- President Buhari has been given 8 days ultimatum to sign the bill seeking age reduction fo political office
- Buhari has been asked to give his assent to the bill as a democracy gift to young Nigerians
- One of the conveners of the Not Too Young To Run movement said it will amount to political suicide if the president does not sign the bill
The Not Too Young To Run movement has given President Muhammadu Buhari 8 days ultimatum to sign the age reduction bill.
The movement gave the ultimatum on Monday, May 21, during a press conference in Abuja as concerns mount over the president's refusal to assent to the bill 14 days after it got to his office from the National Assembly.
Section 58 of the Nigerian Constitution, 1999, (as amended), provides inter alia 'the power of the National Assembly to make laws shall be exercised by bills passed by both the Senate and the House of Representatives and, except as otherwise provided, assented to by the president.'
The group stated that the imperative for youth inclusion in the forthcoming 2019 general elections is not a matter of debate but a constitutional imperative for democratic development.
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The movement therefore demanded:
1. That the president gives his assent to the age reduction bill within the next eight (8) days as a democracy gift to young Nigerians whose only demand is to be included in the democratic process.
2. That the president fulfils his commitment to youth development by assenting to the Not Too Young To Run bill and the other constitutional amendment bills.
“The movement also wishes to state here that the support from the youth will only come if the Not Too Young To Run bill is speedily passed into law,” the group said.
They stated that the 2019 elections present an opportunity for young people in Nigeria to assert their constitutional right not only as voters or campaign merchants but as qualified electoral candidates.
They informed that young people will only be giving their support to political parties who uphold internal party democracy to safeguard the emergence of more youth candidates in the 2019 general elections.
Speaking further, one of the conveners of the movement, Samson Itodo, said it will amount to political suicide if the president does not sign the bill.
Young people in Nigeria constitute over 52 per cent of voters in Nigeria and the president himself acknowledged that young people supported him in 2015.
Majority of the state Houses of Assemblies and the National Assembly passed this bill which means it enjoys wide support from Nigerians. Delaying or not assenting to the bill is going against the will of majority of the people.
Itodo urged the president to sign the bill and open up the political space for young people to participate in the political space.
Meanwhile, YIAGA Africa, a civil society group in Abuja in partnership with INEC has commenced a nationwide youth development meeting in a bid to mainstream the participation of young people and other marginalised groups in the electoral process.
The youth consultation meetings which provides a safe and collaborative space for youth to contribute to the development of the INEC youth strategy, kicked off early this month with over 400 young people cutting across various states in Nigeria.
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