ABUJA – AHEAD of the 2019 presidential election, President Muhammadu Buhari has told the youths to drop any ambition of running for Presidency in the next year’s election. President Buhari who made the plea Thursday, when he signed the “Not Too Young To Run” bill into law at the Council Chamber, Presidential Villa Abuja, told the youths to stop any campaign for the forthcoming Elections and keep their Presidential ambition till 2023. He also expressed surprise that the age limit for senators and Governors which presently is 35 years was not reduced but said that that aspect would be revisited. President Buhari described the youths as Nigeria’s most important resource with energy, intelligence and talents that will drive the development of the country. He also described the occasion as very significant for the country especially the young people as regards the role they play for the growth of democracy, politics and national life.
This is as the leader of the Not Too Young To Run, Samson Itodo has told President Buhari to impress it on his party, the All Progressives Congress, APC, to observe internal democracy in carrying out of their activities. The President at the occasion said, “We are gathered here for the signing of the “Not Too Young To Run Bill”, a landmark piece of legislation that was conceived, championed and accomplished by young Nigerians. “The coordinators of the Not Too Young To Run movement have now established a formidable legacy – which is that, in our maturing democracy, if you really want to change something in Nigeria, and if you can organise yourselves and work hard towards it – you can achieve it. The outcome of such efforts is this remarkable feat. “These efforts have resulted in the heroic task of enshrining in law, a reduction of the minimum ages for elective office in Nigeria. “Eligible age for aspirants for members of the State Houses of Assembly will be reduced from 30 to 25 years; “Eligible age for aspirants for members of the Federal House of Representatives will be reduced from 30 to 25 years; and “Eligible age for aspirants for Office of the President, will be lowered from 40 to 35 years. “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. “This is an opportunity for me to affirm that this Administration will continue to do everything in its power to make Nigeria work for you. “You may all know that the Bill I just assented now becomes an Act of the National Assembly. “Thus, it may be tempting for you to think of this as the end of the journey. However, it is only the beginning; there is still a lot of work ahead, towards ensuring that young people take full advantage of the opportunities provided not only by this constitutional amendment but also through Nigeria’s boundless prospects. “You should inculcate the spirit of self-help. Those who complete their training should not just sit down and wait for government or private sector to employ them. You should be innovative and turn your hands to any legitimate work that will enable you to sustain yourself. “You may have noticed already that every one of you represents one of our 36 States and the Federal Capital Territory.
This is because today is about preparing for the bright future of our country. “I am confident each one of you will transform Nigeria in your own way – whether through media, agricultural enterprise, economists, engineers, or as lawmakers in your States or at Federal levels, or as State Governors – and even someday, as President. Why not?” Please don’t contest against me President Buhari also told the youths to shelve their Presidential ambition in 2019 and wait till 2023 perhaps when he must have completed his two year tenure of eight years. He pleaded, “But please, can I ask you to postpone your campaigns till after the 2019 elections!” He said he was proud for the young people over what they had accomplished, adding that if they continued like that the country would be better for everyone including the future generations of Nigerians. Also speaking, the leader of the NTYTR group, Samson Itodo urged the President to insist on internal democracy in particularly his ruling party, the All Progressives Congress; APC, and to facilitate a provision that will reserve some slots specifically for young persons in faithful and progressive implementation of the new law.
He regretted that Kano, Lagos and Zamfara States missed the opportunity to be part of history as their States Houses of Assembly were the only ones that declined to pass the bill. He praised the President and the Vice-President for encouraging the bill, noting that Buhari would be positively remembered for being the Nigerian leader to sign into law the NTYTR bill. He said, “It is a journey to rebuild the country. We make bold to hold the value of democracy and participated in it.” He told the President that 53 percent of Nigeria’s 60 percent youths in the country of over 180 million people are holders of voter card. Recall that the member representing Oshodi/Isolo Federal Constituency of Lagos State, Hon. Tony Nwulu had sponsored the bill in the House of Representatives. Nwulu had reasoned that the youths have a lot to give for the development of the country if given the opportunity.