With the adoption of the Not Too Young To Run Bill by 25 state houses of assembly, Nigerian youths have been cautioned that the bill was not open to persons without substance.
Mr Bamikole Omishore, Special Assistant to the President of the Senate on Foreign Affairs and International Relations, disclosed this on Sunday in an interview in Abuja.
He said that young Nigerian without substance should not run, adding youths must present qualified candidates to any elective position in spite of the bill.
He said that if Nigerian youths failed to utilize their opportunity in 2019 by presenting their ‘best eleven’, they may still lose out in spite of the law.
He said that he was very passionate about the bill because he was one of the Nigerian youth whom the bill has given opportunity to vie for more elective positions.
“I must commend every arm of government, National and states assemblies for passing the “not too young to run” bill. It’s a landmark.
“The National Assembly has passed this bill and I’m glad to report that 25 states out of 36 have also passed the same bill. The constitutional requirement is 24.
“Now coming to the young Nigerians that want to run, I am a big advocate of the “Not too young to run” bill, I criss-crossed Nigeria, spoke to different heads of parliament that I could get in touch with to get the bill passed.
“It’s a great thing to have young Nigerians in office. We definitely need young Nigerians to run from the presidency, all the way down to councilors and in between.
My take is, it should not just be the only requirement. People should not just go.
“Now because I’m 25, I can run for house of assembly and that is the only reason I’m running for house of assembly”. No! I would like to see a situation where we can have debates.
“We must start basing our conversations based on ideology and substance. And since the world is turning into a global village where young Nigerians will be vying for offices.
“We must make sure, even as young Nigerians that are not too young to run, we’re putting our best foot forward.
“There must be some level of substance, some other requirement to get people to run for office.
“Yes! I’m a big advocate of Not-to-young-to-run” but we should also say “Are we putting our best foot forward?” Because the mistake we will do is, yes we have fought for the Not Too Young To Run, we have won that battle at least to a certain stage.
“If we do not put our first eleven, the best of the Not-Too-Young Nigerians to run for office in the upcoming election of 2019, it would be a great mistake and a great disservice to Nigeria itself.
“In the future, people will be like “at least we gave you guys a chance but you messed it up” because we did not select the best of the Not-Too-Young Nigerians,” he said.
Omishore urged young Nigerians to come out in 2019 to vote and be voted for, stressing that Nigeria must get it right this time.
He said that when Nigeria develops, it would affect all the citizens irrespective of where they are from.
“In 2019, regardless of whatever political party you belong to, regardless of your religion, regardless of what part of Nigeria you come from.
“It is important that we get it right this time around. Hunger does not recognize your party. It does not recognize your political affiliation or religion.
“When we go outside of Nigeria, people don’t ask “Igbo or Hausa?” first. The first thing they say is “Oh! This guy. He’s a Nigerian. This lady is a Nigerian,” he said. (NAN)