By MOSHOOD ISAH -The #NotTooYoungToRun Campaign has received a big boost as the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) endorsed Campaign.
The endorsement was made by the Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security at ECOWAS, Mrs. Halima Ahmed during the African Union Regional Youth Consultation for West and Central Africa, held in Abuja from 12 – 14 September, 2017 as she urged youth movements to embark on a sustained advocacy in their respective countries.
In her statement, Commissioner Ahmed endorsed the Campaign and pledged the support of ECOWAS to the reduction of age limits for candidates running for elective offices. She also urged electoral management bodies (EMBs) and parliaments in ECOWAS Member States to create the necessary enabling legal environment to allow young people contesting for political offices.
According to Mrs Ahmed, “at ECOWAS, we support initiatives like #NotTooYoungToRun aimed at reducing age limits for candidates running for elective office. We see #NotTooYoungToRun Campaign as a critical advancement of the principles of ECOWAS Protocol & we support it”.
The #NotTooYoungToRun campaign welcomes this endorsement with gratitude and commends ECOWAS for its dedication and support to the advancement of youth issues across the West African sub-region. This endorsement will in no small measure boost the campaign and mount pressure on the State Assemblies to pass the #NotTooYoungToRun bill which is currently under consideration as part of the ongoing Constitution review process in Nigeria.
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 35, 35 to 30, and 30 to 25 respectively. The reduction will take the age of candidacy State Houses of Assembly from 30 to 25. The Bills sponsored by Hon. Tony Nwulu, member representing Oshodi/Isolo constituency and Sen. Abdul-Aziz Nyako also seeks to mainstream independent candidacy into Nigeria’s electoral process.
On 26 July 2017 the Senate passed the #NotTooYoungToRun bill in the National Assembly, with an overwhelming majority (86-10) and on 27 July 2017 the bill was passed, again by a large majority (261-23), in the House of Representatives.