The Nigerian Senate on Wednesday, July 26 passed the Not Too Young To Run bill. The bill seeks to reduce the age limits for elective position.
86 Senators voted in support of the bill, 10 voted against it while 1 lawmaker abstained.
After the bill is endorsed by at least 24 Houses of Assembly, young Nigerians would contest for president at 35 and governor at 30.
The bill also provides the right for persons at 25-years to contest for the House of Representative or state assemblies across the country.
On Tuesday July 25, hundreds of young Nigerians marched towards the country’s parliament calling on lawmakers to remove age barriers on political posts, including the presidency. Nigeria’s 1999 constitution stipulates that the president has to be at least 40, while senators and state governors have to be aged 35 or above
Contributing to the bill on Tuesday, July 25, Senator Dino Melaye noted that the future of Nigeria belongs to the youths. He noted that a bill seeking to stop older people from contesting for elective position should be introduced and passed.
Senate Whip, Olusola Adeyeye added that if 18-year-olds can be enlisted in the Army, they should also be able to contest for elective positions.
82 lawmakers also voted for independent candidature which allows individuals contest for elections without being members of a political party.
An NGO, Youth Initiative Against Violence and Human Rights Abuse, has commended the Nigerian Senate for passing the Not Too Young To Run bill.
The organisation made the commendation on Saturday in Jos in a statement signed by its Media and Communication Officer, Miss Grace Idakwo.
Ms Idakwo described the move as a giant stride and one of the greatest achievements in history of the National Assembly.
She added that the action had shown that the senators were in tandem with the desire of Nigeria’s founding fathers and in tune with global political trend.
She said: “All over the world, people are removing barriers that limit young people from actively participating in governance and Nigeria cannot be left behind.
“The passage of this bill is timely and essential to the growth of democracy in Nigeria and will affect the common people on the street.
“We have hope in the capabilities of young people to move this nation forward.
“So, we wish to sincerely commend the Senate, especially those who actively contributed in various discussions and voted in favour of the bill which leads to its accelerated passage.
“We also commend the efforts of critical stakeholders and partners especially the media, and other colleagues in the Civil Society for working assiduously to ensure the bill sees the light of the day.”
She called on members of state Houses of Assembly to key into the vision by domesticating the bill.
Ms Idakwo urged President Muhammadu Buhari, to as a matter of urgency assent to the bill to ensure the implementation of its provisions.