A group of young parliamentarians from Nigeria travelled to Ghana on 27 November to help their counterparts set up a forum of young MPs. This sharing of best practices followed on from the IPU Regional Conference of Young Parliamentarians of Africa, which took place from 27 to 28 September in Abuja. The conference inspired young MPs from Ghana to set up their own forum and they called upon their Nigerian peers for support.
The Nigerian delegation was led by MP Raphael Igbokwe, President of the Forum of Young MPs in Nigeria and former Board member of the IPU Forum of Young Parliamentarians. He said that a national forum of young MPs should be “a channel through which young people can express their grievances and connect with the government, allowing for strong oversight to be exercised by the forum on youth-related issues”. By ensuring that the government takes on board the concerns of the younger generation, young MPs are giving a voice to young people in their respective countries and making them feel more involved in decisions that have an impact on their daily lives.
The Nigerian Forum of Young MPs has been particularly active in this area and is therefore well-placed to share good practices. For example, it spearheaded the campaign for youth participation in politics, #NotTooYoungToRun, which resulted in a bill lowering the age of eligibility to hold public office from 40 to 25 years. It has also been instrumental in resolving issues of concern affecting young people, such as a lack of funding for the Government’s National Youth Service Corps.
The IPU encourages this type of information exchange between parliaments and works to facilitate it, in this case through its Forum of Young Parliamentarians.