At LABAF, young people share tips on how to win elections In Africa

CORA Programme Chair Jahman Anikulapo (left) Dayo Israel, Okechukwu ofili, Vimbai Mutinhiri, Debola Williams and Tolulope Balogun at the event.

As part of activities for this year’s Lagos Book And Art Festival (LABAF), which ended on Sunday at the Freeedom Park, Lagos, StateCraft Inc., the nation-building arm under RED in conjunction with the Committee for Relevant Art (CORA) hosted young and politically aware Nigerians at a symposium centered on youth involvement in elections and the creation of our next world order.

The session was preceded by a reading from How to Win Elections in Africa: Parallels with Donald Trump, the new book by the co-founders of RED, Chude Jideonwo and Adebola Williams, which provides a comprehensive guide to understanding the key factors that contribute to the success or otherwise of any elections using examples from their frontline roles in the election of three presidents in Nigeria and Ghana as well as global epochal events like the election of Donald Trump and the Brexit vote.

As the session, Adebola Williams, who set the tone for the day, read one of the chapters of the book, ‘Demographics always matter’ to the audience and proceeded to give a more detailed background understanding of the importance of “a galvanised action for national good by 65% of Nigeria’s 190 million population” in an interview conducted by TV host Vimbai Mutinhiri from Zimbabwe.

Moderated by Tolulope Adeleru Balogun of Nigeria Info, interactive session followed immediately after, with Dayo Israel, an International Development Specialist and Lagos-based politician, Okechukwu Ofili, the CEO and founder of Okada Books, Vimbai Mutinhiri and Adebola Williams offering varying perspectives, based on their respective areas of expertise, on the importance youth participation in building a stable and accountable government in Nigeria (and any country).

While youth apathy in Zimbabwe, in the opinion of Ms Mutinhiri, has contributed to the 30-year long leadership of the Southern African nation by one man, Mr Williams and Mr Israel gave practical examples of how youth involvement helped unseat incumbents in Nigeria and Ghana during the respective 2015 and 2016 elections.

Despite these recent developments in West Africa, Mr Ofili offered the caution that the youth must not relent as they often seem to once the elections are over as well as the importance of ensuring we keep elected officials on their toes with the use of social media. The conversation ended with a promise that the conversation will be re-ignited at a later date owing to the passionate response from the audience.

However, elder arts man and politician Ben Tomoloju cautioned that though demography is key to winning election, understanding the characteristic of the demography makes the difference.

The book, which was launched last week, at Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut has begun a tour around the United States of America. On Thursday, 9 November, 2017, Chude Jideonwo was hosted by the Africa in Ohio platform of Ohio University for a reading from the new book. The book tour is scheduled to continue in Washington D.C, Pennsylvania and neigbouring country, Canada.

Back home, the book will continue its tour around Nigeria with a stop at the upcoming Ake Festival this week in Abeokuta, Ogun State. The conversation will be about the extreme need for more female involvement in politics especially in Nigeria.



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