Nigerian entertainers have called on Nigerian youths to help actualise the change they desperately desire in the Nigerian political space by actively participating in the voting process.
They made the call during a youth panel discussion organised by the Public Affairs division of the United States Consulate in collaboration with HipTV on February 9th, 2023.
The event, which was held at the American Corner in Ikeja, Lagos, was moderated by the Gift David, a presenter at HipTv.
In attendance were many notable figures such as Assistant Secretary of the US Bureau of African Affairs Molly Phee, and others in the Nigerian entertainment industry, such as comedian Ayo Makun (AY), reality TV star Laycon, and dancer Kafayat Oluwatoyin Shafau also known professionally as Kaffy.
The US consular General, Will Stevens, the Public Affairs Officer of the U.S Consulate Joe Kruzich and other notable personalities also attended the event.
More details: The discussion centred around the topic of youth involvement in the democratic process, including the role of women in politics and the influence of Nollywood on democracy in Nigeria.
The U.S. consular General, Will Stevens, and the Public Affairs Officer U.S. Consulate, Joe Kruzich, were also in attendance.
The panel emphasized the importance of youth involvement in the democratic process, the need for a fair and peaceful election, and the role of Nollywood in promoting democracy in Nigeria. The panel also touched on the need for women to participate in the political process and the significance of having like-minded individuals in political office.
What the celebs said: AY said that the high number of registered young voters demonstrates the importance of their involvement in the democratic process. He also emphasized the significance of the upcoming election, saying that it will be the most consequential in Nigerian democratic history.
- “With many youths now being registered to vote, it demonstrates that the youths should be involved in the democratic process. Previously, Nigerian youths had a lackadaisical attitude. We had always believed that our votes don’t count. But now we are advocating collectively,” he said.
Kaffy expressed pride in the high number of people collecting their permanent voter cards and encouraged Nigerians to use their votes to create change. She also encouraged women to break down the barriers preventing them from contesting for elected positions.
- “My advice to Nigerians is that we cannot change with the former ideology. If you want to change you have to do something different because you have the power to force leadership to do the right thing. However, if we are all complacent it wouldn’t happen,” she added.
Meanwhile, Laycon emphasized the need for like-minded individuals in the Senate, House of Representatives, and the Presidency.
Commitment to fair elections: In her remarks, Molly Phee emphasized the importance of a peaceful and fair election and stressed that the US government will impose visa restrictions on any individual who undermines the electoral process. She added:
- “The United States admires good leadership and is here to ensure the election is peaceful. The US is only here to monitor the electoral process as we don’t have a preferred party or candidate.
- “Democracy encompasses diversity where everybody is equal under the law. Nigeria needs to keep the flame of democracy burning.
- “The young Nigerian population means you will be in the top tier of the international community so it’s important to get it right”.