Not too Young to Run National Day of Action
The Not too young to run movement is a group of vibrant young people who want change in Nigeria. The campaign started 2 years ago to work on a constitutional amendment to reduce the minimum age to become an elected official. This bill addresses the age limit to run for president lowering it from 40 to 35, Senate and Governor from 35 to 30, House of Representatives and State House of Assembly members, 30 to 25. The amendment passed the national assembly last year and went to the State houses of assembly. Currently 34 state houses of assemblies voted in support of the bill. Now, the bill is ready for presidential assent. This important stage of the amendment process is the reason for the Not Too young to Run National Day of Action.
The Youth Initiative for Advocacy Growth and Advancement YIAGA is the convening organization of this movement. Mr. Samson Itodo the Executive Director and Cynthia Mbamalu, Program Manager have worked tirelessly on legislation like this for over a decade. Two years ago, they were able to draft an amendment bill to pass through the National Assembly. The movement used organizing, mobilization and the empowerment of the Nigerian youth. Now that the bill passed through the national and state houses of assemblies, the Not Too young to run movement mobilized hundreds of youth to the Unity fountain in Abuja. The purpose is to demand the president to assent on the bill. The Not too young to Run National Day of Action is one of the many examples I have highlighted about CSOs utilizing their platform to Transform Nigeria.
YIAGA was deliberate and intentional about their strategy for the passage of this bill. The Not too Young to run campaign is a movement. As a result, they were able to mobilize representatives from all 36 states who cared about this very issue. Each state conducted a “National Day of Action” where they reached out to over 20 State Houses of Assembly. YIAGA reached out to the grass tops from the National Assembly and kept the issue on the forefront. The amendment was not called and everyone was ready to organize for change. YIAGA and the Not too young to run team across the country conducted a rally on July 2017. The National assembly passed the bill in August. To transform Nigeria, it takes movements like this to hold our elected officials accountable. This movement caused a shift in power and Mr. President, the youth have spoken.
President Buhari has received negative press from his fight against corruption. The anti-corruption campaign was biased towards opposition of the APC party. The Fulani herdsmen have killed thousands of people across the country. The president’s response has been nothing short of weak and callous. The mass killings in Benue state showcased the wickedness of these herdsmen. Their funeral was publicized and the President was not in attendance. The Not Too Young to Run National Day of action would have been a great opportunity for the president to showcase his support of the youth. This might shift the paradigm a bit towards his re-election.
A representative from the president’s office acknowledged the receipt of a letter from the movement. This states that the National Assembly has a week to send the bill for presidential assent. They are also demanding for the president to sign off on the bill. Only time would tell how things play out.