Nigeria has conducted five general elections since the return to civil rule; 1999, 2003, 2007, 2011 and 2015. These elections were signposted by exclusion and marginalization of young people as party candidates despite the positive roles they played as voters, election administrators and campaign merchants. The unfriendly electoral legal framework contributed to the low representation of youth in public office. To address this, the Not Too Young To Run bill was passed into law to reduce the age for running public office. The law reduced the age for running for the President from 40 to 35 years, House of Representatives 30 to 25 years and State House of Assembly 30 to 25 years.
The Not Too Young To Run legislation addressed a major impediment to youth participation in politics. It was a positive action towards closing the representation gap and signalled a shift towards inclusive politics. As a result of the reduction of age limits, Nigeria witnessed a new wave of competent and credible young women and men who aspired to run for office in 2019 Elections. For the first time in Nigeria’s post-independence history, young people between the ages of 25-30 were legally empowered to contest for seats in the House of Representatives and State Houses of Assembly.
Here is how they fared.