[Abuja]–Nigerian youths under the aegis of Youth Initiative for Advocacy and Growth Advancement (YIAGA) have lamented the poor rate at which youths in the country participate actively in the decisions which will affect their future.
The body which spoke through its Senior Programmes Officer, Ibrahim Faruk, said that compared to other African countries, Nigerian youths participate at lower rate in governance and political activities.
He said this this in Abuja at the public information and immersion meeting with stakeholders on the #NotTooYoungToRun Campaign.
“The issue of marginalising youths from running for elections in Nigeria is a social, as well as a human rights issue, adding that countries like Kenya, South Africa and even Gambia have overtaken Nigeria in the aspect of youth participation in politics,” Faruk said.
Speaking on the constraint, he mentioned legal framework and financial constraints, adding that some of the arguments against youths in politics in the country include inexperience, poor self- leadership, economic deficiency and wrong timing.
He added that youths are excluded from participation and need to be given a chance to sit at the table, saying democracy is about inclusion in all spheres of the society.
While he disclosed that there would be a rally on April 4 as part of the action plan to address the challenge, he called for strategy to identify stakeholders who will support efforts to engage the lawmakers and other strategic stakeholders to change the tide.
Also the Chief Executive, Connected Development and Co-Founder Follow the Money Hamza Lawal, said the forum have a strategy to engage the National Assembly and that if the message is broken down to the grassroots, they can mount pressure on their representatives to act on the ‘Not Too Young to Run’ Bill.
“We need to start celebrating the key successes of young people to encourage them to take up challenging political posts in the country,” Lawal said.
It should be noted that #NotTooYoungToRun bill is a bill that seeks to reduce the constitutional age requirement for running for elective office in Nigeria. The ultimate goal of the bill is to promote increased youth participation in the political process.
The bill with gazette number HB. 544 seeks to alter the Section 65, 106, 131, 177 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) 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 State House of Assembly 30 to 25.Please Follow Us @ThePageNg