Abuja — The age reduction bill, popularly referred to as Not Too Young To Run Bill, has received the affirmative votes from twenty-five (25) state assemblies.
With this passage, the bill has met the constitutional threshold prescribed by Section 9 (2) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended). The section stipulates that any amendment to the constitution must be approved by at least 24 state Houses of Assembly.
The amendment, as passed by the National Assembly and State Assemblies, reduces the qualifying age of the president from 40 to 35; House of Representatives from 30 years to 25 years and State House of Assembly from 30 years to 25 years.
The age for the governor and senator was retained at the current 35 years.
Meanwhile, spokesperson for the youth coalition pushing for the passage of the bill, Mr. Samson Itodo, who briefed reporters in Abuja, described the passage of the bill by the states as historic and unprecedented, adding that it will no doubt enhance the quality of Nigeria's democracy.
Itodo, who is YIAGA Africa's National Co-ordinator, noted that the movement would not renege on its demand for the alignment of the voting age with the eligibility age for running for office.
He urged the state assemblies to, without further delay, transmit the amendments to the National Assembly.
The co-ordinator further called on the National Assembly to transmit the constitutional amendments to President Muhammadu Buhari for assent as soon as the bills are received from the state assemblies.
He also stated that the Houses of Assembly that threw their weights behind the bill would be inaugurated into the Hall of Fame as far as issues relating to youths' empowerment in the country are concerned.
He said: "We have shown the world that we are a country that believes in its youthful population and is taking concrete steps to address political inequality and social exclusion. This is a practical step towards harnessing the demographic dividend.
"The movement therefore appreciates the 25 of the 36 state assemblies that have so far passed the Not Too Young To Run bill. They have registered their names in the annals of history by passing the Not Too Young To Run Bill and the Nigerian youths appreciate them.
"This demonstration of commitment to inclusive democracy and more importantly youths' inclusion is recognised. Posterity will be fair to you."
He, therefore, urged President Buhari to assent to the constitutional amendment bill, especially the age reduction bill, as soon as it is transmitted to him for assent.