An Enugu-based activist, Mr Chris Chukwu, has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to assent to the `Not-Too-Young-To-Run Bill’, in order to empower youths politically.
Chukwu, an activist with the Young African Leaders Initiative Network, made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Enugu on Monday.
The bill, which is part of the process to amend the 1999 constitution, seeks to reduce the minimum age requirement for elective positions in the country.
The bill was passed by the Senate and the House of Representatives in July 2017.
The National Assembly (NASS) had endorsed the reduction of age qualification for the office of the president from 40 years to 30 years.
For state governor and Senate, the NASS approved 30 years as against 35 years while the age for House of Representatives and State Assembly was dropped to 25 years from 30 years.
At present, 24 of the 36 state houses of assembly had passed the bill.
Chukwu told NAN that signing the bill into law would go a long way to giving youths a sense of belonging.
“I encourage you, Mr President, to become a hero by signing the `Not-Too-Young-To-Run Bill’ into law.
“I will like you to use your opportunity as the President to champion the crusade of mentoring, fathering, empowering the youths and making Nigeria the best place to be.’’
The activist said that there was a shortage of young people in the country’s political realm due to lack of empowerment, alienation or a perception that their involvement would not matter.
He said that statistics had shown that more than half of the country’s population was below 30 years and yet they were restricted from running for some offices, even though they could vote.
According to him, Nigeria needs to adopt a positive youth development approach which recognised youths as active participants in socio-economic and political development.
“We must work hard in all respects to empower our youths in the Nigerian political economy.
“The youths are historically notable change agents and drivers of societal transformation.
“Contemporarily, however, especially in developing democracies, the trend has been that of relegation of youth interests and roles.
“This has thereby pushed the youths more into poverty, alienation, and turned them into agents of destabilisation and conflicts,’’ Chukwu said.