The Nigerian House of Representatives says it is committed to passing the “Not Too Young To Run” bill, in order to lower the age requirements for elective offices.
This is to ensure youth inclusion in politics and leadership in the country.
The Speaker, Mr. Yakubu Dogara, stated this, while addressing the plenary session of the Nigerian Youth Parliament in Abuja.
Mr. Dogara stated that as elected representatives, their duty was to make sure that their constituents’ voices were heard, especially in the country with a youth population of over 60%.
He said it was as a result of that “we committed ourselves in our Legislative Agenda to give priority to necessary legislative interventions to promote equality and inclusion, and entrench the rights of women, youths and vulnerable groups in the society.”
The bill which seeks to alter sections 65, 106, 131 and 177 of the 1999 Constitution is aimed at reducing the age of eligibility for elective offices across board, and to introduce independent candidacy in the electoral process.
The Speaker stated that if the amendment scales through, the minimum age of eligibility for the elective offices will be modified, such that the age range for the Presidency would be reduced from 40 to 30 years; Governor – 35 to 30 years;Senate – 35 to 30 years and House of Representatives as well as State House of Assembly – 30 to 25 years.
Dogara however, said that while the Bill would not immediately correct the marginalization of young persons in Nigeria, it would however open up opportunities unavailable to young people in politics.
The Speaker maintained that a major challenge afflicting Nigeria’s youth population was unemployment.
“It is also my strong view that creativity and innovation are critical elements in engendering economic growth and development. Indeed, the world is open for the youths to excel, especially in the area of technological development. Nigerian Youths can compete strongly in the technological field in the new world economy. We only need better technological education, funding and exposure to best practices,” he stated.