In line with the visionary mandate of youth empowerment and the political relevance of youths in governance, Baywood Foundation, a non governmental organisation set to host an internship programme for youths across the continent to enable them gain experience in governance and political leadership, themed BACK TO THE FUTURE- YOUNG PEOPLE REIMAGINING TODAY’S POLITICS.
The conference and event is aimed at resuscitating the capacity and ability of youths in politics and governance, there by stimulate effective discourse to drive a sustainable action agenda on this issue.
Its founder, Emperor Chris Baywood Ibe, stated this when he addressed reporters at Regent Hotel, Ikeja, the Lagos State capital.
He said the programme, which is expected to kick off in Nigeria will features speakers and presentations from key stakeholders from all over Africa. Countries represented include Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Mali, Botswana, Senegal, Ethiopia, Sudan, South Africa, Tunisia, Kenya and Tanzania.
Ibe said: “A major outcome of this Conference would be a pathway to the actualization of a pioneering Baywood Foundation initiative in collaboration with the African Union which not only creates inclusive opportunities for youth but also develops their intrinsic capabilities for future leadership roles. Baywood Foundation is proposing this initiative which offers leadership development and a path to greater involvement in political governance for youths throughout Africa.
“The focused objective is to position the candidate within an environment which provides opportunities to establish networks, upgrade knowledge levels and chart a career path in Government.”
With young people making up over 65 per cent of the population in Africa, Ibe said the system must provide an enabling environment and affirmative action for them to participate in leadership. To this end, he said road blocks in their paths should be removed.
Though he commends President Muhammadu Buhari who signed the ‘Not Too Young To Run’ Bill to law in 2018 to reduce the age limits across political offices, This is a step in the right direction but is however not enough because it does not address the systemic constraints to youth participation in governance.”
He said: “Part of the challenges, as identified by Baywood Foundation, include neglect/abandonment of youths, lack of engagement and lack of collaboration with youths.
“All these have culminated in the lack of opportunities for youths to actively participate in governance. These problems are lamentable, anti-democratic, including the exclusionist disposition of African leaders who capitalise on ethnic, religious as well as socio-economic divisions in their countries to perpetuate themselves in office.
“The African continent is riddled with Presidents who have spent over 35 years in office and are aiming for 40 years or more. The statistics in this regard make for very sober reflection indeed; hence, the clarion call for affirmative action. “
“The consequences of this characteristic of African leaders have led to the gross socio-economic under-development of the continent, corruption, genocides and the exclusion of many generations of youths from governance.