By Dirisu Yakubu
Ahead of the 2023 general elections, the National Reconciliation and Strategy Committee, NRSC, of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has recommended that any aspirant under the age of 35 seeking to contest for elective position on the platform of the party should be exempted from the payment of nomination fees.
In a one-page letter dated March 25, 2021, signed by its chairman and immediate past Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki and addressed to Prince Uche Secondus, the PDP national chairman, the committee also advised the National Working Committee, NWC, to immediately recommend to the National Executive Committee, NEC, that the party constitution be amended to the effect that “only persons not less than 18 years old and not more than 35 years can contest for the position of Youth Leader at all levels of the party structure – wards, local government, state and national”.
The committee noted that the recommendation followed the meeting it held with the party’s national youth leader and other youth leaders across the 36 states of the nation on March 9th, 2021 “in furtherance of its mandate to resolve disputes, reconcile aggrieved members and foster cohesion and unity within the party”.
According to the committee, the youths, presented some requests during the meeting and the demands were deliberated upon by the committee on March 22nd, 2021 following which the two-point recommendations contained in the letter were agreed upon.
The implication of the recommendation on waiver of the nomination fees for youths aspiring to various offices means that where the party guidelines for instance demand that a gubernatorial aspirant pay N20 million for nomination form and N1m for Expression of Interest form, any aspirant below the age of 35 years, will get the nomination form at no cost but will be required to pay the N1m Expression of Interest fee.
The measure is believed to be aimed at easing the burden of participation in the political process on the youths and encourage them to positively utilise the new constitutional provisions on the age requirements for political office holders, also known as the Not Too Young to Run Bill.