THE House of Representatives, on Wednesday, passed for second reading a bill that sought to allow youth participation in politics, as well as independent candidacy for elections.
The bill, which scaled through second reading, sought to alter Sections 65, 106, 131 and 177 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) to reduce the age qualification for candidates seeking elective offices in the country.
According to the proposed bill, qualification into the office of the president should be reduced from ages 40 to 30 years, while that of the office of governor from 35 to 30 years, the Senate from 35 to 30 years and the federal and state houses of assembly from 30 to 25 years.
The bill, sponsored by Honourable Tony Nwulu, also sought to mainstream independent candidacy into the country’s electoral process.
According to him, ‘’It is pertinent now to amend the constitution to make room for independent candidates to widen the democratic processes in our elections, and above all, to encourage our young ones to fully participate in all elective offices.’’
In his lead debate, the lawmaker noted that “countries like the United Kingdom Parliament decided in 2006 to lower their age of candidacy from 21 to 18, which had existed since the parliamentary elections Act 1695,’’ stressing that,”an age candidacy of 25 would encourage greater youth participation in politics.’’
When the bill was put to vote by the Speaker, Honourable Yakubu Dogara it was passed and referred to the House ad hoc committee on Constitutional Review.
Meanwhile, the House, on Wednesday, introduced 100 bills for first reading.
The bills included the 54 submitted by the House-sanctioned committee of the review of existing laws of the Federation.
Some of the bills that scaled first reading were Elder Person (Protection Bill); National Commission for Internally Displaced Persons, Refugees and Migrants; National Gas Resources Development Agency Bill and Counterfeit and Fake Drugs and Unwholesome Processed Foods (Miscellaneous Provision) Act (Amendment)Bill, 2016.
Others included the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Dispute (Enforcement of Awards) Act (Repeal and Re-enactment) Bill, 2016; Statutory Corporation Pensionable Officers (Retiring Age Limit); Treaties (Making Procedures) Act Amendment Bill and National Gas Resources Development Agency Bill, among others.