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Sussex student urges young Nigerians to take part in politics
University of Sussex postgraduate student Ukachi Chukwu has called on young people from Nigeria to join a political party and run for public office.
Ukachi, who is studying Media and Film at Sussex, was speaking at an event on campus last week to mark the annual Nigeria Democracy Day.
On 31 May, Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari signed into law the Not Too Young To Run bill, which encourages younger candidates to stand for election.
Voting will no longer be enough, argued Ukachi, who played a very prominent lobbying role in the campaign to press for introduction of the new legislation.
“It’s time to become part of the change we desire,” she said. “By not actively getting involved in politics, we, as young people, sabotage ourselves and ultimately bear the brunt of bad leadership.”
Ukachi’s views were supported by the Nigerian High Commissioner to the UK, who was guest of honour at the celebrations held by the Sussex Nigerian Society on Thursday (7 June).
George Oguntade said: “To fulfil its potential and find its rightful place in the comity of nations, Nigeria must promote inclusive governance in which the country’s youth play a pivotal role.”
His Excellency thanked Adam Tickell, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sussex, and his colleagues for their “tireless work over the years of tutoring and mentoring generations of Nigerian youths for the benefit of our dear country and the world at large”.
“I am hopeful that ongoing collaborations between Sussex and sister institutions in Nigeria will be sustained,” the High Commissioner added.
In response, Professor Tickell said that the University of Sussex is very proud of its association with Nigeria: “We really are committed to working in Nigeria and with Nigeria for the long term. We would love you to continue to keep in touch with us, and work with us while you are back home in Nigeria, so we can help support the development of Nigeria.”
Professor Bugewa Apampa, Director of Pharmacy at Sussex, was keynote speaker for the day. Arguing that “a democracy is as strong the education of the people”, she called for an improvement in Nigeria’s educational system, a voting system that is connected to wisdom, and a narrowing of the gulf between rich and poor.
The High Commissioner was accompanied on his visit by Emmanuel Namah, the Commission’s Minister of Education and Welfare, and S.A. Paramole, the First Secretary of Education and Welfare.
- The event was covered in Nigeria's independent online newspaper, The Cable, with a report by Mayowa Tijani, a current Chevening Nigeria scholar at Sussex and an award-winning journalist. Mayowa's article was illustrated with photos by Sussex student Tunde Alabi-Hundeyin II.