Reading Time: 5 mins read
Dissatisfaction with democratic politics is fueled partly by the dominance of gerontocrats in politics and the disconnect between politics and citizens. The value that citizens derive from politics is primarily influenced by the manner political actors practice the game of politics. Politics loses its relevance when it fails to deliver tangible outputs to citizens. It takes a cadre of political actors with a sense of purpose and commitment to democratic values, ethical leadership, and the common good to achieve the desired outcome of democratic politics – freedom and development. This notion explains the ideological foundation of the globally acclaimed Not Too Young to Run movement, aimed at changing the face of politics by mobilising young people into politics and supporting them to stay in politics.
passage of the Not Too Young to Run Act in 2018, which resulted in a reduction in the age qualification for the office of the President from 40 years to 35 years, House of Representatives from 30 years to 25 years, and State House of Assembly from 30 years to 25 years. Nigeria’s youths deserve commendation for maximising youth power to disrupt the political landscape through constitutional reforms. Before enacting the legislation, Nigeria grappled with poor youth representation in elective offices. In 2015, three out of 360 members in the House of Representatives were youths (18 – 35 years), representing 0.3% of the elected legislators. The figure was higher in State Houses of Assembly with 57 youths (6%) occupying seats out of 993 state constituency seats. Thanks to the Not Too Young to Run movement, 3% of seats in the House of Representatives were occupied by youths (25 – 35 years) and 8% in state legislatures, signaling a gradual but remarkable shift in the 2019 elections.
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