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President Buhari assents ‘not too young to run’ bill

President Muhammadu Buhari says Nigerian youths are the greatest resource that the country has, not oil or other natural endowments.

He stated this on Thursday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, while signing the not too young to run bill.

He said the new law affords the youth the opportunity to leave their mark on Nigeria's political space.

Describing the law as a landmark piece of legislation, President Buhari added that: This is a landmark piece of legislation that was conceived, championed and accomplished by young Nigerians. The coordinators of the not too young to run movement have now established a formidable legacy that in our maturing democracy, if you really want to change something and if you can organise yourselves and work towards it, you can achieve it and the outcome of this effort is this remarkable feat.

Your focus and contributions have now successfully improved the quality and maturity of Nigeria's democracy and expanded the playing field for youth participation in politics. You the young people of Nigeria are now set to leave your mark on the political space just as you have done over the decades in entrepreneurship, sports, arts, media, entertainment, technology and several other fields. You are undoubtedly Nigeria's most important resource � not oil, not agriculture, not solid minerals � but you and all of us. Your energy, intelligence and talent are what will drive and develop Nigeria, long after we are all gone.

The President used the opportunity to affirm his administration's effort of securing the future for the youth.

This is an opportunity for me to affirm that this Administration will continue to do everything in its power to make Nigeria work for you. You may all know that the Bill I just assented now becomes an Act of the National Assembly, he said.

Fatherly Advice

The Nigerian leader however advised the youth to continue to work hard and utilise their talents and skills, instead of waiting for white collar jobs.

It may be tempting for you to think of this as the end of the journey. However, it is only the beginning; there is still a lot of work ahead, towards ensuring that young people take full advantage of the opportunities provided not only by this constitutional amendment, but also through Nigeria's boundless prospects. You should inculcate the spirit of self help. Those who complete their training should not just sit down and wait for government or private sector to employ them. You should be innovative and turn your hands to any legitimate work that will enable you to sustain yourself. I am confident each one of you will transform Nigeria in your own way � whether through media, agricultural enterprise, economists, engineers, or as lawmakers in your States or at Federal levels, or as State Governors � and even someday, as President. Why not? he said.

Commitment

In his remark, Coordinator of the not too young to run movement, Samson Itodo thanked President Buhari for assenting to the bill thus writing his name in gold in the books of Nigerian history.

Itodo said the youth will continue to contribute their quota towards the development of the country by upholding the values integrity and accountability.

We as young people hereby make a commitment that we will remain patriotic, upholding the values of integrity and accountability and also contribute our own quota to rebuilding this country and bringing it back to the path of economic and political progress, he pledged.

There were goodwill messages form sponsors of the not too young to run bill, Senator Abdulazeez Nyako and Tony Nwulu of the House of Representatives.

The new law now warrants a reduction in the minimum age for elective offices in Nigeria, with the age limit for aspirants for members of the State Houses of Assembly now reduced from 30 to 25 years, Federal House of Representatives from 30 to 25 years and Office of the President, now lowered from 40 to 35 years.

It's however worthy of note that age limits for Senators and Governors was not reduced, contrary to the original proposal by the sponsors of the Bill.

The bill was recently passed by the two chambers of the National Assembly and President Buhari had pledged during his national broadcast on democracy day (May 29,) that he will sign the bill into law.

The signing ceremony was witnessed by a delegation of the youth, comprising representatives from the 36 states of Nigeria and the Federal capital territory, Abuja.

Source: Voice of Nigeria