Not-Too-Young-To-Run: Amend age limit again, coalition tells N’Assembly
June 2, 2018
John Alechenu, Lekan Adetayo,Eniola Akinkuotu, Leke Baiyewu, and Olaleye Aluko
The Not –Too- Young- To -Run movement, a conglomeration of youth groups, has called on the National Assembly to amend the Act signed by President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday.
The groups made the demand at a press conference in Abuja on Friday.
The new law reduces the eligible age for those seeking to be members of the state Houses of Assembly and House of Representatives from 30 to 25 years; and those aspiring to be President from 40 to 35 years.
The age limits for senators and state governors were not reduced as originally proposed by the sponsors of the bill.
Speaking on behalf of the groups, Mr. Samson Itodo of the Youth Initiative for Advocacy, Growth and Advancement, said the National Assembly must amend the Act and ensure that the age limits for senators and governors were reduced.
He said, “The bill as assented to by the President reduces the age qualification for the office of the President from age 40 to 35; House of Representatives from 30 to 25 and state Assembly from 30 to 25.
“The age qualification for a governor and a senator was retained at 35 years contrary to the demands of the Nigerian people. The movement maintains that the retention of 35 years for both governor and Senate positions is unfortunate and disappointing.
“The National Assembly should revisit its vote on the age qualification for both offices.”
The groups also lambasted lawmakers in Lagos, Kano and Zamfara states for refusing to support the law during the constitutional amendment process.
Itodo added, “The bill secured a ‘yes’ vote from 33 Houses of Assembly, eight more than the constitutionally required. Lagos, Kano and Zamfara states abstained from voting and have been inducted in our hall of shame for disregarding the yearnings of the youth they represent.”
He also called on the political parties to reserve 50 per cent of party tickets for competent and morally upright youth aspirants in the 2019 elections.
Meanwhile, the Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, has explained why the National Assembly reduced the age qualification of the president from 40 to 35 to be same for a senator.
Ekweremadu, who is the chairman of the Senate Committee on Constitution Review, and the joint Senate and House of Representatives by extension, said the 35-year age qualification for membership of the Senate was retained to correct the initial disparity in the 1999 Constitution between the age qualification for a senator and the president.
The Deputy Senate President, in a statement issued in Abuja on Friday by his Special Adviser on Media, Mr. Uche Anichukwu, said the National Assembly reasoned that going by the provisions of Section 146 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), the Senate president could become acting president (of the Federal Republic) should the offices of the President and Vice-President be vacant at the same time for any reason.