Written by Edrina EMMANUEL, Elizabeth OFFIONG

FCT residents divided on leadership role for youth


Since President Muhammadu Buhari granted Presidential assent to the “Not Too Young To Run” bill on Thursday May 31, 2018, the issue has divided Nigerians on the preparedness of the youth for public office. Edrina EMMANUEL and Elizabeth EFFIONG encountered some Abuja residents who shared their opinions. Excerpts:



The passing of the bill is an excellent idea. We need to open up the space for more young people to participate in politics and governance, not just as voters but as decision makers. This bill goes a long way to making that happen.

I also believe that young Nigerians are ready to run the affairs of the nation. There is plenty evidence that points to this especially the vibrancy with which we have built our economic sector through entertainment, putting Nigeria on the world map. We also have many young Nigerians in every sector including government who are doing well. There are young people who are ready to run and have a lot to offer.



The bill has created a platform for the youths to make a difference at the helm of affairs in the country. To be honest, I do not believe young Nigerians are ready to handle sensitive positions in government.

We have not proven to ourselves that we can deviate from the "norms" of governance in this nation. We are comfortable playing the role of subservient suckling, spoon-fed by the existing rule of law. We have not shown any example of capability. So no one knows about our potentials.

I am not surprise Mr President has asked young Nigerians to be patient till 2023 before the bill is put into action. Maybe by then, many of us, young Nigerians, will be mentally ready to hold such sensitive positions in government.



Young Nigerians should be happy about the new door that has been opened. The younger generation is tech-savvy and statistics show more than half the Nigerian population is between 18 and 30.

With the level of knowledge that abounds in this youthful and enlightened population, imagine what is to become of a nation governed by such, with abundant resources at its disposal. The Canadian president's cabinet has an average age of 40 and the young minds are doing just fine.

However, the bill being passed doesn't mean it ends there. The only thing that will determine if we are ready to handle public office is that we actually get involved in politics and wrestle this power off the hands of the older generation.


CHARITY CHAWAI: Passing the bill is a good step in the sense that Nigerian youths have been given an opportunity to truly be "leaders of tomorrow”.

However, young Nigerians are not ready. Perhaps, what unfolded in the past administrations has affected their mind-sets. But so far, from my observation, we are not ready to take over the mantle of leadership. Only a few of us are ready.

I have seen people who are irresponsible in their own homes come out to take over leadership of the country. They see it as an avenue to make money and fame. Our minds need to be reformed and renewed before we can handle any public office.

I think there should be set rules for politics. For instance, a minimum of a bachelor’s degree before anyone is eligible to pick a form. We have many dropouts currently occupying public offices. We need people with high intellect, good political backgrounds and able economic strategists to run this country.



The passage of the "Not Too Young To Run" bill into law is a welcome development. But "are Nigerian youths, which make up 60 per cent of the population, ready and good enough to contest, and win political positions such as governor and others?

My answer is an emphatic no! This bill will only pave way for the children of corrupt and wicked politicians who have enriched themselves with the wealth of the nation and have used the stolen wealth to educate their children in good schools overseas.

The high cost of electioneering in the country is another reason this will not favour majority of our youth who are jobless, poor and half-baked literates. In Nigeria, we celebrate mediocrity and ill-gotten wealth.

So anyone who really wants to do the right thing and fight these corrupt evil system will almost immediately be brought down by the same people he or she is trying to rescue. Another disadvantage to this bill is the fact that the average Nigerian youth is consumed by the get rich quick mentality and does not recognise the importance of climbing up the success ladder gradually.



Since the bill has been passed, any serious minded youth can now take the bold step and run for any position. However, this bill is not for the masses but for the children of the rich and powerful and those whose parents are already in power.

Clearly, most youth can't run because they don't have the financial backing to fund political activities. This bill is an instrument for old and influential politicians to continue to use their assets and influence decisions taken in the country.


PRINCESS ADAH: I think the youth are ready to run for political positions because they are young and able. You can't expect someone over 70 or 80 to take over leadership because you would later hear of sickness as a result of old age and less capacity to carry the burden of governance.

Though youth are not just the future of Nigeria, they are Nigeria. I personally believe the youth are ready to run because apart from the fact that it would reduce the rate of unemployment, there's also a high tendency of the youth doing better in office.

The earlier we realize how ready our youths are to run and give them the opportunity, the better for the country.









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