Impact of the Commonwealth Partnership for Democracy programme on the Young Parliamentarians Forum
The Young Parliamentarians Forum (YPF) of the National Assembly Nigeria was represented at the recently held Commonwealth Partnership for Democracy (CP4D) Conference on “Inclusive Politics in Practice in the Commonwealth” which took place on the 4th to the 6th of March 2020 in Westminster, London.
The Forum was represented by the Chairman YPF, Rep. Kabir Ibrahim Tukura; the Vice Chairman, Rep. Babajide Ibrahim Obanikoro and the Clerk of the Forum, Dr Bello Olatunji.
WFD has been partnering with the Young Parliamentarians Forum for the last three years to advance inclusion and participation of young persons in decision-making processes in Nigeria.
The Conference was an opportunity for the leaders of the Forum to showcase the various projects and programmes that had been implemented in the last three years and milestones that had been achieved including:
- Drafting and launching the Operational Guideline of the Forum in 2018. The project gave the Youth Inclusion Project an official recognition by the leadership of the Nigerian Parliament, who were also made patrons of the Forum at the official launch.
- Drafting and launching of the YPF Action Plan. The project charted a path on which the Inclusion Project has progressed in the last two years, and it also allowed for easy transition from the 8th to the 9th National Assembly as it relates to the Young Parliamentarians Forum.
YPF Members experience
The conference was also an opportunity to learn from leaders, champions and actors of inclusive politics, especially within the Commonwealth and specifically in developing democracies similar to Nigeria.
The Conference exposed the Nigerian delegates to the strategies adopted by other parliaments especially the constitutional approaches as it relates to having binding constitutional quotas or reserved seats in parliament for young people, women and people with disabilities to be fully represented in the decision making process and leadership and to achieve sustainability.
The conference also highlighted the importance of building and maintaining independent oversight institutions and regionally solving local problems using the Commonwealth Association of Public Accounts Committee as an instrument of achieving the development goal. The presentations and interactive debates were of great importance to the representatives of the YPF Nigeria.
The Nigeria delegates are members of the Appropriation and the Public Accounts Committee in parliament, therefore it was educative sharing experiences with other delegates on how oversight performance can be improved upon using the CP4D recommended approaches which included capacity building and financial independence which had been implemented in developing Parliaments in Africa with positive results.
One of the targets of the YPF Action Plan for the year 2020, is to achieve the participation of people living with disability (PWDs) in the decision-making process at different levels of leadership in Nigeria. Therefore, the session on Breaking down Barriers for Persons with Disabilities: working with lawmakers led by the Association of People with Disabilities from Mozambique was an eye-opener. The session presented another perspective to the inclusion clause. The YPF now realizes the importance of taking the representation of PWD to the rural areas because of the abandoned PWD population in these areas.