2023 Elections: How Young People Will Choose Nigeria’s Fate

January 30, 2023
2023 General Elections

By Tom Gomez

As the February 25 general election approaches, it has been announced that nearly 10 million new voters have been registered, with 84% of them being under the age of 34.

It appears that many young voters are eager to have a say in Nigeria’s future as the country struggles with insecurity, high living costs, and increasing poverty.

The chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Mahmood Yakubu, has said that the 2023 general election is ultimately an election for the young people in Nigeria.

With a large and growing population of young people, Nigeria is one of the world’s largest and most dynamic democracies, and its young voters are poised to shape the country’s political future in ways that few other groups can.

The INEC has stated that there are currently 93.4 million registered voters in Nigeria, out of which 37 million are young people between the ages of 18 and 34. The most recent data from the INEC suggests that Nigeria’s young voters could end up with a large democratic advantage which could give them the final say on the outcome of the election.

Many of Nigeria’s young voters feel that they have been robbed of their future due to severe poverty, high unemployment and rising inflation which is limiting the opportunities for young people in Nigeria.

There are several reasons why Nigeria’s young voters are likely to have a big impact on the election outcome.

Firstly, they are more likely to vote than older generations as more is at stake for them. According to recent surveys, young people are more politically engaged and more likely to participate in the electoral process. This increased political engagement is driven by a desire for change and a belief that their vote will make a difference, especially considering the plight of socio-economic conditions in Nigeria.

Young voters in Nigeria are more likely to support progressive candidates and policies. They are more likely to support candidates who are committed to addressing issues such as youth unemployment, education, and health care. These are issues that are of critical importance to young people and that have not been adequately addressed by previous governments. As a result, young voters are likely to support candidates who are seen as having the best plans for addressing these issues.

Nigeria’s young voters are more likely to be influenced by digital media and social media. In a country where traditional media outlets are often seen as partisan and unreliable, young people are turning to digital platforms to get their news and information.

The impact of the #EndSARS movement against police brutality was a turning point, and social media is actively being used to effect change and hold politicians accountable.

Yet, political campaigns do not appear to be targeted towards this demographic, despite the fact that candidates are more likely to reach young voters through digital channels.

The key contenders for the elections are all over the age of 60 and are largely seen as unappealing, especially to new voters who want to enact real change. Last year, the Nigerian Youth Union (NYU) advised young Nigerians to reject any presidential candidate over the age of 60.

As we enter the final weeks of the presidential candidate’s political campaigns, it is imperative that voter mobilisation efforts target Nigeria’s young population.

Achieving at least 60% voter turnout is necessary to reverse the trend of declining electoral turnout. Inclusive political participation is fundamental to ensure that the election outcome accurately reflects the will of the people.

A high voter turnout in the next election is vital in order to ensure that Nigeria’s democracy remains vibrant, inclusive, and representative of the interests of its citizens.

By turning out in large numbers, Nigerian voters can send a powerful message that they are committed to shaping the future of their country and that they will not be deterred from exercising their democratic rights.

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