A website called What About Us Nigeria notes that 70 percent of the population of Nigeria is under 30, according to a 2006 census. Considering that America’s experiencing the continued aging of its baby boomer population right now, the fact that Nigeria’s population is so young is a bit mindboggling.
One of the universal concerns of many youth advocacy groups in Nigeria is that the country’s government isn’t necessarily receptive to the young population. What About Us Nigeria is a group effort by 18 youth advocacy groups to stage Nigeria’s first youth-oriented presidential debate. The debate will be televised on Nigeria’s Channels TV and streamed on a number of websites; the groups are encouraging young folks to have viewing parties at home, in restaurants or bars, or any place where there’s a television or a computer.
While some high-profile candidates like Goodluck Jonathan have yet to confirm their appearances, it’s important to note that this will be one of the first televised debates that presidential candidates in Nigeria have ever held, as the Washington Post notes. America’s equivalent of this kind of event—a live debate in front of youthful participants—happened in 1992, in the studios of MTV, when then-candidate Bill Clinton answered questions such as “did you inhale?” As that 1992 discussion is still remembered and talked about today, one can only hope that this debate tomorrow will have the same, lasting effect both on Nigeria’s youth and the country as a whole.