By Ken Azahan, Abuja
Ahead of the 2019 general elections, a group of youths under the aegis of #YouthDecide2019 has accused political parties of frustrating the Not Too Young to Run Law recently signed by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The Not Too Young to Rule is a campaign which seeks to reduce the age limit for running for elected office in Nigeria and globally.
Addressing journalists in Abuja after a town hall meeting, spokesman of the group, Engr. Kenneth Eze explained that it was counterproductive for the current political leadership class in the country who occupied leadership positions as youths to stay put while the youths remain spectators.
According to the group, the high cost of expression of interests forms by political parties was a tacit way of disenfranchising the many competent youths who are willing to seek elective positions but unable to afford the outrageous cost of expression of interest forms.
“As citizens of this country, we are not only supposed to vote but also be voted for. However, the high cost of the expression of interest forms by political parties has prevented the many competent and willing youths from being voted for”.
He further stated that, the #YouthDecide2019 has embarked on massive mobilization of youth to participate in the electoral process adding that the time for youth to take up leadership roles was now.
“We are mobilizing youth to speak up with one voice as we journey into 2019. As we are gathered here in Abuja today, another meeting is taking place in Lafia, Nasarawa State. We have held similar town hall meetings in Lagos, Port-Harcourt and other states of the federation. #YouthDecide2019 is a grassroots movement that has presence in all the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory”.
While appealing to political parties to allocate slots to youths, Eze emphasized that getting to youths to speak with one voice is imperative as it is the only way to positively make change in the nation.
Some participants at the town hall meeting suggested that there was need for the emergence of a national Institute of youths: A body that will be the voice of the youths and promote solidarity amongst the youths in the long run.
The meeting was unanimous that if the youth refuse to be involved in politics, they will continue to be governed by people who do not have their interest at heart.