THE NOT TOO YOUNG TO RUN LAW AND YOUTH PARTICIPATION IN POLITICS AND GOVERNANCE IN NIGERIA
As ‘political equals’ constitute the major characteristic of democracy, it beacons, therefore, on everyone within a defined political space to attend a responsiveness which will accord them the opportunity to formulate preferences as well as align same either by individual or collective actions to their fellow citizen or the government of their choice. The Nigerian Constitution of 1999 as amended 2011 has disrupted this important characteristic of democracy by disqualifying persons below the ages 40, 35 and 30 from throwing their hats into the ring during presidential, governorship, Senate, House of Representative and House of Assembly elections in the country.
The principle of ‘all citizens are eligible for all posts’ frowns at age barrier in a democratically configure country. From Nigeria’s return to democracy in 1999, known faces have resurfaced in successive elections, especially at the Federal level. Most of these persons have been in positions of authority between 60s and 80s. Some of these politicians have ruled as military heads during the military regime and are still making efforts to get into the Aso Rock. This situation has triggered several debates from scholars and the general public, as regards the place of the youths in Nigeria government and politics. However, on the 31st day of May, 2018 an historic event took place in Nigeria. The event was the signing of the “Not too young to run Bill” into law by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The Bill which is now the “Not too Young to Run Act” (NTYTRA) was passed by the 8th National Assembly, under the leadership of Bukola Saraki (Senate President). The NTYTRA has been seen as the most followed public bill in the Country right from when democracy was restored in 1999 (Amadi, 2018). The NTYTRA amends the Constitution by reducing the age qualification for certain elective offices created by the Constitution (Sesan, 2018). Today, the bill has generated lots of arguments in support and against it. Those against NTYTRA believes that it is arrant nonsense, a deceit, useless, unnecessary and a pyrrhic victory, those in support posits that it is a victory for democracy, a historic event and opportunity for the youths to decide the future of the Country (Amadi, 2018). The aim of this study is to consider the pros and cons of NTYTRA. Emphasis will be placed on its implications on Nigeria’s democracy. The study will also take into account the arguments for as well as arguments against the NTYTRA.