Nigeria is now more than 20 years into its fourth effort at democracy – its longest single stretch of hard-won civilian rule since it gained independence in 1960. This laudable achievement has however been undercut by the still lacking social contract between state and society and a stark accountability gap that is yet to be addressed. Governing in such a complex and diverse context, while concurrently building democratic institutions and diversifying an economy is a significant challenge. But the failures of successive civilian governments to deliver on promises, improve livelihoods or address injustices are further embedding distrust in the state and giving rise to frustrations expressed in different ways – for example in the recent #EndSARS protests.
The 2020 Ibrahim Governance Index shows that Nigeria has seen a decline in overall governance, ranking it 24th out of 54 countries. Around half of Nigeria’s 190 million people are under the age of 30: with limited or no memory of military rule, this large youth population increasingly understands and expects the rights, duties, freedoms and governance of a democracy. In search of security, jobs and better lives, this population has an enormous stake in how their country is governed.
At this event, speakers will discuss how young people engage in shaping governance in Nigeria, the avenues they have found to influence, the barriers they experience and how they can be overcome, and their ideas for improving governance systems and outcomes in the future.