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16thDailyTrustDialogue: Don’t hold positions meant for young people, Itodo tells politicians

The Coordinator of Not Too Young to Run, Mr. Samson Itodo, has charged older politicians not to hold positions meant for young people. Speaking at…

The Coordinator of Not Too Young to Run, Mr. Samson Itodo, has charged older politicians not to hold positions meant for young people.

Speaking at the 16th Daily Trust Dialogue in Abuja on Thursday, Itodo said older politicians should give young Nigerians opportunity to actualise their political aspirations.

“I plead that you take intentional steps to invest in the new generation. Do not hold positions that are meant for young people,” he told the participants.

On the country’s political landscape, Itodo said nothing has changed in Nigeria’s political landscape since 1999.

He observed that the only thing that has changed is the innovations by young Nigerians in the area of technology.

Itodo spoke on the theme of the dialogue: “Youth and Democracy: The Nigerian Challenge.”

He said there is a crisis of youth identity in Nigeria as some people in their 40s believe they are youth while the law recognises youth as young people within the age range of 18 to 35 years.

He said young people are assets to every society as any society that wants to make progress must invest in the youths.

He said the youths constitute 60 percent of Nigerians adding that over 80 percent of those who manage elections on Election Day are youths, mostly drawn from the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC).

He said Nigeria must reflect more on the quality of education and investments on the youths of the country.

He lamented that the prolonged Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) strike has left students out of universities, a demonstration of lack of priority on education of young people.

He said all the people that participated in the Not Too Young to Run never believed that in their lifetime they would witness the lowering of the age for running for elective positions in the country considering how rigid the constitution is.

He said the movement was beyond just reducing the age for running for offices, but a clamour for involvement in political activities and running of the country.

“This is a state where actualising aspiration is a challenge,” he told participants at the Dialogue.

He said some young politicians who won party primaries had their names substituted before the lists got to Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) because the older generation believed they were too young to occupy some political positions.

He said young Nigerians should be allowed to aspire to any position in Nigeria, saying there should be enabling political landscape for young people to actualise their aspirations.

He called on the older generation to advance political mentorship of the new generation to promote young people aspiring for political positions.