in the state.

Launching the project in Ado-Ekiti, the capital of the state, the Executive Director of ICDC, Olowolayemo Lawrence, while speaking with newsmen noted that the project was supported by Leap Africa and Nigeria Youth Futures Fund(NYFF)

Olowolayemo who explained that youths across the 16 Local Government Areas of the state would be engaged in the areas of Advocacy, Civic Engagement, Capacity Building and Project Tracking Using Technology, noted that youths have become indispensable tools towards ensuring good governance in any society, thus the need to amplify their voices in the state.

He said, “In a time marked by increasing demands for good governance, leadership and accountability in Nigeria, young people have emerged as passionate advocates for change. The #BetaGovernment initiative aims to amplify youth voices in the pursuit of these crucial values. Our vision is to foster a government that works for all, prioritizing citizens’ engagement, advocacy, capacity building, tech-driven approaches and research.

“The success of the Not Too Young To Run movement in Nigeria has shown how young people can become more effective in advocating for positive change in society. Through grassroots mobilization, advocacy campaigns, and community outreach initiatives, young people have become more vocal and visible in demanding accountability, transparency and good governance from their leaders.

” In another way, the EndSARS movement highlighted the lack of transparency and trust among many young Nigerians and the government. The grievances expressed during the EndSARS protests were not limited to police brutality but also encompassed broader socio-economic issues such as unemployment, poverty and inequality among young people. In Nigeria with a population of 200 million where over 60% are under the age of 25. Nigeria’s youths constitute a significant demographic with immense potential to shape the nation’s future.

“However, systemic issues such as unemployment, limited access to education and healthcare and socio-political marginalization have hindered their ability to thrive and contribute meaningfully to society.

” The establishment of the Nigeria Youth Futures Fund represents a significant step towards addressing the challenges faced by young Nigerians and harnessing their potential for socio-economic development.”

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Olowolayemo added, “The project aims at developing and executing targeted advocacy campaigns to raise awareness on crucial government issues, Facilitate dialogue between youth representatives and policymakers to foster mutual understanding as well as focus on policy advocacy that can bring about change in our society.

“It will also create platforms for youths to collaborate with governmental bodies, promote a two-way communication channel.

” It will engage in capacity building by implementing training programmes for the youth in a way to lead and actively participate in governance, advocacy and decision-making processes that will positively impact their communities.

“It will focus on project tracking using technology where selected youths will receive training on monitoring government projects and advocating for transparency at the local level, thereby contributing to the overall development and well-being of our community.”

Also speaking, a board member of ICDC, Martin-Mary Falana, said the project will also counter cybercrime, drug abuse and other ill vices among youths in the state.

“I see many young youth in drugs, Internet fraud and other ill activities, this project will be engaging a lot of civic education to energize our youth against these ill vices and looking into the development of the society, as well as seeking inclusiveness.”

In her remarks, an advisory board member of NYFF, Modupe Adetiba, said the purpose of their collaboration with ICDC is to support Ekiti youths to have a sense of belonging in order to be involved in governance and hold the government accountable.

“The Nigeria Youth Futures Fund is to support the youth ecosystem, support for change in the national level and pioneer youth involvement in governance.”