The Coordinator, Bring Back Our Girls, Dr Oby Ezekwesili, has called on Nigerian youths to engage the senate to reduce the age of persons seeking political positions in the country.
She made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday in Abuja.
Ezekwesili, who was a guest speaker at the League of Progressive Ambassadors of Nigeria (LPAN)’s youth advocacy meeting, said that the Nigerian youths had the numerical strength to effect change in the country. She said:
They need to engage with the governance system and there is demand for a conversation around the constitution amendment.
With about 66 million of youths in the category of 18 to 35 years in this country, we have the numbers to be able to demand for that.
However, not just on age limit but a whole lot of other things where the constitution forms a constraint to their emergence of in governance as well as in the political process.
She said that if the objectives of the youths in politics were simply to replace the old ones, then they would not make any significant difference.
“But if their objectives in politics is to envision new nation, a new Nigeria, then we have the bases for saying the young minds should take over the governance of the country. This is the age of idea not the age of the person that should guide the way we think,” she said.
She said that there were some young people whose “ideas are very old, we don’t need those kinds of people pretending that they are youths. If we have them young and their ideas are also young, then the vision that they will have for the country will be a vision that take Nigeria to the top.”
“There are young people in their twenties running businesses that are worth mega billions, such are youths making significant choices and decision; we must encourage such young people to exercise leadership,” she said.
Ezekwesili, who is a former minister of education, reiterated the constraint in the constitutional provision for a certain age limit, adding that if they desire that change, then they need to advocate for a constitutional amendment in the that direction.
She said that social media had conferred on citizens the power to access knowledge and as such enable them to make meaning decisions in the political affairs of the country.
“I totally agree that by the age of 25, the young people should be able to exercise their political rights of being voted for in this country,” she said.