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'We Are Ready for February 25': Nigerian Youth

FILE - People waiting to register to vote at a INEC voter registration exercise held in Abuja, June 23, 2022
FILE - People waiting to register to vote at a INEC voter registration exercise held in Abuja, June 23, 2022

A recent poll conducted by Nigerian civil society group the Anap Foundation found that approximately 82% of youth under the age of 35 in the West African nation said they will be casting their ballots in Saturday’s presidential election.

Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission recently announced that it had added over 9.5 million new names to the voter registry for the February 25 elections and that three-quarters of them were below the age of 35.

Political experts have deemed the upcoming presidential race historical following reports of Saturday’s election for the first featuring three main political contenders.

Experts add that Bola Tinubu of the ruling All People’s Congress (APC), Atiku Abubakar of the opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and Peter Obi of the Labor Party (LP) are among the presidential aspirants.

Amanda Iheme, a 30-year-old Nigerian clinical psychologist and first-time voter, said she will be voting for Peter Obi, who several experts have deemed favorite among the West African nation’s youth.

“We have Peter Obi who… is a sign of hope for many of us,” said Iheme.

The 30-year-old Psychologist also said the #EndSars Movement that witnessed nationwide and global protests calling for the end to police brutality in Nigeria, showed that youth have control over their vote.

“We are starting to realize that we do have some control over our voices and our vote,” she said.

Ojooluwa Ibiloye, the founder of RuralPro Nigeria, a non-partisan organization, echoed Iheme’s sentiments.

“In 2020, millions of Nigerian youths started a social movement against police brutality,” said Ibiloye.

“We said to ourselves ‘Enough is enough and we need police reform in the country!’ We took to the streets and used social media to amplify our voices,” he added.

Abdullahi Idris Turaki, a young Nigerian who is competing for the house of representative seat in Lokoja, Kogi Federal Constituency, called on all youth to vote for candidates who are best equipped to address their challenges.

“One of the projects I am currently running focuses on providing all youth a platform on which to support all young candidates running for public office, respective of their political affiliation,” said Turaki.

“This is important because all young candidates are representatives of the youth – so we must support each other,” he added.

VOA's Mike Hove contributed to this report. Some information was sourced by 300 minutes.