House of Representatives yesterday has passed for the second reading the bill seeking to reduce the age qualifications for those interested for the position of President, governor and Senate in the country to 30 years.
Initially, minimum age requirement for President is 40 years as prescribed by the 1999 constitution. While that of the governor and senate is 35 years and above.
The bill which was sponsored by Tony Chinedu Nwulu representing Oshodi-Isolo 11 Federal Constituency of Lagos State, however does not affect the House of Representatives since the age requierment is 25 years and above.
He stated: “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.”
Nwulu stated that many countries world wide had called for a reduction in age qualification into elected offices, adding that the bill was a demonstration of the growing desire and demand of youths to participate in the democratic process.
According to him, “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.”
On the Independent candidacy, he stressed the need to open up the space for lawmakers to come in as independent candidates. He said: “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.”