Youth congress seeks passage of age reduction bill for elective positions
A group, Southern Nigeria Youth Congress (SNYC), has called on the National Assembly to pass a bill seeking to reduce the age criteria for candidates running for elective positions in the country.
Speaking in Asaba yesterday after a protest match, the SNYC President, Mr. Ugagaoghene Ogheneyole, warned that if the bill is not passed within the next six months, there would be a mass protest against federal lawmakers.
The bill seeks to reduce the age for presidential candidates from 40 to 30; governorship and senatorial candidates from 35 to 30; and House of Representative and state assemblies from 30 to 25.
Ogheneyole wonders why the National Assembly is foot-dragging in passing the bill , which had since scaled through second reading, and was now before the House of Representatives Committee on Constitution Review.
He said: “We hereby give the National Assembly six months ultimatum from today being first of January 2017 to complete the process of passage of the bill into law, in order to allow youth participate in the 2019 general election, if they must continue to have the faith and trust of the youth’’.
The youth leader insisted that the bill when passed, assented to and implemented, will be of immense benefits to youths aspiring for elective offices in future elections across the country, explaining that the bill was aimed at altering sections 65, 106,131, and 177 of the 1999 constitution as amended.
Ogheneyole added that the bill was aimed at aligning the voting age of 18 with the eligibility age for contesting for political offices in Nigeria.
“We the Southern Nigeria Youth Congress have univocally accepted and agreed that the bill is a welcome development, and want to appreciate the National Assembly especially members that have deemed it fit to sponsor the bill should speedy the passage,” he said.
Among other demands, Ogheneyole who tasked the Federal Government to consider independent candidates running for the legislative positions, advocated the alignment voting age with eligibility age as enshrined in the constitution, which gives the citizen a right to vote and be voted for.
The group also urged Federal Government to work with the report of the 2014 Confab, which recommended first degree (BSc, HND, ND and NCE) as the minimum qualification for eligibility to run, rather than O’level.
They also demanded a drastic reduction in the price of nomination forms to accommodate independent youth candidates.