The 'Not Too Young To Run' movement has dissociated itself from the formal declaration by Bukola Saraki to run for president on the platform of the opposition party, PDP.
Mr Saraki, the senate president, formally made his intention known at an event organised by the group on Thursday in Abuja.
The group, which champions youth participation in politics, said it was disappointed by Mr Saraki's decision as its apolitical programme was not meant for such.
"The movement wishes to express its disappointment with Senator Saraki for usurping a platform designed for young aspirants to dialogue with party leadership to advance his personal political ambition. We strongly condemn this act by the President of the Senate and dissociates ourselves from this political move," the movement said in a statement sent to PREMIUM TIMES by its convener, Samson Itodo.
Read the full statement below.
Not Too Young To Run Campaigners Distance Movement From Saraki's Declaration
As part of efforts to promote youth candidacy and democratic party primaries, the Not Too Young To Run movement commenced a series of public town hall meetings with the leadership of political parties and young aspirants to address the challenges faced by young aspirants in securing party tickets. The movement scheduled three town hall meetings with the leadership of the All Progressive Congress (APC); People's Democratic Party (PDP) and other parties. The first dialogue held today August 30, 2018 in Abuja with the leadership of the People's Democratic Party (PDP). The event had in attendance the Chairman of the party Mr. Uche Secondus; Senator Bukola Saraki, Hon. Udeh Okoye, National Youth Leader of the party. The event also was attended by young aspirants registered under the Ready To Run platform.
The young aspirants advocated for a reduction in the cost of party nomination forms and requested the party to uphold internal democracy in the conduct of party primaries. In his response, the Chairman of the PDP assured the young aspirants of their support for youth candidacy in the forthcoming primaries.
Whilst addressing participants at the town hall, Senator Saraki declared his intention to run for the office of the President in the 2019 elections. The movement wishes to express its disappointment with Senator Saraki for usurping a platform designed for young aspirants to dialogue with party leadership to advance his personal political ambition. We strongly condemn this act by the President of the Senate and dissociates ourselves from this political move.
As noted earlier, the movement reaffirms its identity as a non-partisan citizen led movement dedicated to the defense democracy, political inclusion and transformative leadership. The movement restates its commitment to sustain its engagement with political parties to ensure youth candidacy and democratic party primaries.