The bill to reduce the age qualifications of candidates contesting for the positions of presidency, governorship and senate has been passed for a second reading by the house of representatives on Wednesday, June 8, 2016.
According to the bill the age range for candidates for aforementioned positions was reduced to 30 years old while that of contestants for the house of representatives and state houses of assembly was reduced to 25 years old, Vanguard reports.
The bill is a move to encourage youths to actively participate in the electoral process of the country.
Moreover, the bill sponsored by Tony Chinedu Nwulu, a member of the Peoples Democratic Party, representing Oshodi-Isolo 11 Federal Constituency of Lagos State, encourages independent candidates to participate in the electoral process.
The Bill is an alteration of section 65, 106, 131 and 177 of the 1999 constitution which had prescribed qualification into the office of President to 40 years and above, office of governors and senate, 35 years and above as well as house of representatives and state houses of assembly to 25 years and above.
Nwulu said: “Countries like the United Kingdom parliament decided in 2006 to lower their age of candidacy from 21 to 18, which had existed since the Parliamentary Elections Act 1695. An age candidacy of 25 would encourage greater youth participation in politics.”
He further noted that the age qualification reduction bill was initiated following demands from many countries.
Nwulu also added that the bill was a demonstration of the growing desire and demand of youths to participate in the democratic process.
“This desire itself could be viewed as a sufficient warrant for young people to participate, demonstrate a willingness to engage and fulfill the burdens of office,” he stated.
“It is pertinent now to amend the constitution to make room for independent candidates to widen the democratic processes in our elections, and above all to encourage our young ones to fully participate in all elective offices.”