OrderPaperToday – Nigeria’s ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) are leading the pack of political parties which completely excluded persons who are less than 35 years of age as candidates for senate positions in the February 16 general elections.
On the flip side, new and relatively unknown Democratic Alternative emerged as the party fielding the highest number of candidates between 30 and 35 years of age with 16 slots.
This is followed by Peoples Party of Nigeria (PPN) with 10 candidates, Social Democratic Party (SDP) with 6 candidates; while Justice Must Prevail Party (JMP), African Democratic Congress (ADC), Labor Party (LP), and Independent Democrats (ID) all have 5 candidates each respectively.
On the whole, a detailed analysis of the list of senatorial candidates cleared by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) showed that only 132 contestants out of the 1900 of the lot fall in the constitutionally reduced age range of 35 to 30 years.
The analysis further shows that 104 candidates cleared to contest fall in the former minimum age (35) limit operated before the law came into being in May 2018.
This situation could mean that except the lesser known parties record victories in the senatorial polls, the hopes of young Nigerians who fit into the Not-too-young-to-run age bracket (30-35) to become senators in the next dispensation would have been effectively dashed.
According to the provisions of the recently enacted age reduction for political offices (not-to-young-to-run) law, the age limit for contesting for the position of senator is now 30 years (from the previous 35 before the constitution was amended).
A further analysis of the list showed that persons of 36 to 40 years of age emerged as the highest number of candidates at 382 while those between 76 and 80 years have the lowest number on the list with 3 candidates.
Others include 260 candidates falling within the 41 to 45 years range; 265 within 46 to 50 years; 236 within 51 and 55 years; 257 within 56 and 60 years; 141 within 61 and 65 years; 58 within 66 and 70 years; and 18 candidates fall within 71 and 75 years.
Reporting by Owokade Oluwatomilade