25-year-olds can run for political office in Nigeria

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Young Nigerians will in no time be allowed to take part in the country’s politics. Nigeria is however in the process of altering portions of its current constitution to allow more young people to run for political office.

Initially, the youngest age a person needs to run for elective office in Nigeria is 30 years at the level of a member of the House of Representatives or the State House Assembly. The new law has seek to bring it down to 25 years.

“We committed ourselves in our Legislative Agenda to give priority to – necessary legislative interventions to promote equality and inclusion, and entrench the rights of women, youths and vulnerable groups in the society,” the speaker of the lower house of the country’s law-making chamber said.

Yakubu Dogara said in a country with a youth population of 60%, the law was long overdue and the current house was committed to seeing it through.

Nigeria as a result will thus have to alter sections 65, 106, 131 and 177 of the 1999 Constitution in order to reduce the age of eligibility for elective offices across the board, and to introduce independent candidacy to the electoral process. Many Nigerians welcomed the action and hope that the constitution will be amended to suit the recommended age. Some also feel that it will encourage youths to participate in government.

In addition, the Speaker noted that if the amendment scales through, the minimum age of eligibility for the elective offices will be modified as follows:

1. The Presidency eligibility age will fall from 40 to 30 years
2. Governorship – 35 to 30 years
3. Senate – 35 to 30 years
4. House of Representatives and State House of Assembly – 30 to 25 years.

It was further explained that the success of the amendment will not only bridge the gap between the old and the young but also open more political opportunities for the youths. In addition, this will also help Nigeria to tackle the issue of youth unemployment.

The speaker said:
“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,” he added.

The political leadership realm has been a no go area for the youths over the years. This proposed amendment if successful will enable young and fresh minds to particpate in government. This will no doubt give the government a befitting outfit.