OrderPaperToday – The United Nations (UN) has thrown its weight behind the campaign to lower the age criteria for running for politica office in Nigeria.

The endorsement was made by UN Secretary General’s Envoy on Youth, Mr. Ahmed Alhendawi, who spoke Wednesday at an interactive session with young people at the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports in Abuja.

The #NotTooYoungToRun campaign was launched to drum support for passage of a Bill in the National Assembly to reduce the age limit for contesting into certain elective offices in the country.

Mr. Ahmed Alhendawi said the bill is important considering not only the age of the continent but also the overwhelming youth demographic in Nigeria, noting that “interventions for youth without the youth are not for youth.”

A statement by Samson Itodo of the Youth Initiative for Advancement, Growth and Advocacy (YIAGA) said the UN envoy noted further that “working with and for young people is one of the priority areas for the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, saying his office specifically focuses on strengthening the position of young people across government, civil society, academia, media, and the agencies of the United Nations.”

According to the statement, “the #NotTooYoungToRun campaign welcomes this endorsement with gratitude and commends the UN Youth Envoy for his dedication and support to the advancement of youth issues across the globe. This endorsement will in no small measure boost the campaign and mount pressure on the National and State Assemblies to pass the #NotTooYoungToRun bill which is currently under consideration by the Constitution review committee in the House of Representatives having passed first and second reading.

“The #NotTooYoungToRun bill seeks to alter Sections 65, 106, 131, and 177 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) to reduce the age of qualification for the office of the President, Governor, and House of Representatives from 40 to 30, 35 to 30, and 30 to 25 respectively. The reduction will take the age of candidacy for Senate from 35 to 30, and that of State Houses of Assembly from 30 to 25.  The Bill sponsored by Hon. Tony Nwulu, member representing Oshodi/Isolo constituency also seeks to mainstream independent candidacy into Nigeria’s electoral process.”

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