The new bill that lowers the minimum ages for political offices signed into law in Nigeria

Victory for Nigeria youth campaign as minimum ages for office are lowered

Victory for Nigeria youth campaign as minimum ages for office are lowered


The new bill that lowers the minimum ages for political offices was signed into law in Nigeria on Thursday consequently handing over victory for a campaign that has sought a greater voice for young people.

The bill which was signed by Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari reduces the minimum age of the president to 35 from 40 as well as lowering the minimum age for members of the House of Representatives and states’ houses of assembly to 25 from 30.

Ahead of the February 2019 elections, according to the United Nations, many youth see Nigeria’s ageing leaders as out of touch. The president is 75 years old, the oldest person to helm Nigeria since the transition to civilian government in 1999.

The effort to lower age restrictions was backed by a campaign with the slogan “Not Too Young to Run”.

“This is just the beginning, now we focus on getting credible and competent young people into government!” wrote Cynthia Mbamalu, one of the campaign’s members, on Twitter.

In Nigeria, age is often venerated and even thought the median age is just 18, politics in the country is dominated by older politicians. Former vice president Atiku Abubakar, 71, also plans to run for president next year, campaigning in part on a platform of youth empowerment.

“You, the young people of Nigeria, are now set to leave your mark on the political space,” Buhari told campaign organisers at the signing ceremony, adding that he was confident they would make their mark as politicians or even president.

“But please, can I ask you to postpone your campaigns till after the 2019 elections!” he joked.

The campaign’s original version had aimed to lower the presidential candidacy age even further, to 30 and also reduce Senate and state governor age requirements from to 30 from 35.

“Surprisingly, the age limits for senators and governors was not reduced, as originally proposed by the sponsors of this bill,” Buhari said. “This is an issue that may need to be addressed going forward.”

SHARE THIS

Comments

Popular Posts