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July 17, 2024

NGO Promotes Democratic Discourse Among Kano Students

By Mustapha Salisu

On Thursday, a non-governmental organization Gatefield Impact launched its inaugural project, “Engaging Students in Democratic Discourse Across Nigeria,” also known as FRAME Democracy, at Bayero University, Kano.

This initiative aims to promote public dialogue among students regarding the state of democracy in Nigeria. The event attracted academics, seasoned journalists, and industry leaders.

Mahmoud Jafar, a representative from Gatefield Impact, emphasized in his welcome address that the project aims to offer students across Nigeria’s six geopolitical zones a platform for open dialogue and debate.

“This will deepen their understanding of democratic principles and enhance their resilience against authoritarian influences” he stated.

Jafar detailed that the FRAME Democracy Project involves a series of two-hour sessions held at higher education institutions. These forums, named “Frame Democracy,” are designed to promote discussions among students about democratic values and the challenges they face.

Prof. Kamilu Sani Fagge from the Department of Political Science at Bayero University, Kano, initiated the roundtable discussion by discussing the distortions in Nigeria’s democracy over the past 25 years.

He identified several factors hindering democratic progress, including the high costs of elections, the evolving role of youth in politics since independence, weak democratic institutions, lack of democratic culture, problems of cabals among several factors.

Prof. Fagge also addressed contemporary issues affecting Nigeria’s democratic development such as Constitutional reforms, good governance, electing credible people and granting youths access to political processes.

On his part, Prince Daniel Aboki, Kano Programmes Manager of Arewa, Wazobia, and Cool FM Radio stations, questioned Nigeria’s democratic progress since 1999. He emphasized the importance of freedom of speech and expression as core elements of the democratic process.

Also speaking, Dinatu Emmanuel Ishaku, Founder of Kasham Girls, Women, Youth, and Community Development Network (KGWYCD), highlighted the significant role of women in democracy.

She advocated for the active participation of women in decision-making and politics to achieve equality, sustainable development, peace, and democracy, despite the challenges women face in active politics.

Speaking to newsmen shortly after the event, Dr. Muhammad Mustapha Yahaya, Executive Director of Dispute Resolution & Development Initiative (formerly DAG), admonished youth to understand that they are a significant sector of every society because they constitute the majority and serve as a bridge between elders and the upcoming generation.

In order to change the narrative of democracy in Nigeria for 25 years, Dr. Mustapha said, youths need to participate in politics by registering with a political party, getting a voters card, as well as voting.

He advised them not to be allowed to become drug addicts, to be used by politicians for spreading mayhem during elections.

Dr. Mustapha also urged the youths to have religious tolerance, By doing so, they can bring about positive change and shape the future of Nigeria’s democracy.

Also speaking, Dr. Sa’idu Ahmad Dukawa, Head of the Department of Public Administration at Bayero University Kano, discussed the dilemmas facing Nigerian youth, emphasizing their disorganization and limited access to political engagement.

He questioned whether political education could address these issues and suggested that while political education alone may not solve all problems, it can lay the groundwork for improvements.

Dr. Dukawa concluded that youth engagement is crucial for peace-building, community development, and economic growth in Nigeria’s democratic process.

He stressed that actively involving youth in governance is essential to solving the country’s numerous problems, noting that well-supported youth are less likely to join gangs or engage in illicit activities.

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Mustapha Salisu

Mustapha Salisu is a graduate of BSc. Information and Media Studies from Bayero University Kano, with experience in Communication Skills as well as Public Relations.

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