Mr. Mark Amaza is the Lead Strategist (communication) at Power for All, a global campaign for market development of distributed renewable energy. In that capacity, the Environmental Management expert uses his strong advocacy skills to make a case for clean renewable energy.
But that is not his only passion. Mark is in the strategic team of Not-Too-Young-To-Run, the initiative that recently got Nigeria's National Assembly to dismantle the age barrier that has for years excluded many young people from running for elective offices in Nigeria. Mark and his team saw the minimum constitutional age requirement for most elective posts as a design to exclude young people from the political process. But thanks to the campaign, the eligible age for each office has now been reduced by five years, thus widening the political space for more young people to come in.
It was on the platform of the Not-Too-Young-To-Run campaign that Mark participated in the recent AU-EU Youth Summit, October 9-10, in Abidjan, Ivory Coast. Not surprisingly, his focal area was political inclusion, democratic governance and activism. He thinks any forum that brings youths of the two continents together will serve as a useful learning curve. "Young people in Africa and Europe face pretty similar challenges of job creation, economic growth and involvement in the democratic process, which is my core focus," he says.
According to him, the youth could learn from each other's experience and adapt it to their local contexts. Back in Nigeria, Mark is already doing that. He has created a forum for sharing the experience gained at the Summit, thanks to social media. "Some of this experience applies not only to the Not-Too-Young-To-Run movement, but also to other youth groups. I have been sharing with them on how to organise and advocate their position on issues that affect them," he says.
Mark has always been fascinated with politics. He uses his platforms as a blogger and social media activist to show how young people can get involved in politics, and is happy with the result. More young people are talking about politics and getting involved in the political process. Yet he is not relenting: "We need to have more young people at the decision-making table because as a youth-majority country, it will not be fair if they don’t participate in decisions that affect them."
Youth leaders can participate in the conference online by following the hashtag #AUEUYPII on the Facebook and Twitter. They equally can visit www.aueuypii.org to contribute to the youth agenda.