On a rainy Tuesday morning at 8am, residents of Abuja took to Unity Fountain, holding banners and flags enthusiastically as they advocated for the #NotTooYoungToRun bill.
“Not Too Young to Run” is an open campaign with a mission to address age discrimination in candidacy for the legislative and executive branches. Through the campaign, the protesters hope to raise awareness on the rights of young people running for elected offices in Nigeria and around the world.
The peaceful protest seeks to garner attention in support of the Not Too Young to Run bill. The #NotTooYoungToRun Bill seeks to alter the Section 65, 106, 131, 177 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) to reduce the age qualification for the office of the President from 40 years to 30 years; Governor 35 to 30, Senate 35 to 30, House of Representatives 30 to 25 and State House of Assembly 30 to 25. The Bill also seeks to mainstream independent candidacy into Nigeria’s electoral process.
The idea sparking the bill is due to the high population of young individuals in Nigeria and around the world. Approximately, 51% of the world’s population is under 30 yet young people make up less than 2% of the world’s members of parliament. The campaign is spearheaded by the idea that if you’re of the age to vote, then you should be of the age to run for office.
The partnerships for “Not Too Young To Run” include the Office of the Secretary General’s Envoy on Youth, the Inter-Parliament Union, the United Nations Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner, the European Youth Forum and the Youth Initiative for Advocacy, Growth, and Advancement.
Inspired by the Nigerian example, the Office of the UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth has initiated this global campaign in partnership with UNDP, OHCHR, the IPU, YIAGA and the European Youth Forum in order to convene existing efforts into a global movement and provide young people with a central platform through which to advocate.
What are your thoughts on the campaign?
Article written by Isioma Ononye
Photos by KC Nwakalor