YIAGA AFRICA, – a non-profit civic hub of change makers committed to the promotion of democratic governance , human right, accountability, and youth participation; with support from the Department for International Development (UKAID), undertook an assessment of youth candidates’ campaign activities to identify their Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT). The SWOT analysis was designed to facilitate evidence based and constructive engagement with youth candidates running for office in the 2019 elections….. It gave me great joy to attend this event.
I must really commend the great work YIAGA is doing to ensure that state and non-state actors with relevant tools and knowledge for enhancing sustainable democracy and development in Africa is empowered. Now this SWOT analysis presents an outlook on the preparedness, setbacks, the bargaining power of youth candidates and their political parties as it relates to the 2019 general elections. YIAGA used this information to improve campaigns and enhance the chances of success of youth candidates in the 2019 elections.
Non government organizations (NGOs) and development partners should focus interventions on youth candidates with defined campaign structures in their constituencies. Such interventions should evolve from consultation with local stakeholders. – YIAGA Africa
According to the report, although these candidates faced threats like : electoral malpractices, destruction of candidates’ billboards, posters and fliers, verbal attacks and physical violence, conflict between them and leaderships of their political parties, competition against opponents with strong financial war chest, challenged with weaknesses like inadequate funding/inability to access enough funds, unpopularity of a youth candidate’s party platform, political inexperience, gender, religious and ethnic discrimination and candidates’ inability to meet with local community or constituency associations, there were still strengths like: the popularity of youths candidates, projects undertaken by the youth candidates in their various constituencies, personal leadership qualities, candidates visibilities, financial backing and strong party structures, unpopularity of incumbents, popularity of youth candidates’ platforms as opportunities
Now, what struck me the most is the “availability and access to social media as a tool of mass communication” which actually was tagged as a strength and helped this young candidates reach a global audience. To be frank, some of the young candidates I have never met, or known but thanks to social media I can say I know a certain percentage of who they are and what they stand for. However, YIAGA Africa recommends that social media is not in itself sufficient, that youth candidates should organize face-to-face meetings and adopt a door-to-door approach in their political campaigns, as interpersonal engagements are valuable for political campaigns. Visiting community leaders in their constituency, for instance, would increase visibility to local elders and enhance the seriousness with which the later view campaigns by youth candidates.
They also added that political parties demonstrate commitment to youth inclusion by providing direct technical and funding support to youth candidates; while electoral stakeholders like political parties, civil society groups and youth groups need to develop a leadership capital development strategy aimed at recruiting and grooming leaders and facilitating political and leadership transition at all levels.
The Report was presented by the Coordinator, YIAGA Africa Centre For Legislative Engagement, Dr Ernest Ereke and the Organisations Senior Research Officer, Safiya Bichi who revealed that “the Report was taken from 334 purposively sampled youth candidates on YIAGA Africa Ready to Run Online Platform, 5 interest group leaders and 37 field researchers trained and deployed to 34 states of the federation to study the campaigns of 99 Candidates from 36 political parties”. Access the report here.
And yes, I went with my girls – Oby and Nneka!