A Coalition of 55 youth organisations has appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to assent to Not-Too-Young-To-Run Bill before Democracy Day to enhance youth participation in electoral process.
Convener of Not-Too-Young-To-Run Movement, Mr Samson Itodo, made the appeal on behalf of the coalition at a news conference on Monday in Abuja.
Itodo said that the long journey of the Bill was at the final stage after its passage by the legislature, which had transmitted it to the president for assent.
He said that assent to the bill would restore the hope of young Nigerians, who had patiently waited for the constitutional amendment to enable them run for office in 20l9 general elections.
Itodo noted that 2019 elections presented opportunity for young people to assert their constitutional right “not only as voters or campaign merchants but as qualified electoral candidates’’.
He said that as the nation prepared for the general elections, it was imperative for youth inclusion, especially as candidates in all elective positions.
According to him, all eyes are on the President to fulfil his commitment to youth development by assenting to the Not-Too-Young-To-Run Bill and the other Constitution Amendment Bills.
“This is not a matter for debate but a constitutional imperative for democratic development.
“The President’s assent to the age reduction Bill within the next eight days will be a democracy gift to young Nigerians whose only demand is to be included in the democratic process.’’
Itodo said that his organisation was aware of the position of the law, which made presidential assent a condition precedent for the passage of bills into law.
He said that the law had also made provision for the National Assembly to make laws exercised by bills passed by the Senate and the House of Representatives.
Itodo noted that the movement which was committed to inspiring and supporting youth candidates to run for office through its “Ready-To-Run’’ initiative and other interventions aimed at promoting youth candidacy in the next elections.
“Young people are ready for 2019 and will only be giving their support to political parties which uphold internal democracy to safeguard emergence of more youth candidates in 2019 and importantly, commit to non-violent elections,’’ he said.
Itodo said that the movement would continue to mobilise more young people across the country to participate in the continuous voter registration, collect their Permanent Voter Card (PVC) and turn out to vote in all elections.
He commended the youth for being resolute and thanked its partners and organisers across the country who constantly engaged with their stakeholders to ensure the passage of the bill.
Itodo also lauded the president in anticipation for his assent to the age reduction bill as a democracy day gift to young people.