The Executive Governor of Kogi State, His Excellency, Yahaya Bello says his administration will continue to provide opportunities for women and youths in the state to meaningfully engage them towards self-actualisation.

Bello disclosed this while delivering a keynote address as Special Guest of Honour at a 2-day Annual Roundtable on Cultural Orientation (ARTCO), organized by the National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO) in Lokoja with the theme: “Culture in Consolidation of Nigeria’s Democracy: The Role of Women & Youths”.

Represented by the Special Adviser on SDG’s, Arc. Ahmed Abdulmumeen Okara, the Governor said the state government is determined to take proactive measures towards involving women and youths in democratic governance to chart a cause for the transformation and development of Kogi State.

According to him,

rather than relegate the youths particularly to the background, it is time to open up to new ideas by giving them the 

chance to lead. In his words “It is rather unfortunate that with the large population of youths and the kind of influence they can weigh on national development; they are relegated to the background. It is time that with the Not Too You

ng to Run Law, we in Nigeria open ourselves to new ideas by giving the youths the chance to lead”.

“Here in Kogi state, we work to advance young people’s participation in civic and political life, their economic empowerment and their role as peace and resilience-builders”.

He maintained that if the youths are meaningfully engaged, it will not only give them the opportunity to unleash their full potentials but also determine the prospects for sustainable development and peace in the country.

The Governor who decried the dismal level of women participation in politics, saying it has failed to meet the 30% representation of women in the country’s parliament as declared in Beijing, China in 1995, described as unfortunate, the many corrective measures adopted to address the low participation of women in Nigerian politics but have proved abortive due to socio-economic, cultural and political factors that have continued to limit women participation without addressing them decisively.

He therefore called for an electoral bill that will explicitly specify the guidelines for modalities and implementations of affirmative actions that will enhance women’s empowerment.

On his part, the Honourable Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed who was represented by the Deputy Director, Festival and Carnivals, Mrs. Memunat Idu-Lah, said the present administration of President Mohammadu Buhari place premium on the role of women and youths in the nations democracy, adding that there are steps taken by government to eliminate all forms of discrimination against women in the nation’s political processes.

Lai Mohammed who expressed satisfaction with the theme of the programme centred on the role of women and youths in the consolidation of the nation’s democracy maintained that the Not Too Young to Run law recently signed by President and the N-Power Scheme among others are specially designed to enhance youth empowerment and active involvement in the democratic process.

In his words “I wish to reiterate the commitment of the present administration to the promotion and consolidation of Nigeria’s democracy. This has been clearly demonstrated by the creation of enabling environment for institutions of democracy to freely and effectively discharge their constitutional responsibilities”.

“Democracy is endangered when elections are characterized by violence, ballot box snatching, thuggery, rigging and all forms of manipulations and government has stepped up its youth and voter education campaigns through relevant agencies”.

Other dignitaries present at the event were the Commissioner for Culture and Tourism, Dr. Paul Ejibe; Commissioner for Women Affairs, Hon. Mrs. Bolanle Amupitan who represented the First Lady of Kogi State; Pioneer Director-General, National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), Dr. Tom Adaba; Acting Executive Secretary, NICO, Mr. Louis Eriomala; Head of Theatre Department, University of Maiduguri, Professor Sunnie Ododo; Dean Faculty of Arts, Federal University, Lokoja, Professor David Irefin; Dr. Sunday Ogbu Igbaba of the Theatre and Cultural Studies Department, Nasarawa State University, Keffi; Professor Awam Menegbe  and Dr. Patrick Ukase of the Kogi State University, Ayingba.

Caleb Nor

Media Asst.-Ag. ES