Baywood Foundation partners AU, others, on youth participation in governance initiative
Baywood Foundation, one of Nigeria’s leading NGOs with a widely acclaimed track record for significant contributions to the socio-economic development of Nigeria. The thematic areas of Baywood Foundation are Advancement of Youth causes, healthcare, education and economic well-being. Consequently, over 100, 000 indigent community people have been supported by the Foundation with 100 percent free diagnostic, consultative, pharmaceutical, referral and follow-up services. A minimum of four (4) communities benefit annually from these comprehensive and free medical outreaches in the last 1O years.
Speaking at a press conference held at the Regent Suites Ikeja GRA, Emperor Chris Baywood Ibe, the founder of Baywood Foundation said the believes this partnership is a ground-breaking pan-african initiative.
The press conference was organized to reveal what the Foundation has been doing as it is very much committed to carrying out several interventions in other sectors including Education and infrastructural development. Amongst other philanthropic activities, Baywood Foundation constructed a 9km-asphalted road which traverses several communities namely Agbogugu, Isu-Awaa, Agbudu and Ihe town, all in Agwu Local Government Area of Enugu State.
According to Baywood, the foundation has worked extensively and has been able to detect three areas of challenges in Nigerian youths: Neglect/ Abandonment of Youths, Lack of Engagement with the Youths, and No Collaboration with the Youths.
"All these have culminated in lack of opportunities for the youths to actively participate in Governance. These problems are lamentable, anti-democratic including the exclusionist disposition of African leaders who capitalize on ethnic, religious as well as socio-economic divisions in their countries to perpetuate themselves in office. The african continent is riddled with Presidents who have spent over 35 years in office and are aiming for 40 years or more. The statistics in this regard make for very sober reflection indeed, hence the clarion call for affirmative action. The consequences of this characteristic of African leaders has led to the gross socio-economic under-development of Africa, corruption, genocides and the exclusion of many generations of youths from governance," said Baywood.
He also commended President Buhari who signed the “Not Too Young To Run” bill in 2018 to reduce the age limits across political offices, including the Presidency. This, he said, is a step in the right direction but is however not enough because it does not address the systemic constraints to youth participation in governance.
He also explained that age limits are a common barrier to young people seeking political office in Africa. But a few African countries are doing better even though he affirmed that the situation is unacceptable and much more needs to be done.
"Only a few countries such as Guinea, Uganda, Kenya, Mozambique and South Africa have the same minimum age limit for voting and seeking office, according to the International Parliamentary Union (IPU). Globally, only 2% of lawmakers are under the age of 30, a figure even less in Africa, where only 1.2% of lawmakers/policy makers are 30 years or below. Indeed, high age limits explain the conundrum of aged Presidents on a continent that is home to the world’s ten youngest countries. This is totally unacceptable and a major constraint to youth participation in governance."
Before he ended his remarks, Baywood relates the strides that the Foundation has taken in the past several years as "Baywood Foundation engaged with key stakeholders across broad-ranging demographics in Nigeria to mobilize and galvanize youths, supported and funded relevant initiatives including a widely heralded book called BEYOND RHETORIC which is a clarion call for affirmative action and not mere lip-service. At the launch of BEYOND RHETORIC in Lagos, the major highlight was for the demand for the adoption of 3O% affirmative action on youths."
About Baywood Foundation
Baywood Foundation was established in 2005 and incorporated by the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) in 2014. It is also incorporated by the State of Florida, USA and has 501c3 status which makes Baywood Foundation eligible for international donors and sponsors because of the tax-exemptions.
Baywood Foundation was set up to support populations and communities plagued by poverty, unemployment, poor healthcare access, illiteracy, marginalization and exclusion. It has from inception been exclusively funded from personal and family resources.
By Jude Chukwuemeka