Nigerian youths have been advised by Senate resident Bukola Saraki to advocate for free and fair elections – The senator, who is a huge supporter of the Not Too Young To Run bill said this is just the first phase –
He however charged Nigerian youths to look beyond the passage of the bill and work towards attaining political heights in the country Senate president, Dr. Bukola Saraki, has said that the passage and assent to the #NotTooYoungToRun bill, will be the first phase in the journey for more youth inclusion in politics.
Saraki made the statement at a meeting with the Not Too Young Run movement comprising of many notable groups in the country. The Senate president encouraged Nigerian youths to advocate for free and fair elections, stating that the next step in the advocacy process is to ensure that more young people have their Permanent Voter’s Cards (PVCs). Saraki urged Nigerian youths to get their PVC in preparation for the next general elections
His words: “Let me congratulate you on the campaign that helped in the passage of the bill in the national and state Houses of Assembly. What you have done has become a reference point across the continent. “You need to use same energy that you applied to the ‘Not Too Young to Run,’ to push for free and fair elections. When you have the voice, you have the numbers. “So the first thing for the advocacy that will support ‘Not Too Young to Run’ must be free and fair elections.
The only way you’re going to make a difference is for you to have your voter’s card. “‘Not Too Young to Run’ has just finished phase one. Phase two is ensuring that you have a lot of young people that have PVCs and letting everyone know that you have PVCs so that all the political parties will pay attention that you have the numbers. “My advice for all young people is that, this is not a short race, it is a marathon.
” Speaking earlier, one of the conveners of the movement, Samson Itodo, commended Saraki, the Senate and the National Assembly for the passage of the bill. “This is the first time that we had a National Assembly whose leadership played a visible role in the passage of the bill.
The fact that you played a part in providing the leadership for the passage of the bill is significant. “We want to convey our appreciation to you and the other 108 members of the Senate that we are pleased with this development. You and your counterparts in the House of Representatives have written your names in gold,” Itodo said. He stated that the campaign for the passage of the bill had been on for two years, adding that it was not a smooth sail.
He however urged the Senate president to use his influence to ensure that the processes of the bill are accelerated to it is gazetted on time to enable many Nigerian youths kick-off their political aspirations in earnest. He added that the passage of the bill and the accelerated hearing it received from both chambers of the National Assembly, shows that they are a ”responsive legislature.”
Meanwhile, Saraki has advised Nigerians not to take for granted the continued democratic dispensation the country has been enjoying for the past 19 years but guard against actions, statements and moves which can truncate the political process. While congratulating Nigerians on the 19th anniversary of unbroken elected government in the country on Tuesday May 29, Saraki advised citizens to always be vigilant and speak against anti-democratic policies and actions which are capable of subverting rule of law. He also canvassed strict adherence to the principles of rule of law, separation of powers, sovereignty of parliament, independence of the judiciary, and freedom of the press, adding that “our constitutional institutions must be preserved and protected.”