Not too young to run?

On Wednesday, 87 Nigerian senators passed a bill that lowered the age requirement for seeking the highest political offices in the country. Also called ‘Not too young to run,’ the bill, if made law, will allow 25-year-old Nigerians to contest for House of Representatives, and 35-year-olds, for presidency. Dozens of young people had marched to the National Assembly on Monday to argue for a constitutional review in favour of the bill. The last hurdle left, is for a minimum of 24 Houses of Assembly to endorse the bill.

For the next 24-hours after the senate voted, The Guardian put out a poll to gauge the public’s reaction to the development. We asked on our website and Twitter handle: does including more young people in the political mix necessarily indicate progress? Seventy-four (74) per cent of respondents agree that, ‘the youths deserve a chance,’ while twenty-two (22) per cent are not hopeful for any changes. Unsurprisingly, four per cent picked option (C) which said, ‘Nigeria will be worse off.’

Nigeria has been tipped by a recent United Nations report to surpass the United States of America (current No. 3 biggest world population) in population by 2050. Currently, Nigeria is the seventh-most-populous country in the world with nearly 200 million people scattered across a land mass the same size as America’s Texas state which has 27.47million people. Seventy (70) per cent of Nigeria’s population are 35 years and below.

As the constitution stands presently, a presidential aspirant must be 40 and over to contest. Nigeria’s youngest serving politician is the Kogi State governor, 42-year-old Yahaya Bello. Two months ago, France swore in 39-years-old Emmanuel Macron as president.

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