By Prudence Arobani
New York – Nigeria’s Ambassador to the U.S., Justice Sylvanus Nsofor (rtd) has commended President Muhammadu Buhari for not excluding his office in signing the ‘Not-Too-Young-to-Run’ bill into law.
Nsofor, who gave the commendation as a guest speaker at the 2018 International Young Leaders Assembly at the UN headquarters in New York, said the youth made up 75 per cent of Nigeria’s population.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Buhari signed the bill into law in May following its passage by the National Assembly in 2017.
“Pursuant to the desideratum, President Muhammadu Buhari of The Federal Republic of Nigeria promulgated into law, on the May 31, 2018, ‘Not Too Young to Run Bill’ thereby reducing the age qualification for elective offices or positions but not excepting his position or office,” he said.
He said based on the Nigerian Census, 2006, the youth population constituted 70 per cent adding, the world population of youth constitutes 25 per cent.
The Nigerian envoy said the youth of a nation were the “trustees of posterity” and the the “world changers”.
Nsofor said: “’The youths of today are the leaders of tomorrow’. But I make haste to add, the youths are also ‘partakers of today’.
“The youth of or in any society or nation play vital and very important roles in shaping its moral tune, fostering the social cohesion, economic prosperity and its political stability.
“They provide the needed goods and services. I choose to dwell on the ‘Role of Young People in National Development’.
“The youth – its leadership – cannot and should not be left out in the national or international scheme of things. Indeed, this is an aphorism. They are the world changers. But why?
“Because only and only because the development of any society or its morality essentially depends on its productive and creative youths (or its leadership). And this, I may say is a ‘sine qua non’”.
He noted that we could not always build the future for the youth but we could always build the youth for our future by instructing them at childhood in the way they should go and when they grow old, they would not leave it.
Noting the theme of the conference, ‘Moral and Innovative Leadership for Peace and Development’, Nsofor said Nigerian businessman Aliko Dangote represented a perfect illustration.
“This Nigerian of whom all are proud, at the early age of 20 years started a small business firm.
“And today the Dangote Group of Companies of which Alhaji Aliko Dangote is the Chief Executive Officer is the famous successor of that small business firm,” he said.
He admonished the youth to channel their energy and power, their noble thoughts and ideas into productive, moral, and lawful ventures to contribute meaningfully to the national or international growth, development and economy.
The Nigerian envoy also urged them to be law abiding adding, “the top and bottom of all the admonition is ‘peace’”.
Sections 65, 106, 131, 177 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria stipulates that the president has to be at least 40, while senators and state governors have to be aged 35 or above.
The new law, however, reduced the minimum age for presidential candidates from 40 to 35, and state governors and senators from 35 to 30, while the age limit for state assembly is 25.