Over the years, ONE’s policy and advocacy experts in Nigeria and across the world have been working on policy issues that Nigerian citizens taking part in our poll said mattered to them. Here is a summary of our analysis.
Nigeria is a youthful country. By 2030 its population is projected to reach 264 million, half of whom will be under the age of 25. The country faces a pivotal moment: if it harnesses this youth bulge successfully, it could turn it into a demographic dividend; if not, the challenges it faces could multiply. Although at least 3 million young Nigerians enter the workforce every year, only about 1.2 million jobs are created annually. To reduce Nigeria’s unemployment rate and absorb this youth bulge, 3.5 million new jobs need to be created every year. Increasing quality job opportunities – particularly through investing in the expansion of ‘high-multiplier’ sectors – will be key to achieving inclusive growth. Some of the key investment opportunities identified by ONE include agriculture, financial technology, the service sector and trade-oriented manufacturing, along with a need to improve the ease of doing business.
Siphoning off resources meant for the development of infrastructure and the delivery of services in the education, health, security and other sectors, corruption puts Nigeria’s collective future in jeopardy. Corruption disproportionately impacts the poor and marginalised – especially young people, women and children. Nigeria has made some key anti-corruption commitments over the past few years, including its first Open Government Partnership National Action Plan. Some progress has been made on these commitments, including the launch by the Bureau of Public Procurement of the Nigeria Open Contracting Portal (NOCOPO). ONE is calling on candidates putting themselves forward for election to subscribe to specific principles of transparency that prevent corruption and enhance government accountability, in particular to commit to transparency, open up budgets and strengthen anti-corruption institutions. Citizens also have a part to play in fighting corruption: the main section below on corruption outlines some ways to get involved.
Nigeria has one of the worst healthcare systems in Africa and also globally. One Nigerian woman dies every 13 minutes from preventable causes related to pregnancy or childbirth. For every 1,000 live births, 104 children under the age of five die. Life expectancy for the average Nigerian is just 53 years; only two other countries have lower life expectancies, Sierra Leone and the Central Africa Republic. Nigeria’s poor primary health care system perpetuates the health crisis in the country: only 20% of its 30,000 Primary Health Centres (PHCs) are functional. There is strong evidence that bolstering primary health care is a key first step towards universal health coverage (UHC). To #MakeNaijaStronger, ONE urges political candidates to commit to fully implementing the National Health Act of 2014 and ensuring transparency and accountability in the health sector.
Only about half of Nigerian adults are literate. There are particularly wide disparities in education between Northern and Southern Nigeria (fewer than half of Nigerians aged 15–24 in the North East and North West complete primary school, while nearly 100% of their peers in the South do); between the rich and the poor (only one in every five of the poorest Nigerians aged 15–24 completes primary school, but virtually all of the wealthiest Nigerians do); and between boys and girls (about 60% of out-of-school children in Nigeria are girls). With children under 15 years of age accounting for 45% of the population, the burden on education is enormous. To address Nigeria’s education challenges, ONE urges election candidates to commit to investing in better data, amending the Universal Basic Education Act, improving national enrolment rates, investing in quality teachers and rebuilding the North.
Despite steady growth in the agricultural sector, Nigeria is far from achieving Sustainable Development Goal 2 of zero hunger. One in every four Nigerians still lacks secure access to sufficient amounts of food. The number of undernourished people has been on the rise since 2011, increasing from 11 million to 14 million as of 2016. Nigeria also has the world’s second highest incidence of stunting. By 2050 it is set to become the third most populous country in the world, with about 411 million people. Feeding all these people will require a significant increase in food production. Nigeria’s poor food security and nutrition trends are a result of significant challenges in the agriculture sector, including climate change, low agricultural yields, limited access to finance for small-scale farmers, insufficient land rights and security, gender inequality and the high cost of doing business. To address the challenges in the agriculture sector, ONE calls on election candidates to commit to honouring the Malabo Declaration, improving the quality of public spending, investing in women and youth and improving the ease of doing business for the agriculture sector.
In the 2019 elections, there are no sides in the fight against extreme poverty.
Vote Your Future is a project of ONE Action, a nonpartisan, global advocacy and campaigning organization.
Vote your future
We, the youth of Nigeria, call upon all aspiring leaders to endorse our youth declaration.
We see mass unemployment, failing infrastructure, corruption, extreme poverty, the marginalisation of women and girls, broken promises. And we know our nation can do better.
We hope tomorrow will bring an opportunity to thrive, not just survive. Today we are nation builders who want to make Naija better.
Now we speak with one voice. United across tribe, religion and gender, we stand together and face those that try to divide us.
We pledge to Nigeria our country: to serve her with all our strength, to defend her unity, to uphold her honour and glory.
We ask that you listen to and collaborate with us. That you create 3 million jobs each year and tackle corruption, healthcare, education, gender discrimination, and agriculture; with investments and policies that unlock the potential of young Nigerians.
We promise to hold you accountable for your words and actions. We are more than half of the population and together we cannot be ignored.
We are the future. And the future is now.