Tunde Omolehin, Sokoto

The International Republican Institute has selected 20 young political party leaders in Sokoto State for a six-month intensive leadership programme.

The programme, being funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), will coach the participants on how to conduct basic citizen centred research on policy issues that include primary healthcare, basic education, and WASH.

The aim, according to IRI, was the clamour for youth inclusion in politics and governance as a global phenomenon. Its added that the first of its six sessions will take place once a month for six consecutive months where the Youth Leaders in Political Parties (YLPA) will enlighten the party voluntarily on basic theory of political parties.

In his welcome remarks, IRI Resident Program Director, Mr. Sentell Barnes, represented by the Programme Associate, Anuli Mefor, said the Young Political Parties Academy was launched in four states of the federation that include, Adamawa, Bauchi, Ebonyi and Sokoto.

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He said since December 2017, the institute was implementing the Responsive Political Party Program which seeks to increase political party’s responsiveness and representation as well as oversight and accountability of government programs in the affected 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.” he explained.

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Also, IRI Sokoto Programme Associate, Abubakar Dangaskiya, in a press release said that the data received will be presented to political party leaders in Sokoto State to inform them in the development of politics that are citizen based.

According to him; “Through the academy, IRI strives to place youth at the forefront of policy creation and prepare  them to be transformative contributors in their political parties.”

Speaking at the event, the guest speaker, Prof. Sadeeque Abubakar, from the department of Political Science, University of Abuja, reminded the participants of their responsibility as future political leaders in the society.

In his paper titled: ‘The Concept and Institutions of Democracy’, Prof. Abubakar said the reason why political parties were not formidable in Nigeria was because its drives by oligarchs rather than by the people.

He also called on the political leaders in the country to have attitudinal change to drive the needed norms of democracy. “Our political leaders need attitudinal change to make the democracy work the way it suppose to be working,” he noted.

In this goodwill message, the state’s PDP Secretary, Kabiru Aliyu, who represented the party called for selfless service among party members. He also urged them to imbibe the spirit of voluntarism toward the party development.

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On his part, the APC representative and a participant, Comrade Abdulrahman Umar said the training will avail them the opportunity to make a different in the political arena.