As at April 2017, the world population was estimated to have reached 7.5 billion, with those in the age range of 15 to 64 years taking 65.9%. Those above 65 years are a meagre 7.9%. It is therefore no coincidence that in Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country, those above 65 are a meagre 3.1%. Nigeria. Nigeria is currently witnessing a growing youth bulge, with those under 14 years accounting for more than 40 percent of its citizens, and 55.9% of the population are between 15 and 64 years old. However, in Nigeria, the youths may never get the chance to be elected into important political offices.
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, gave heart-warming indications last year that Nigerians from about of 30 years of age would soon be eligible to be President of the country. He explained that the provision was contained in a new bill seeking to lower the age qualification for persons vying for political offices in Nigeria.
Specifically, the speaker explained that the bill would alter Sections 65, 106, 131 and 177 of the 1999 Constitution by simply lowering the age qualification bar. If the amendment succeeds, the age qualification for the Presidency will drop from 40 to 30 years; Governor, 35 to 30 years; Senate, 35 to 30 years; House of Representatives and State House of Assembly, 30 to 25 years. Meanwhile, if that bill will ever become a law has become a source of concern.
In an interesting early contrast, however, at the recently concluded National Assembly retreat in Lagos, the lawmakers refused to include the ‘Not Too Young To Rule’ bill that has passed its first and second reading in the final report that was considered and adopted by the lawmakers. The ‘Not Too Young To Rule’ bill was sponsored by 46 year-old Senator Nyako.
With the tactical silence on the bill, Nigerian youths are being turned to perpetual leaders of tomorrow whose tomorrow never come. With the average age of members of the current Senate of Nigeria’s Senate put at 60, young Nigerians may wait a longer time to serve in that area. There is nothing constitutionally wrong with being old in the senate, as one can actually become a senator till death. One may, however want to ask; has the Senate served itself by sweeping the bill under the carpet?
Greennews.ng asks all youths to stand up and peacefully ensure that the senate pass the bill. If the current set of leaders has not been able to take the country to promise land for almost 60 years, the country may lack fresh ideas in the polity to chart a new course for the seemingly sinking Nigerian ship.
Arise O compatriots!