Building on momentum from a mass voter registration drive, a coalition of several youth empowerment groups and blogs 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 our website, www.whataboutusnigeria.org or Facebook page, www.facebook.com/whataboutusnigeria. Attend the virtual event here: http://yrn.me/ydevent