OrderPaperToday – Despite the high spirits that greeted the promulgation of the Not-Too-Young-To-Run law, there are still several factors that hinder youth aspiration for elective office in Nigeria.
This is the view of 28 years old member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Ndi Kato, who contested for the nomination of the Jema’a state constituency ticket in the Kaduna House of Assembly.
In an interview with OrderPaperNG, Ms Kato recounted her experience and concluded that although a major milestone has been achieved with the law, there is still a long way to go for youth participation in politics.
She however assured youths that reaping the fruits of the law is not immediate while reiterating the need for grass root penetration.
She identified the delegate system of party nomination as one of the hurdles as it makes the process capital intensive. “A few group of people get to choose for the large group before you present the candidate to the larger group. Wow! It is capital intensive. When people pay as much as N50, 000 for state house of assembly per delegate. My local government has one constituency, 137 delegates. Imagine if you have to pay all of them N50, 000 each,” she said.
Kato explained further: “For those of us young people who come, there has been someone who has been in the system since 1999 waiting for his turn in that position that is going to battle you. They ask you, ‘Where are you coming from, I have been here since 1999. You have so many years ahead of you’ And I ask myself, ‘you are still here and still hanging on for the patronage?”
On gender, she narrated her experience when she went to her state for primaries and was ridiculed and told that she won’t win. She said: “Your gender of course. They say, ‘you have come, you are so cute. Thank God you have finally come. We have never had a woman run for office. Come and join don’t worry you will not get it but we will give you appointment and you will win.’”