High cost of nomination forms: ‘Political parties have schemed out youths’
On May 31, 2018, President Muhammadu Buhari signed the Not-Too-Young-To-Run Bill into law, lowering the age of candidates seeking political office from 40 to 30 years. However, as political parties began their sale of nomination forms for candidates vying for political offices in the 2019 general elections, it became apparent that youths could not afford the cost. Abuja residents who spoke to Elizabeth OFFIONG and Edrina EMMANUEL, believe that political parties are short-changing youths in the process. Excerpts:
PRIYE ALASO: frankly, the not-too-young-to-run law is a clear case of giving with the left hand and taking back with the right hand. These people know that they are not being fair and transparent with Nigerians. So the only way they can stifle or suppress the influx of youths picking the nomination form is to increase the amount for the purchase of the form.
Most probably, the youths who can afford it are not interested in politics. I suggest the youths should come together and sponsor a single candidate who will represent their views and ideas of a credible leader. This single act will create a ripple effect and money would not be a barrier.
However, there should be an adjustment in the high prices of nomination forms if the government truly support the Not Too Young to Run Act. The same government that signed this bill into law has made it impossible for young Nigerians to be able to buy nomination forms for high positions in government. It does not make sense to me.
JEREMIAH GOKE: On one hand government wants youths to participate in the upcoming elections, on the other hand, youths cannot afford nomination forms. Now, that is my personal thought, but logically it could be a clash of interests. Knowingly or unknowingly, government has created a paradoxical issue for the youths.
Let me say it in our local parlance, ‘you say make we join follow contest then, you come increase price of forms. When we manage raise the funds, you question our source. When we jump pass questioning our source, you accuse us say we dey play godfatherism politics.’
A lot of reformation has to be done within parties and the electoral bodies to make the Not Too Young to Run Act realistic.
DAVID OBONG: Apart from sponsorship and also canvassing for support from other youths, I think emphasis should be shifted from the political party platforms to the ideology and views of any candidate.
The major political parties in Nigeria, PDP and APC, have made it so hard for young Nigerians to contest for any major leadership position. There is no law that says that one cannot contest under another party and succeed.
The youths should partner with candidates who share their ideology and are willing to work for the good of everyone, because most of the time, we youths have our own selfish interests.
It would be hard for a youth to get someone that would represent your interest. So why don’t they seek for these positions under another platform that would allow free and fair primaries where everyone can pick a form and emphasis will be diverted from the party to the strength of what individuals can offer on a neutral ground.
YAKUBU DAMARIS: in my opinion, the not-too-young-to-run law is ineffective because many youth cannot afford the tickets to contest election. Given that most young people are unemployed and many are still coming up, despite their interest in being part of the government, I don’t see it happening for them.
Besides, the high amount of money being charged to purchase forms is what I don't think even youth who are competent can meet up with. So the older people who already have the money will still continue to run the affairs of this country.
I think political parties should lower the amount of money for the sale of their forms to enable youths to buy and fully participate in competing for political positions.
JAMES ENEJOH: in actual fact, the price of forms is quiet too expensive for youths who have not been active in any formal sector to afford. Unfortunately, the prices are here to stay, from the look of things, and this is bad for unemployed youth aspiring for any political position.
For the not-too-young-to-run law to be effective, whoever aspires for any political position should have a track record over time and not a novice. I am confident that young people who have intentions to run have been able to garner financial support.
GODWIN AGBO: Well, with rising unemployment among youth, I can say that the not-too-young-to-run law is just another law because to run for any position you need money. Getting the forms is one thing and spending money to win the heart of the people is another. And there are other things money is needed for in election that an unemployed youth cannot afford.
Unemployment is a problem that needs to be solved. If not, there will be more limitations on the youth and the older ones in power will continue to rule because they have the experience and more importantly the resources to run. So something should be done to solve that problem in the country.
Photos: (Left-Right)Yakubu Damaris, Priye Alaso, Jeremiah Goke and James Enejoh
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