President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday signed into law, the “Not Too Young To Run Bill,” while appealing to youth not to consider contesting for presidency until 2023.
He said: “I am confident each one of you will transform Nigeria in your own way – whether through media, agricultural enterprise, economists, engineers, or as lawmakers in your States or at Federal levels, or as State Governors – and even someday, as President. Why not?
“But please, can I ask you to postpone your campaigns till after the 2019 elections!”
Buhari had promised to assent to the bill in his Democracy Day address last Tuesday.
The signing ceremony took place inside the Council chambers of the presidential villa, Abuja.
The bill reduces the eligible age for aspirants for members of the State Houses of Assembly from 30 to 25 years; Federal House of Representatives from 30 to 25 years; and eligible age for aspirants for Office of the President from 40 to 35 years.
In his remarks after signing the bill into an act, Buhari observed that the age limits for Senators and Governors were not reduced as originally proposed by the sponsors of this bill, saying “this is an issue that may need to be addressed going forward.”
He told the youth who had one representative each from the 36 states of the federation at the signing ceremony that as young people, they are set to leave their mark on the political space, just as they have done over the decades in entrepreneurship, sports, art, media entertainment, technology, and several other fields.
President Buhari described the youth as Nigeria’s most important resource and promised that his administration will continue to do everything in its power to make the country work for them.
Admonishing that the signing of the bill is not the end of the journey, the President said: “it is only the beginning; there is still a lot of work ahead, towards ensuring that young people take full advantage of the opportunities provided not only by this constitutional amendment but also through Nigeria’s boundless prospects.
“You should inculcate the spirit of self-help. Those who complete their training should not just sit down and wait for government or private sector to employ them. You should be innovative and turn your hands to any legitimate work that will enable you to sustain yourself.
Speaking at the ceremony, Convener of the group behind the bill , Samson Itodo, regretted that Lagos, Kano and Zamfara states were the only states whose legislatures rejected the bill.
According to him, in signing the bill, Buhari has written his name in gold for being the first president to sign the bill.
He implored the president to press for internal democracy in political parties and ensure the reservation of some positions for young people.
While thanking the president, he observed that young people are happy and their faith has been restored in the country.