A coalition of 54 youth organisations across the country under the auspices of the ‘Not Too Young to Run Movement’ Wednesday in Abuja urged the National Assembly to expedite action on concluding all electoral and constitutional amendments as the 2019 elections is less 372 days.
This is as the movement said 17 states have passed #NotTooYoungToRun bill into law leaving 19 other to pass and signed the bill into law.
One of the conveners and the Executive Director of the Youth Initiative for Advocacy Growth and Advancement (YIAGA) Samson Itodo stated this while briefing newsmen on the state of the passage of the age reduction bill at the State Houses of Assembly.
“Since the bill was transmitted to the 36 states House of Assemblies along with other constitutional amendment bills, at least 16 states have passed the bill. You will recall that in December 2017, the National Assembly transmitted 15 constitutional amendment bills to the states for passage.
“The Ondo state House of Assembly became the first state assembly to pass the Not Too Young to Run (age reduction) bill followed by Adamawa, Kwara, Benue , Borno, Delta, Enugu, Ekiti, Katsina, Yobe and Gombe state assemblies. In January 2018, the Kogi state House of Assembly passed it while in February 2018, the Bauchi, Jigawa and Ebonyi states also joined in passing the Not Too Young To Run bill,” Itodo said.
While saying that the passage of the bill demonstrate the states’ commitment to the tenets of representative democracy, he regretted that the Taraba State House of Assembly voted against the age reduction bill with 11 members on 20 December 2017 voting against the bill opposing six members who voted in favour.
He also commended the House of Representatives for passing an amendment to Section 85 of the Electoral Act 2010 as amended, which compels political parties to ensure the position of youth leaders must be occupied by persons between the age of 18 and 35 years only, saying the amendment was in tandem with the philosophy of Not Too Young To Run.
Itodo said that the 2019 elections presented an opportunity for young people to assert their power not only as voters or campaign merchants but as qualified electoral candidates.
Another convener Ms Bella Ndubusi urged the the remaining state assemblies to urgently pass the constitutional amendment especially the Age Reduction bill in the interest of Nigeria and democracy.
She said the bill was Nigeria’s largest and most successful youth movement in recent times and that the movement was driven by the compelling need to restructure the country’s political system and that further delay would not only undermine Nigeria’s democracy but could negatively impact on the 2019 elections.