The Not-Too-Young-To-Run Movement has called on political parties to operationalise the Not-Too-Young-To-Run law as a deliberate move to enhance youths participation in politics.
The Convener of the Movement, Mr Samson Itodo, made the call in Abuja at a rally tagged: “National Day of Action for the Declaration of Candidacy and Party Nomination.”
Itodo said that the rally was organised in order to make some demands to political parties on youth inclusion.
“The group took time out to lead a procession to the national headquarters of the leading parties to urge them to operationalise the Not –Too- Young -To -Run law for the sake of young people.
“The movement is demanding that political parties reserve tickets for young people with character, capacity and competence ahead of the 2019 general elections.
“We are also demanding for 298 tickets out of the available 900 tickets for the Houses of Assembly election nationwide and 109 tickets out of the available 360 tickets for the House of Representatives elections nationwide.
“We are asking political parties to prescribe and enforce spending limits for party nomination fees, charges and cost for nomination of young candidates.”
Itodo said that the call became imperative because there were challenges hampering youths’ participation in spite of the signing into law of the age reduction bill.
According to him, the bill cannot be a reality if political parties don’t give young people who have the capacity, competence and character the opportunity to pick tickets.
He said the movement also wants the parties to reduce the cost of nomination forms and running for primary election.
“This is our time. No ticket to young people, no youth votes. We want to see young people in the state Houses of Assembly, House of Reps, Senate, governors and even the presidency.”
Itodo said that the movement consisted of over 50 youth groups in the country and would mobilize 50 million youths to vote against any party that failed to keep to the demands of the group.
Mr Hamzat Lawal, another convener of the Movement, said that the group recognized that high cost of forms undermined youths.
Lawal said that that there was need for political parties to prescribe and enforce spending limits for party nomination fees and charges, adding that the cost of nomination forms should not exceed N2,000,000 for presidential aspirant.
According to him, the movement highlighted intended cost for picking nomination forms which is N2, 000, 000 for presidential aspirant, N1, 000, 000 for governorship aspirant and N600, 000 for senatorial aspirant.
He said that for state house of assembly aspirant, the form should be N200,000 while that of House of Representatives aspirant should be N400, 000.
He said that political parties should adopt transparent, democratic and direct party primaries in the candidate selections process for the 2019 general elections.
Responding on behalf of the All Progressives Congress (APC), National Working Committee (NWC), Mr Adamu Fanda, National Treasurer, said that the party was already acting on two of the demands of the group.
Fanda said that APC was the only party that did not only give persons with disability opportunity to contest but made nomination forms free for women.
He said that it was time to practice an inclusive system in Nigeria because the country belonged to everybody, adding that youths had the highest demography in Nigeria and therefore could not be ignored.
“I will convey your message to the party on the issue of reduction in nomination forms because your other demands have been met by the party except the fees.
“I assure you that youths will be carried along in the party under the leadership of Adams Oshiomhole, who is an activists and a freedom fighter so your demands would be looked into,’’ he said.