In May 2016, a bill was conceived by a civil society group, headed by Samson Itodo, known as YIAGA Africa, called the ‘Not too young to run’ bill. The bill sought alterations in sections 65, 106, 131 and 177 of the 1999 constitution of Nigeria to reduce the age qualification for the office of the President from 40 years to 30 years, Governor 35 to 30, Senate 35 to 30, House of Representatives 30 to 25 and House of Assembly 30 to 25. It also sought to mainstream independent candidacy into Nigeria’s electoral process.
Finally, on the 31st of May 2018, President Muhammadu Buhari signed the ‘Not too young to run’ bill into law. Although this news isn’t exactly new, there are still a lot of people who are unaware of this victory, especially the youths who this bill favours.
But still, while we celebrate this victory, we should not lose sight of what is truly important.
The ‘Not too young to run’ bill allows the youth have a say in the politics of the nation. We should know that the age doesn’t really matter but the ideas you bring. One shouldn’t just decide to run because the law allows them to and see it as a chance to eat part of the ‘national cake’. An interest in politics should motivate one to run. An interest in making a change and doing the right thing. One needs to have a brand, being young is not a brand, one’s character and attitude towards politics are what makes a brand. One needs to possess good leadership qualities before deciding to lead other people.
So we shouldn’t just rejoice over the new bill but also work towards making the nation better for us. In order to achieve a nation that we are all proud of, politics needs to become a mass movement and not just looked upon as a dirty occupation.
All this being said, we all need to play our part and it starts with getting our PVC. Our PVC is the voice we need to get the change we desire.