#NotTooYoungToRun: Campaign To Reduce Age Requirment For Elective Office In Nigeria Goes Global

Today the global campaign Not Too Young To Run was launched at the first United Nations Forum on Human Rights, Democracy and the Rule of Law.

The campaign, which is launched by a partnership consisting of the Office of the UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth, the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), the European Youth Forum (EYF) and the Youth Initiative for Advocacy Growth & Advancement (YIAGA), aims to elevate the promotion of young people’s right to run for public office and address the wide-spread issue of age discrimination.

#NotTooYoungToRun bill is a bill that seeks to reduce the constitutional age requirement for running for elective office in Nigeria. The ultimate goal of the bill is to promote increased youth participation in the political process.

The bill with gazette number HB. 544 seeks to alter the Section 65, 106, 131, 177 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) to reduce the age qualification for the Office of the President from 40 years to 30 years; Governor 35 to 30, Senate 35 to 30, House of Representatives 30 to 25 and State House of Assembly 30 to 25.

The Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria also passed for first reading a constitutional amendment bill aimed at aligning the voting age of 18 with the eligibility age for contesting for political offices in Nigeria. The bill also referred to as the Not Too Young To Run seeks to guarantee the right to full political participation for young people. The Bill with gazette number SB. 363 was read and passed for the first time during the Senate plenary on November 1, 2016. The bill is sponsored by Senator Abdul Aziz Nyako representing Adamawa Central Senatorial District. This Bill seeks to alter Sections 65, 106, 131 and 177, of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) to remove age as a criterion for political candidacy in Nigeria.

The bill also seeks to mainstream independent candidacy into Nigeria’s electoral laws in order to strengthen and increase the competitiveness of the political process. Not only will independent candidacy check the practise of imposition and substitution of candidates by political parties, it will also promote issue-based politics. Hon.Tony Nwulu, representative of Oshodi/Isolo Federal Constituency II of Lagos state, is sponsor of the bill.

The bill has passed the 1st and 2nd reading stage in the House of Representatives. It is now before the Committee on Constitution Review.