Despite passing the ‘Not too young to run bill’, House of Representatives Speaker, Yakubu Dogara, has stated categorically that he doesn’t guarantee any youth in Nigeria to find a place within the political environment right of holding any leadership position.
Dogara made this known in an interview with a Lagos based print media that passing the bill was just a right step in giving hope to the youth for future political engagement.
“I worked with the Not too Young to Run Movement and from day one when the Bill was introduced, I saw this group of committed young people who were pushing for this Bill to be passed and thankfully, that is now history.
“I want to say without any fear of contradiction that it is just the first hurdle for us; I don’t think there is any guarantee somewhere that young people will find a place within the political environment right now, but it was one long and necessary step to take in this journey.
“If you look at the youth body, it comprises a large part of the population because half of the world’s population now is below 30. In rural Africa, the youth will soon overtake other demographies in terms of population.
“We felt it necessary to provide a seat at the table for these teeming young people who should take responsibility for decisions they make. The youths should not only be heard but should also participate in decisions that affect them; that’s the only way we will be investing in the future of our country.
“The Bill has been celebrated and the Movement that started in Nigeria has become a global revolution. As a matter of fact, our Parliament was recognised at the United Nations for pushing through this piece of legislation, so it is something that is celebrated across board.
“I must, however, caution, like I said it’s not enough; it is a necessary, logical first step that we have taken and I am glad that we have taken that. The youth themselves must now be prepared because you see, age is just like money; it’s not a question of how much of it you have, but how well you invest.
“They have to invest in generating the capacity that would make them compete because no one is going to say because you’re a young person and as the Constitution has been amended you can now aspire to any position you desire, and people will fold their hands and say just go and run for elections and win.
By Augustine Akhilomen