Youths engaged Law Maker in a virtual Town Hall Meeting

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In a bid to bridge the gap between the youths and the government, EngageGov, a non governmental organization has put together a virtual Town Hall Meeting with Hon. Ibrahim Ajani Owolabi, a member of Lagos State House of Assembly, representing Lagos Mainland 1. The virtual meeting that has close to 100 young people from across Nigeria in attendance took place on 17th of March, 2021.

The meeting started with a question from a participant known as Esther Ngwudo asking the “role of a state representative”. Hon. Owolabi replied, “the role of a state legislator is to deliberate and consider laws on the concurrent and the residual lists.” Another participant known as Ramota was curious if there were measures to keep elected officials in check. The Honourable response was; “We have the Code of Conduct that establishes our financial status before service and tracks our earning and assets over that period. We are also subject to scrutiny by the EFCC.”

EngageGov Founder, Jerry Odili said “we have to radically rethink the relationship between citizens and government. Civic engagement is too important to be something we do only at elections. Citizens need to constantly demand transparency and accountability from their elected representatives. It’s time for the government at all levels to adapt to the new technological age. With the explosion of smartphones and apps, we have the tools available.

“There’s a crisis of trust in the Nigerian democracy. Youth are losing faith in their elected leaders. Most young people have no idea how to get involved in government and community issues, how to contact their elected officials, or even know who their elected officials representing them are. We need more civic engagement to bridge the gap between the youth and the government. With more than a billion smartphones in use around the world, it is obvious that any government looking to build a relationship with the youth must consider digital platforms. The average youth who owns a smart device spends about 2.5 hours per day on the internet. This makes the internet an ideal vehicle to develop young people’s interest in governance.”

EngageGov is a non-governmental organization working to improve Nigerian youths’ participation in civic activities and build their capacity to usefully participate in the decision-making processes in their communities. EngageGov provides materials and the opportunities to educate young Nigerians on their civic responsibilities, their elected leaders’ duties, and connect them with their representatives.

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