The Not Too Young To Run movement is a movement of youth and civil society groups advocating for the reduction of age for running for elective offices to mainstream young men and women in electoral politics. Not Too Young To Run is Nigeria’s largest and most successful youth movement in recent times. The movement is driven by the compelling need to restructure the country’s political system to address the deeply entrenched system of political exclusion and institute inclusive politics, transformative leadership and electoral competitiveness in the electoral process.
On February 15, 2018, the Age Reduction bill popularly referred to as the Not Too Young To Run bill received affirmative votes from twenty-five (25) state assemblies. In other words, 25 state houses of assembly have passed the Not Too Young To Run bill seeking to reduce the age for running for elective office in Nigeria. With this passage, the bill has met the constitutional threshold prescribed by Section 9 (2) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended). The Section stipulates that any amendment to the constitution must be approval by at least 24 state Houses of Assembly.
The passage of the bill by the states is historic and unprecedented. This will no doubt enhance the quality of Nigeria’s democracy. We have shown the world that we are a country that believes in its youthful population and is taking concrete steps to address political inequality and social exclusion. This is a practical step towards harnessing the demographic dividend. The movement therefore appreciates the 25 of the 36 state assemblies that have so far passed the Not Too Young To Run bill. They have registered their names in the annals of history by passing Not Too Young To Run and the Nigerian youth appreciates them. This demonstration of commitment to inclusive democracy and more importantly youth inclusion is recognized. Posterity will be fair to you.
It is against this background that we are inaugurating the following State Houses of Assembly into the Not Too Young To Run Hall of Fame. These state assemblies will henceforth be referred to as Youth Friendly State Assemblies.
- Abia State House of Assembly
- Adamawa State House of Assembly
- Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly
- Anambra State House of Assembly
- Bauchi State House
- Benue State House of Assembly
- Borno State House of Assembly
- Delta State House of Assembly
- Ebonyi State House of Assembly
- Ekiti State House of Assembly
- Enugu State House of Assembly
- Gombe State House of Assembly
- Imo State House of Assembly
- Jigawa State House of Assembly
- Kaduna State House of Assembly
- Katsina State House of Assembly
- Kebbi State House of Assembly
- Kogi State House of Assembly
- Kwara State House of
- Nassarawa State House of Assembly
- Niger State House of Assembly
- Ogun State House of Assembly
- Ondo State House of Assembly
- Plateau State House of Assembly
- Yobe State House of Assembly
Since the states started voting on constitutional amendments, only the Taraba State House of Assembly has voted against the age reduction. On 20th December 2017, the movement was disappointed by the decision of the state assembly to vote against the age reduction. This is a major setback for Nigeria’s democracy. We are therefore inaugurating the Taraba State House of Assembly into the Not Too Young To Run Hall of Shame. We urge youths of Taraba to vote out the 11 lawmakers who voted against the will of their people.
The movement would like to place on record that the amendment as passed by the National Assembly and State Assemblies reduces the qualifying age of the President from 40 to 35; House of Representatives from 30 years to 25 years and State House of Assembly from 30 years to 25 years. The age for the Governor and Senate was retained at the current 35 years. This is not totally in line with the demands of the movement. However, we recognize this as a progressive step towards opening the political space for young men and women to participate in electoral politics. The movement will not renege on its demand for the alignment of the voting age with the eligibility age for running for office.
As a movement we are determined to vigorously mobilizing young people to participate actively in the electoral process in the buildup to the 2019 elections as candidates and voters.
- We urge the state assemblies to without further delay transmit the amendments to the National Assembly.
- We call on the National Assembly to transmit the constitutional amendments to President Muhammadu Buhari for assent as soon as the bills are received from the state assemblies.
- We call on President Muhammadu Buhari to assent to the constitutional amendment bill especially the Age Reduction bill as soon as the bills are transmitted to him for assent. Should the President delay or declines assent to the bill, we call on the National Assembly to veto the President.
In the interest of Nigeria’s Democracy, the Not Too Young To Run movement gives the State Assemblies, National Assembly and the Executive 30 days to conclude the ongoing constitutional amendments process.
We call on political parties to uphold the principles of internal democracy, transparency and accountability. With the passage of Not Too Young To Run, we expect more youth will seek to political office. Whilst noting that the parties provide a platform for the actualization of political aspirations, we also note that parties can undermine and jeopardize youth candidacy at elections. It is therefore important to reiterate the need for political parties to ensure internal party democracy to safeguard the emergence of youth candidates in the 2019 elections.
In furtherance of our goal, the movement has declared March 14, 2018 a National Day of Action for Presidential Assent. We call on all citizens especially young people to prepare as we march to the Presidential Villa to constructively engage with the President on assent to Not Too Young To Run.
We thank all the young organizers across the country who have constantly engaged with their lawmakers to ensure the passage of the #NotTooYoungToRun bill, we thank the media, civil society, and our partners for the solidarity and support.
One Shared Value, One Shared Goal, #NOTTOOYOUNGTORUN
Our Shared Value, Our Shared Goal, #NOTTOOYOUNGTORUN
- Abuja Global Shapers
- African Youth Initiative on Population, Health & Development (AfrYPoD)
- Connected Development [CODE]
- The Election Network
- League of Progressive Ambassadors of Nigeria (LEPAN)
- Mind Capital
- The Nigerian Youth Parliament
- Project Pink Blue
- Social Good Nigeria
- TechHer NG
- The YALI Network
- Youngstars Foundation
- Youth Hub Africa
- YIAGA Africa
- Amplified Radio
- Media Insight
- Say No Campaign
- Vision Alive Foundation, Abia
- Youth Initiative for Better Change, Adamawa
- Young Activists Initiative Nigeria, Akwa Ibom
- Integrity Youth Development Initiative, Anambra
- Centre for Environment, Human Rights and Development, Bayelsa
- The Bridge Youth Development Foundation, Benue
- Exit Lanes, Borno
- After School Centre for Career Development, Cross River
- DIG Foundation, Ebonyi
- Connected Advocacy, Edo
- Inspiration Care Centre, Ekiti
- New Century Initiative, Enugu
- Dandalin Matasa Initiative for Rapid Development, Gombe
- Development Dynamics, Imo
- Centre for Environmental Research and Development, Jigawa
- One Project Afrika. Kaduna
- Centre for Advocacy in Gender and Social Inclusion, Kano
- Youth Entrepreneurship Support Hub, Katsina
- Youth Consensus Forum, Kebbi
- Youth Emancipation for the Society (ProjectYES), Kogi
- Brain Builders International, Kwara
- Grassroots Mobilization Initiative, Nasarawa
- Nigerian Young Professionals Forum, Niger
- Youth Future Savers Initiatives, Ogun
- Youth Aglow Initiative, Ondo
- Kimpact Development Initiative, Osun
- Young Care Initiative, Oyo
- Centre for Youth Participation Advocacy, Plateau
- Golden Star Development Initiative, Sokoto
- Rural Integrated Development Initiative, Taraba
- North East Youth Initiative Forum, Yobe
- Golden Stars Development Initiative, Zamfara
- Modaville Centre for Development, Lagos
- National Organization for Citizens Orientation (NOCO), Rivers State.
- Nigerian Youth Action (NYA), Rivers State, Nigeria