It is no longer news that the longly awaited ‘#NotTooYoungtoRun’ bill has been finally signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari. The bill was initially championed by a PDP member, Hon. Tony Nwulu, representing Oshodi Isolo, Lagos at the Federal House of Representatives. Hon Tony Nwulu presented the bill before the National Assembly in 2016. Ever since then, the buzz around the campaign was strongly felt across major social and new media channels.
The hashtag, ‘#NotTooYoungToRun’ trended in the last couple of days on social media after the Presidential Assent. The new law adjusts the Nigerian constitution through reduction in age qualifications for certain elective offices as promulgated by the constitution. It is noteworthy to commend Mr. President’s courage for assenting to the bill. This will not only encourage the youths to be fully involved in the electoral process but also give the electorate more choices as to who to be voted for.
However, beyond the ‘#NotTooYoungtoRun’ rhetorics, youth generally need to be informed that there is more to be done if truly they want to make the signed bill an achievable feat. More than trending the hashtag, pragmatic roles need to be played actively by them. Beginning from joining a political party and attending their ward meetings, getting involved in the party primary elections as delegates, to collection of their respective Permanent Voter’s Card (PVC) and participation in other electoral processes. Piloting the affairs of country like Nigeria is not fun fare. Besides the age factor, it takes consistent effort, good financial back-up, intelligent planning, strong track record among other noteworthy attributes as young people.
Political aspirants or candidates do not win elective positions because they are young or old. Youth should not believe they can automatically handle the affairs of the country simply because they are young. Instead, they should begin to take initiatives especially at grassroots level using the diverse resources at their disposal to change their community for better. This would surely build their credibility and make them have a foretaste of what to expect when operating at higher levels of government.
Getting youths elected in political positions is not an issue, the main point is to get responsive and responsible youths who would contribute meaningfully to the development of our dear nation, Nigeria and not those who want to consume out of the national cake or aspirants with any other wrong motives.
In addition, there is a serious need for the reorientation of citizens’ mindset so as to bring in more quality representation to the electoral and governance process. Citizens need to regard their choices of who lead them as revered, to be given to the best possible candidate wholesomely screened rather than deciding impulsively by sentiments or provision of immediate and short time gratifications as termed stomach infrastructure by the masses.