The Head Research, Policy and Advocacy at the Youth Initiative for Advocacy, Growth and Advancement, Samson Itodo, has continued to advocate for the reduction of the age for running for elective office in Nigeria.
While speaking on VIEWPOINT, a Politics and Current Affairs program that airs on Rhythm 94.7 FM, Abuja, Itodo called on all Nigerians to support the #NotTooYoungToRun Bill which seeks to reduce the age for running for elective office in Nigeria as well as mainstream Independent Candidacy in Nigeria’s electoral system.
Advancing strong points for the Bill, Itodo disclosed that no nation succeeds if it continues to sideline its youth from decision-making processes.
“You cannot continue to alienate the young population from the decision-making process. Democracy is not a government of the elderly, but of the people. When over half of your population is young people, you have no choice but to allow them to participate. Nigeria is a country for all, not a few. The process, must, therefore, be opened up so young people can contribute their quota”.
“#NotTooYoungToRun seeks to open up space so young people can engage and contribute their own quota. In addition, the Bill seeks to deepen adult-youth partnership”, Itodo said.
Highlighting the role of youth active political participation in curbing electoral violence and youth radicalization, Itodo stated that:
“If young people can run for public office, they cannot be used to perpetrate electoral violence. #NotTooYoungToRun will reduce violence and radicalization”.
According to the youth development expert, because of the energy, resourcefulness, creativity and value added by young people, they should be an integral part of decision making in Nigeria.
Samson Itodo also debunked the belief that youths lack the experience to run for political office, adding that the argument, “doesn’t hold water’.
“The argument that young people are not experienced to run for public office holds no water. A lot of young people have the experience and the information required to succeed in political office. Historically, young people were at the forefront of the quest for independence. Our elections are managed by young people. The biometric device used by INEC was designed by a young person”, he argued.
Mr. Itodo enjoined Nigerian youths to show support for the Bill by contacting their state and federal legislators to vote for it. He also urged them to engage politely with their representatives bearing in mind that they are human beings too.
“We want to mobilize as much as 1 million signatures in support of #NotTooYoungToRun Bill. We urge citizens to call, email or send text messages to their legislators asking them to support the Bill. It is important for citizens to engage their legislators in a polite manner while seeking their support for the Bill”.
In addition, he appreciated the 8th National Assembly for the tremendous support shown for the Bill.
#TheNotTooYoungToRunBill seeks to alter the Section 65, 106, 131, 177 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) to reduce the age qualification for the office of the President and Governor and membership of the Senate and House of Representatives and the State House of Assembly. The Bill also seeks to allow independent candidacy in Nigeria’s electoral process.
#NotTooYoungToRun is sponsored by Hon. Tony Nwulu (PDP, Oshodi/Isolo Federal Constituency, Lagos State). It has passed second reading in the House of Representatives and is currently with the House Committee on Constitution Review.