Nigerian Youths Record Success As Not Too Young To Run Bill Passes In 24 states
The not too young to run bill seeking to amend some sections of the 1999 Constitution to reduce the age limits eligibility for elective offices in Nigeria, known as the Not Too Young To Run bill, has gotten the minimum requirement of 24 states amounting to a two-thirds majority of the 36 states in the country.
The not too young to run bill is aimed at enhancing and giving the youths ability to fully be a participant in the political terrain as well as contest elective positions in the country.
Recall that in July 2017, the two national legislative chambers had passed the amendment bill leaving the remaining legislative process in the hands of the states’ Houses of Assembly.
However, despite the bill meeting the required number, there still lies the principle guiding the process of constitutional amendments that requires that the president signs the bill to finally make it a law.
The bill met the required two-thirds majority of the 36 states (24 states) when Plateau and Anambra states passed the amendment on Thursday.
The Youth Initiative for Advocacy, Growth & Advancement (YIAGA), which has been an ardent promoter of the bill, appraised the states which passed the bill stating that they have been inaugurated into the Not Too Young To Run Hall of Fame for voting in tune with the Nigerian aspirations.
It wrote, “By this singular act, Nigerian youth have made history and written their names in gold. The passage of Not Too Young To Run is a demonstration of the commitment to the tenets of representative democracy.”
“We commend them for fulfilling their promise to their constituents and the Nigerian youth. Nigerian youth will always remember them for showing leadership in promoting youth inclusion in democratic politics in Nigeria. Posterity will be fair to them.”
The group, at a press conference on Friday further urged the state assemblies to quickly conclude the task in order to facilitate quick transmission to the President in order to sign it into law.
They said, “We call on the National Assembly to transmit the constitutional amendment to President Muhammadu Buhari for assent as soon as the bill is received from the state assemblies.”
Earlier, Ondo, Adamawa, Kwara, Benue, Nasarawa, Borno, Delta, Enugu, Ekiti, Katsina, Yobe, Gombe, Kebbi, Akwa Ibom, Enugu, Kaduna, Kogi, Ogun, Ondo, Niger, Bauchi, Jigawa and Ebonyi states had supported the bill.
The bill is at present pending at the legislative houses of Kano, Sokoto, Zamfara, Rivers, Bayelsa, Imo, Oyo, Osun, Edo, Cross River, and Lagos states respectively. The bill was however rejected by the Taraba State House of Assembly.
The bill seeks the following amendments; that section 131(b) changed to reduce the qualified age to contest as president if he has attained the age of 35 years, as governor if the person has attained 30 years, and Section 65 (a&b) changed to reduce the ages for the Senate and the House of Representatives to 25 years respectively.
The group also inaugurated Taraba State into the Not Too Young To Run Hall of Shame, describing its action against the bill as a major setback for Nigeria’s democracy and hoped that “it will be the only state in the Hall of Shame.”
The group further urged Taraba State youths to vote out “the 11 lawmakers who voted against the will of the young people.”
Speaking at the conference, a lawmaker, Tony Nwulu, who sponsored the bill in the House of Representatives, frowned at the Taraba State house of assembly for voting against the bill, stressing that “It is not about party or individual politics; it is about getting young people more involved in politics.”
“Politicians go out to lobby and mobilise youth to vote. If they are good enough to vote you to power, why aren’t they good enough to be voted for?’ he said.
In the same vein, the convener, Samson Itodo, further called on the various political parties to uphold the principles of transparency in the election. “We note that parties can undermine and jeopardise youth candidacy during election when party primaries are not transparent”, he said
He also urged the President to assent to the bill as soon as possible. He also commended and thanked the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara and other lawmakers at the National Assembly who supported the not-too-young-to-run-bill.
“We call on the president to assent to the constitutional amendment bill especially the Age Reduction Bill as soon as the bills are transmitted to him for assent. Should the president delay or decline to assent the bill, we call on the National Assembly to veto the president,” the group stated.
Itodo further announced that the intention of the group to mark March 14, 2018, as a National Day of Action for Presidential Assent. He, therefore, calls on all the youths “to join a march to the Presidential Villa and constructively engage the president to assent the bill.”