The Youth Initiative for Advocacy, Growth and Advancement (YIAGA) has commended the Senate for passing a constitutional amendment bill aimed at aligning the voting age of 18 with the eligibility age for contesting for political offices in Nigeria for first reading.
The Executive Director of YIAGA and coordinator of the “NotTooYoungToRun campaign” Samson Itodo said in a statement on Wednesday that the bill also referred to as the Not Too Young To Run seeks to guarantee the right to full political participation for young people.
He recalled that the bill with Gazette number SB. 363 was sponsored by Senator Abdul Aziz Nyako representing Adamawa Central Senatorial District and was read and passed for the first time during the Senate plenary on November 1, 2016.
“The Nigeria Constitution institutes a regime of partial franchise by prescribing age limits for running for elective offices,” Itodo said.
“Whilst the right to vote is guaranteed under the constitution, the analogous right to be voted for is not guaranteed until the attainment of a certain age depending on the political office,” he said.
He said the development promotes political exclusion and it contradicts the principle of universal and equal suffrage enshrined in Nigeria’s constitution and other international covenants like the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights, African Charter on Human and People’s Rights, African Youth Charter and the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance.
A similar bill which has passed first and second reading in the House of Representatives and currently under consideration by the House Committee on Constitution Review seeks to alter Sections 65, 106, 131 and 177, of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) to remove age as a criterion for political candidacy in Nigeria.
A similar bill has passed first and second reading in the House of Representatives and currently under consideration by the House Committee on Constitution Review.