A coalition of 55 youth organisations across the country under the auspices of the ‘Not Too Young to Run Movement’ has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately sign the age reduction Bill within the next eight days as a democracy gift to Nigerians youths.
One of the conveners and the Executive Director of the Youth Initiative for Advocacy Growth and Advancement (YIAGA), Samson Itodo, made the appeal yesterday in Abuja when the coalition leaders briefed newsmen on the state of the passage of the bill.
The eventual signing of the bill into law after the amendment passed by the National Assembly and state assemblies reduces the qualifying age of the President from 40 to 35, House of Representatives from 30 to 25, state house of assembly from 30 to 25, while the age for the governor and senate was retained at 35.
According to him, it is imperative for youth inclusion especially as candidates for all elective positions, as it is not a matter for debate but a constitutional imperative for the nation’s democratic development.
“All eyes are on President Muhammadu Buhari for his assent to the ‘Not Too Young To Run’ Bill. The movement demand that the President gives his assent to the age reduction Bill within the next eight days as a democracy gift to young Nigerians whose only demand is to be included in the democratic process.
“That the president fulfills his commitment to youth development by assenting to the #NotTooYoungToRun Bill and the other Constitutional Amendment Bills. The movement also wishes to state here that the support from the youth will only come if the bill is speedily passed into law by Mr President,” Itodo said.
He recalled that the journey of the movement, which began in 2009, with the advocacy for age reduction in the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria has consistently organized youth demands for inclusion as candidates within the political space.
He said, “In May 2016 the campaign for age reduction in the 8th Assembly began with the constitution amendment process and the long journey has reached the last and final stage in the process with the successful passage of the Bill at both the National Assembly and State Assemblies and the onward transmission of the Bill to the President for presidential assent as required by the Constitution.
“The Movement is aware of the position of the law, which makes presidential assent a condition precedent for the passage of bills into law. In particular section 58 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), which provides inter alia ‘the power of the National Assembly to make laws shall be exercised by bills passed by both the Senate and the House of Representatives and, except as otherwise provided, assented to by the President’,” he said.
The groups are, Activista, Abuja Global Shapers, African Youth Initiative on Population, Health and Development (AfrYPoD), Connected Development (CODE), Dean Initiative, The Election Network, League of Progressive Ambassadors of Nigeria (LEPAN), Mind Capital, The Nigerian Youth Parliament, Orodata, Project Pink Blue, Social Good Nigeria, TechHer NG, The YALI Network, Youngstars Foundation, Youth Hub Africa, YIAGA Africa and Amplified Radio.
Also are Media Insight, Say No Campaign, Vision Alive Foundation, Abia; Youth Initiative for Better Change, Adamawa; Young Activists Initiative Nigeria, Akwa Ibom; Integrity Youth Development Initiative, Anambra; Centre for Environment, Human Rights and Development, Bayelsa; The Bridge Youth Development Foundation, Benue; Exit Lanes, Borno; After School Centre for Career Development, Cross River; DIG Foundation, Ebonyi; Connected Advocacy, Edo; Inspiration Care Centre, Ekiti; New Century Initiative, Enugu; Dandalin Matasa Initiative for Rapid Development, Gombe; Development Dynamics, Imo; Centre for Environmental Research and Development, Jigawa; and One Project Afrika. Kaduna.
Others are Centre for Advocacy in Gender and Social Inclusion, Kano; Youth Entrepreneurship Support Hub, Katsina; Youth Consensus Forum, Kebbi; Youth Emancipation for the Society (ProjectYES), Kogi; Brain Builders International, Kwara; Grassroots Mobilization Initiative, Nasarawa; Nigerian Young Professionals Forum, Niger; Youth Future Savers Initiatives, Ogun
Youth Aglow Initiative, Ondo; Kimpact Development Initiative, Osun; Young Care Initiative, Oyo; Centre for Youth Participation Advocacy, Plateau; Golden Star Development Initiative, Sokoto; Rural Integrated Development Initiative, Taraba; North East Youth Initiative Forum, Yobe; Golden Stars Development Initiative, Zamfara; Modaville Centre for Development, Lagos; National Organization for Citizens Orientation (NOCO), Rivers State; and Nigerian Youth Action (NYA), Rivers State.