by Chika Uwazie
Abuja, Nigeria – Building on momentum from a mass voter registration drive, a coalition of several youth empowerment groups and blogs, including Vote or Quench, Enough is Enough Nigeria, Sleeves Up, and Nigerian Leadership Initiative, are calling for the first-ever presidential youth centered debate in Nigeria. Looking ahead to the April elections, the debate would focus on the key issues affecting a critical voting demographic, with the age group of 30 and under representing 70% of the population.
The debate will be a direct conversation with Nigerian youth, inviting presidential candidates to answer questions posed by young Nigerians, at home and abroad, via social media networks including Facebook and Twitter, text messages and phone, about key topics of concern. For the first time, the candidates will have platform to share their agenda with the nation in a live-televised format, laying out specific and concrete solutions. The debate is tentatively scheduled for the last week of March, 2011.
“It is easy for politicians to promise change without having a clue about the realities Nigerian youth face every day. However, we know that their decisions now will largely determine our future so we want to know where they stand. This time around, we are engaged, aware and empowered, and believe that our vote should be earned and not expected,” the group said in a joint statement.
The group’s mission started on January 11th, 2011, with the #IfNaijaVotes donate your status initiative, prompting Nigerians across the globe to voice their predictions on the nation’s prospects if free and fair elections are held, The group now seeks to further educate the Nigerian youth on the missions and motives of presidential aspirants and will continue to collaborate on various initiatives to drive voter awareness and participation. More details on participating groups for the initiative can be found on the group’s website,. Please visit the group’s website at www.whataboutusnigeria.org to select the Presidential candidates you will like to see in the debate. Also, like the group on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/whataboutusnigeria
Vote or Quench (www.VoteorQuench.org) is a social media-driven, grassroots campaign created to empower, engage and involve Nigerian youth – at home and in the Diaspora –in the political process.
EnoughisEnough Nigeria (www.eienigeria.org) is a coalition of individuals and youth organizations committed to instituting a culture of good governance and public accountability in Nigeria through advocacy, activism and the mobilization of the youth population as responsible citizens. The coalition includes The Future Project, Light Up Nigeria, Paradigm Initiative and Kudirat Initiative for Democracy (KIND).
Nigeria Leadership Initiative (www.NLI-Global.org) is a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network. It is a platform for credible, accomplished and uniquely patriotic Nigerians to develop and express values-based leadership skills with the aim of assuming a transformative role in the continuous development of Nigeria.
Sleeves Up! (www.SleevesUp.org) is a non-governmental, non-profit and non-partisan organisation that presents a platform for the millions of young Nigerians across the nation and beyond that are tired of just “talking the talk”; young Nigerians ready to “walk the walk”. Our mission is to continuously plan, implement and sustain projects that will enable us build a solid network of like-minded young Nigerians who are resolved to being MASTERS of change not VICTIMS of change.
Wangonet (www.Wangonet.org) provides intellectual and ICT resources to NGOs, media, educational and cultural institutions, private sector clients.
Culture Shock: Nigerians in America (www.CultureShockNigerians.com) Hosted by Abimbola Ishola and Kunle Ayodeji, is a new talk radio show airing on Splash 105.5 FM in various Nigerian cities connecting Nigerians in Nigeria to Nigerians in America like never before.
Nigerian Diaspora Electoral Reform Group (www.NDERG.org) a US-based, non-profit non-governmental organization whose main aim is to work with Nigerians and friends of Nigeria within and outside of Nigeria towards participating in the political, social and electoral reforms in the country.
Tiwa Works (www.TiwaWorks.com) is an international marketing, promotions, and event planning firm that reaches across the 3 continents of North America, Europe and Africa.
Celebrating Progress Africa (www.CP-Africa.com) chooses to celebrate what is right about Africa. Through partnerships with organizations online and on the ground, they hope to create a paradigm shift amongst Africans everywhere and offer a space for inspiration and creativity.
Nigeria for Nigerians (www.Facebook.com/NigeriansforNigeria) Everything about Nigeria and Nigerians. Nigeria for Nigerians believe in the simple premise that Nigeria’s future is up to Nigerians.
Last Plane to Lagos (www.LastPlanetoLagos.com) is an online magazine featuring Events, Culture, Lifestyle, Music and Fashion by creative minds of African origin.
The Nigerian Eagle (www.theNigerianEagle.com) unites Nigerians around the world of all ages for the purpose of sharing opinions, views, beliefs, and suggested solutions for our country’s progress – then to educate and unite the next generation of Nigerians around the world to share their opinions, increase their interest and enlighten them of the great historical and present facts of our great Nation.
Youth Initiative for Advocacy, Growth and Advancement (www.yiaga.org) YAIA is a Jos-based youth-led non-governmental, non-political and non-religious organization that systematically aims to promote democracy and foster active youth participation in democratic and good governance processes.