Mixed reactions trail ‘Not Too Young To Run’ law
Former President of Igbo think-tank, Aka Ikenga, Goddy Uwazurike, has described the enacted “Not Too Young To-Run” Act assented on Thursday by President Muhammadu Buhari “as a mere humorous law.”
Uwazurike said the constitution of Nigeria clearly states the age qualifications for the offices of the President, Governors, Senators, and members of the Houses of Representatives, State Assembly, among others.
Uwazurike, citing Section 106 (b) of the 1999 Constitution, which states the age of 30 and Section 131(b), which stipulates that a presidential candidate shall be at least 40 years, said: “A mere Act cannot amend the constitution. The only remedy is the amendment of the constitution. As a matter of fact, any law that is inconsistent with the constitution is null and void to the extent of the inconsistency.
“The constitution is the Supreme law and all laws, whether existing or new, must align with it. I am puzzled as to the hysteria when it is only all motion and no movement.”
Similarly, another legal practitioner, Daniel Eyyazo, said the law would only be something to go by if the 1999 Constitution is amended to reflect it.
Eyyazo, who described the law as an “effort in futility” told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), yesterday in Jos, the Plateau State capital, that the law would remain null until the constitution is amended to fully accommodate it.
This is just as a civil society group, Project One Productions, commended Buhari for assenting to the Act, which was passed last year by the National Assembly.
Its Coordinator, Bisayo Akinnadeju, said the signing of the Act would address the age discrimination in contesting for elective offices, while giving young Nigerians the opportunity to bring their wealth of knowledge to bear in governance.
Akinnadeju said the signing of the assent to the Act by Buhari was proof that the country’s democracy is advancing.
“In a rapidly changing world, where more than 50 per cent of the population is under 30, but less than two per cent of elected legislators are, this milestone will ensure active participation of young people in electoral politics,” he enthused.
She charged the youth to be more politically active by contesting for elective positions and urged political parties to give the much-needed support to youths interested in contesting for political positions.
But Eyyazo insisted: “If our constitution is not amended, the Not-Too-Young-To-Run law is null, because it is only the constitution that provides for the ages of various political offices.
“Until the constitution is amended, any other law that contradicts Section 1, Sub-section 3 is considered void, because it is inconsistent with the provisions of our constitution.
“So, if the constitution is not tampered with to accommodate the new ages of those to contest political offices, the efforts will still be futile,” he said.
He called on the National Assembly to amend the constitution to reflect the new law in order to avoid embarking on a fruitless journey of enacting a law that would be useless.
He added: “What the National Assembly ought to have done is to alter the section of the constitution to reflect the new law. No Act of the National Assembly can override the provision of the constitution. So, they should do the needful.”
Eyyazo called on young people intending to contest elections next year not to celebrate yet, but push for the right thing to be done.
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