Nigerian president Tuesday said he will assent to a bill that will pave a way for more young people to contest elections in Africa’s most populous country.
Known as ‘Not Too Young to Run’ Bill, when passed into law later this week, the bill will lower the age limit for those seeking political office in a country where more than half of the population is younger than 30.
“In few days to come, I will be joined by many promising young Nigerians to sign into law the “Not Too Young to Run” Bill,” President Muhammadu Buhari said in a televised speech to mark the nineteenth anniversary of Nigeria’s return to democracy and the third year of his government.
Nigeria’s 1999 constitution stipulates that the president has to be at least 40, while senators and state governors have to be aged 35 or above. The bill, however, reduces the minimum age for presidential candidates from 40 to 35, and state governors and senators from 35 to 30. The age limit for state assembly will be 25.
The bill was passed by both Chambers of the National Assembly in 2017 and also been approved by the constitutionally required a two-third of the state assemblies.
Buhari, 75, is standing for reelection in the next general elections scheduled to hold in the first quarter of 2019. Other candidates such as Atiku Abubakar of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), former Nigeria’s central bank deputy governor Kingsley Moghalu, the publisher of Sahara Reporters Omoyele Sowore are older than 40 years.