President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday signed the “Not-too-young- to-run” bill into law at the State House, Abuja.
After signing, he jokingly asked the youth to shift their campaign until next year’s election.
“But please, can I ask you to postpone your campaigns till after the 2019 elections!” he told his guests, who clapped and laughed.
Buhari has declared his intention to run next year.
Urging the youth to wait for 2023 to run for President, he said that the new law permits them to run for the various political offices.
The new law, he said, has reduced the age limit for contesting for House of Representatives and State Houses of Assembly from 30 to 25 years
For President, the age limit has been reduced from 40 to 35 years.
Through its Founder Samson Itodo and National Coordinator Faruk Ibrahim, the Youth Initiative for Advocacy, Growth and Advancement (YIAGA), praised the leadership of the National Assembly for its role in the making of the law.
The group said the passage of the bill into law was the first phase of the struggle, urging both chambers of the National Assembly to insist on free and fair elections next year.
Itodo said: “Let me congratulate you on the campaign that helped in the passage of the bill in the National and State Houses of Assembly. What you have done has become a reference point across the continent.
“When you have the voice, you have the numbers. So the first thing for the advocacy that will support ‘Not Too Young to Run’ must be free and fair elections.
“We want to convey our appreciation to you and the other 108 members of the Senate that we are pleased with this development. You and your counterparts in the House of Representatives have written your names in gold,” Itodo said.
However, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has chided Buhari and the All Progressives Congress (APC) for claiming to be the architects of the ‘Not-Too-Young-to-Run Act’.
A statement by the National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Kola Ologbondiyan said the bill that culminated in the passage of the Act, was sponsored and pursued by the PDP members in the National Assembly and State Houses of Assembly.
The statement said, “It is instructive to note that President Buhari had no input whatsoever in the bill; never showed any support or enthusiasm towards the initiative and had no option than to perform a mandatory constitutional duty of assenting to the bill, as a clear reflection of the mood of the nation, given that the bill had already found an easy passage to the crucibles of the required approval of two-third of states in the federation.
“The PDP therefore urges the Nigerian youths to immediately take advantage of the Generation Next platform and incentives already established by the repositioned PDP and actively participate in the collective quest to rescue our nation from the misrule of the APC”.