President Muhammadu Buhari has on Thursday signed the “Not Too Young to Run Bill” into law in Abuja with a charge to the youths to utilise the opportunity provided by the new law to leave their mark on the political space.
Taking advantage of the presence of youths at the ceremony, the president who was probably conscious of the large population of the youths and the influence they could weigh in 2019 polls particularly at the presidential poll should they throw their hats into the ring, jokingly urged them to defer their ambitions till after the 2019 polls.
The bill was signed in the Council Chamber of the Presidential Villa in the presence of young men and ladies from various states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
He listed components of the Act to include the reduction of the age of eligibility for election into the House of Assembly and House of Representatives from 30 to 25 years and from hitherto 40 to 35 years as the eligible age to seek election into the office of the President.
However, the president expressed surprise that the Act retains 35 years of age for eligibility for election into offices of governors and senators, expressing hope that the provision would be revisited in future.
He said: “Surprisingly, the age limits for senators and governors was not reduced, as originally proposed by the sponsors of this Bill. This is an issue that may need to be addressed going forward. Nevertheless, your focus and contributions have now successfully increased the quality and maturity of Nigerian democracy and expanded the playing field for youth participation in politics.
You, the young people of Nigeria, are now set to leave your mark on the political space, just as you have done over the decades in entrepreneurship, sports, art, media, entertainment, technology, and several other fields.
You are undoubtedly Nigeria’s most important resource – not oil, not agriculture, not solid minerals – but you and all of us. Your energy, intelligence and talent are what will drive and develop Nigeria, long after we are all gone”.