By; PATRICK TITUS, Uyo
Coalition of youth groups in Akwa Ibom State has appealed to states houses of assembly that are yet to pass the Not Too Young To Run Bill before them into law to do so in order to secure the future generation and promote the nation’s democracy.
Speaking at a press conference in Uyo, Akwa Ibom state, Mr. UnyimeAbasi Essien, Not Too Young To Rum team lead in the state, mentioned Akwa Ibom state among the states yet to give Yes Voice to the bill.
Unyimeabasi said so far, 21 houses of assembly out of 36 states in the federation have passed the bill to support the movement, which he added, is an historic step to secure the future of youths in the country and further democracy.
“Since the Not Too Young To Run bill was transmitted to the 36 states House of Assemblies along with other constitutional amendment bills, at least 21 states have passed the bill.
“The Movement uses this opportunity to call on all states house of assemblies who are yet to pass the bill to emulate their colleagues by voting YES for the bill. An affirmative Vote for the bill will be another historic step to secure the future of Youths and indeed the next generation,” the group appealed.
The group also urged the National Assembly to expedite action on the process and transmit the constitutional amendment bills to the President for assent as soon as the amendments are received from the states.
It stressed that any further delay will not only undermine Nigeria’s democracy but could negatively impact on the 2019 elections.
According to Section 9 (2) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) a constitutional amendment requires the approval by at least 24 state Houses of Assembly.
Not Too Young To Run movement is a movement of youth and civil society groups advocating for the reduction of age for running for elective offices to mainstream young men and women in electoral politics.
The movement is driven by the compelling need to restructure the country’s political system to address the deeply entrenched system of political exclusion and institute inclusive politics, transformative leadership and electoral competitiveness in the electoral process.
The movement commended Ondo, Adamawa, Kwara, Benue, Borno, Delta, Enugu, Ekiti, Katsina, Yobe, Gombe, Nasarawa, Kogi, Kebi,Bauchi, Jigawa, Ebonyi, Kaduna, Ogun, Niger and Abia states Houses of Assembly for passing the Not Too Young To Run bill into law.
The movement said the 2019 elections would present an opportunity for young people to assert their power not only as voters or campaign merchants but as qualified electoral candidates, just as members are committed to inspiring and supporting more youth candidates with content and character to run for political offices.
According to the group, data from the Independent National Electoral Commission indicates that about 52% of registered voters are young people between the ages 18 – 35 years.