The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr. Yakubu Dogara, yesterday explained why the lower legislative chamber pegged down the eligibility age for occupants of the seat of the office of the president and governor to 40 and 35 years.
Addressing the plenary session of the Nigerian Youths Parliament in Abuja yesterday, Dogara said that the measure was aimed at ensuring youths’ inclusion in politics and leadership of the country.
Dogara, who gave assurance that the House was committed to passing the #NotTooYoungToRun# bill to lower the age requirements for elective offices, said the bill, which seeks to alter sections 65, 106, 131 and 177 of the 1999 Constitution, is aimed at reducing the age of eligibility for elective offices across board, and to introduce independent candidacy to our electoral process.
According to the Speaker, if the amendment scales through, the minimum age of eligibility for the elective offices would be modified such that presidency from 40 to 30 years, governor – 35 to 30 years, Senate – 35 to 30 years, House of Representatives and State House of Assembly – 30 to 25 years.
He said that the move was in line with the legislative agenda of the House 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.’
Dogara, however, said that while the bill will not immediately correct the marginalisation of young persons in Nigeria, it would, however, open up opportunities hitherto unavailable to young persons in politics.