As the countdown to the 2023 general election continues, Nigerian youth are calling on candidates at all levels to run issue-based campaigns and share their plans to transform the country for inclusive growth through job creation and healthcare strengthening. This call comes as The ONE Campaign launches “Vote Your Future 2.0,” a nonpartisan governance campaign aimed at uniting citizens across the country in the run-up to the general elections.
In 2019, ONE collaborated with UNICEF’s U-Report to survey 170,000 Nigerians across every state to ascertain the issues that were most important to them. More than half of the respondents wanted the government to address the issue of decent job creation to lift Nigerians out of extreme poverty, as well as healthcare accessibility and affordability. In its 2020 survey of Nigerian youth, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) found that the priorities of young people across Nigeria have not changed, with most of them still demanding decent jobs and healthcare improvement.
According to the Nigeria Bureau of Statistics, Nigeria’s combined unemployment and underemployment rate was 56% in 2020. Experts have also estimated that between 2 to 3 million young Nigerians will enter the workforce annually between now and 2030. With more than 60 percent of Nigerians estimated to be poor, creating decent jobs can ensure more economic productivity and go a long way in lifting many Nigerians out of poverty. Similarly, reports have shown that Nigeria’s health indicators are among the worst in Africa, dragging down the socio-economic indicators of the entire African continent due to its huge population. Health stakeholders and ordinary Nigerians have continued to voice concerns about the need to prioritise universal health coverage and ensure that basic healthcare is accessible to all Nigerians.
Stanley Achonu, Nigeria Country Director at The ONE Campaign, said: “The 2023 elections offer Nigeria a fresh start to address the issues that matter to its citizens, especially the millions of extremely poor and vulnerable. ONE’s Vote Your Future campaign aims to bring the issue of jobs for young people and universal health coverage for all citizens to the attention of the candidates and help the electorates prioritize them in deciding who gets their vote. As the 2023 general election campaigns continue, candidates at the federal and state levels must listen to the yearnings of the youth, who constitute the largest voting bloc, and discuss plans to effect the changes they are clamouring for around job creation and health systems strengthening.”
“Nigerians are eager to see ideas that tackle structural challenges hindering investment, entrepreneurship and private sector development, as well as plans to scale up investment in young people, redesign existing empowerment programs, and improve the business environment. Similarly, in healthcare, COVID has already exposed some gaps in Nigeria’s healthcare system and the need for emergency preparedness. Candidates must demonstrate their commitment to improving healthcare by discussing plans on healthcare financing and strengthening primary healthcare across the country.”
Nigerians can join the citizen’s call to hold Nigerian leaders accountable for resolving the country’s issues via https://www.one.org/voteyourfuture/.