Yakubu Dogara,Speaker of the House of Representatives, has assured that the House was committed to passing the “Not Too Young To Run” Bill in order to lower the age requirements for elective offices in the country.
Addressing the plenary session of the Nigerian Youth Parliament in Abuja, Dogara said the idea was to ensure increased youth participation and inclusion in politics and leadership.
“It is as a result that we committed ourselves in our legislative agenda to give priority to necessary interventions to promote equality and inclusion and entrench the rights of women, youths and vulnerable groups in the society,’’ the Speaker said.
He said the Bill, which seeks to alter sections 65, 106, 131 and 177 of the 1999 Constitution was aimed at reducing the age of eligibility for elective offices across board.
Dogara added that the Bill intended to introduce independent candidacy to the country’s electoral process.
According to the Speaker, if the amendment scales through, the minimum age of eligibility for the elective offices will be modified such that Presidency from 40 to 30 years, Governor 35 to 30 years and Senate 35 to 30 years.
“The House of Representatives and State House of Assembly will be moved from 30 to 25 years,’’ he added.
Dogara, however, said that while the Bill will not immediately correct the marginalisation of young persons in Nigeria, it will however open up opportunities hitherto unavailable to young persons in politics.
The Speaker maintained that a major challenge afflicting Nigeria’s youth population was unemployment.
“And as your elected representatives, this gives us nightmares.
“It is also my strong view that creativity and innovation are critical elements in engendering economic growth and development.
“Indeed, the world is open for the youths to excel, especially in the area of technological development.
“Nigerian youths can compete strongly in the technological field in the new world economy.
“We only need better technological education, funding and exposure to best practices,’’ Dogara said.