An offshoot of the Brain Builders Youth Development Initiative (BBYDI), YVote Naija is committed to the objective of driving up the interaction and involvement of today’s Nigerian youth in politics, particularly at the grassroots level.
The YVote Fest was held on the 12th of November 2022 in Abuja. A democratic, non-partisan summit that featured vibrant and brilliant panels and musical performances, the convention of young, hopeful, and politically conscious Nigerians was the first of its kind.
The event kicked off with co-hosts Munirat Antoinette Lecky ‘Antolecky’ and Asari Ndem starting a conversation on political awareness, election and post-election consequences, and the significance of young Nigerians participating in politics. Antolecky who also gave the keynote speech emphasized the importance of everyone having their PVCs and making conscious, intentional electoral choices in the coming 2023 elections.
The event had 2 interactive panels. The first panel moderated by David Adeleke had Khloe Umoh, Emitomo Tobi Nimisire, Kasha Iliya, and Aderinola Odugbesan Thomas, and focused mostly on political awakening, especially in light of the current high-voltage electoral tension in the country. The panelists shared their perspectives about how harmful policies and laws made and implemented trickle down and affect the average man in their personal and day-to-day life.
The second panel was moderated by Murtala Abdullahi and the panelists included Jola Ayeye, Doreen Uloma Nwoke, Afolabi Adekaiyaoja, and Friday Odeh. The conversations revolved around conscious and informed voting, accountability from political leaders and lawmakers, media access to the government, and how young people can secure the democratic society that they deserve.
Some of the highlights of the panel conversations included insightful connections between the END SARS event and the current elevated political awareness space that young Nigerians now occupy. Clearly, the consequences of the decisions or inaction of people in power, no matter how minute or abstract they may seem, eventually affect us all. There were also multiple opinions about apathetic voters and how it is too expensive and somewhat selfish to shy away from political conversations, and ultimately, the coming elections. Being non-partisan in itself is a choice and a vote.
According to Jola Ayeye, while it is great to see many Nigerians, young and old, so invested in the coming 2023 elections, it is also important to manage our expectations and be realistic about the course that Nigeria would be taking, regardless of how the election results turn out.
The YVote Fest was however not just intense political conversations and debates. There was an inspiring spoken word performance by Iyanu Adebiyi, as well as a concert with fantastic performances from the energetic and bars dropping ISAH The Prince, Zilla Oaks, and Tomi, to the soulful music of Falana, who also performed a lifting duet with Laycon.