By Henry Umoru & Emmanuel Ovuakporie
Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Yakubu Dogara, has assured that the House was committed to passing the #NotTooYoungToRun# bill to lower the age requirements for elective offices to ensure youth inclusion in politics.
Addressing the plenary session of the Nigerian Youth Parliament in Abuja yesterday, Dogara said that as elected representatives, it was their duty make sure that their constituents’ voices were heard, especially in a country with a youth population of over 60 percent.
He said it was as a result 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.”
He said the bill, which seeks to alter sections 65, 106, 131 and 177 of the Constitution is aimed at reducing the age of eligibility for elective offices across board, and introduce independent candidacy to our electoral process.
According to him, if the amendment scales through, the minimum age of eligibility for the elective offices will be modified such that Presidency from 40 to 30 years, governor – 35 to 30 years, Senate – 35 to 30 years, House of Representatives and State House of Assembly – 30 to 25 years.
Dogara said that while the Bill will not immediately correct the marginalization of young persons in Nigeria, it will however, open up opportunities hitherto unavailable to young persons in politics.
The Speaker maintained that a major challenge afflicting Nigeria’s youth population was unemployment, and as “your elected representatives, this gives us nightmares.
“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.