Home Politics Reps mull reduction of age eligibility for elective positions

Reps mull reduction of age eligibility for elective positions

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Abuja  –  The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Yakubu Dogara, on Monday in Abuja said that the House would consider lowering the age of eligibility for Nigerians seeking election into political offices.
Speaking during a dialogue with students from universities across the country, Dogara said the move was in order to allow youths to actively participate in the political process.
He charged the young people to participate more actively in politics by breaking voters’ apathy and elect leaders, who would secure their future and interests.
“I am aware that young people often find themselves on the fringes of the political process.
“We need to develop a structured manner of involving our students and youths in the political process.
“I think it may not be out of place to lower the age qualification for certain elective offices in the next constitutional amendment,’’ he said.
Dogara condemned political apathy among young people and called for a change in view of the critical role youths could play in strengthening the country’s democracy.
“Many young people are not involved in voting during elections and this threatens the representative nature of our democratic institutions,’’ he stated.
He told the youths that the country belonged to them, but that they had allowed it to be under the stranglehold of men and women of a generation that had overreached itself.
“The truth is that nothing will be ceded or conceded to your generation without a fight.
“In this endeavour, your voices mean nothing if you don’t have the votes.
“Therefore, all students in Nigeria must not only register to vote and cast their votes during elections, they must also ensure that their votes count,’’ he said.
The speaker, however, advised the students to always strike a balance between involvement in student unionism and academic excellence.
“I believe strongly that the culture of peaceful protest, demonstrations and general activism is not only necessary in a democratic state but is in fact a constitutional right.
“This ensures accountability of government to the people.
“Resistance to tyranny, crusade for justice and good governance require courage, patriotism and ideological purity.
“The culture of protest that I endorse must be uncompromisingly peaceful and non-violent. It must be based on selflessness and not aided by ambition or corruption.
“It must be for the right reasons and procured only by the purest of motives. It must not be based on propaganda and misinformation.
“It must be non-partisan. Students should never allow themselves to be used by politicians to score political points or by state or non-state actors to pick sour grapes on their behalf,’’ he said.
Dogara assured the students that the lawmakers would take right steps to meet most of their demands.
“We believe that student unionism is a vital training ground for leadership.
“On your part, you must return to the part of enlightened, peaceful, purposeful and violence-free student unionism and activism,’’ he added. (NAN)

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