Deputy President of the Senate Ike Ekweremadu has called for the total removal of age as a criterion for holding political offices in Nigeria.
He instead called for a situation where the electorate were allowed to make their choices based on their assessment of the competence of those who presented themselves for elections.
This was contained in a statement by Ekweremadu’s Special Adviser (Media) Mr Uche Anichukwu on Thursday in Abuja.
According to the statement, Ekweremadu made the call when the group the Youth Initiative for Advocacy, Growth and Advancement (YIAGA) paid him a courtesy visit.
He said that “we have just acknowledged the young man, Emmanuel Macron, who is now the President of France. We believe it can also happen here in our country; and we believe that with education and exposure, people can achieve a lot at a very young age.
“Therefore, while many Nigerians are calling for a reduction in the age barrier, it is actually my strong and personal opinion that there should be no age barrier in terms of running for political offices or holding executive positions.
“I know and I believe too, that sovereignty belongs to the people and they exercise this sovereignty through the ballot box. If they desire to vote in a very young person so be it. That is their choice and that is what sovereignty is all about,” he said.
Ekweremadu, who also chairs the Senate Committee on Constitution Review, said that the nation’s greatest resource remained the youth.
He commended the group noting that the nation’s democracy was nevertheless making progress as more youths were now participating actively in the political process.
Earlier in her address, Programme Director of YIAGA, Miss Cynthia Mbamalu, solicited the Senate’s support for the constitution amendment Bill seeking to align the voting age of 18 years with eligibility to contest for political offices in Nigeria.