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Nigeria Can Elect Younger Leaders, House of Reps Pass Bill.

Bill Seeking Age Reduction for Elected Offices Passes Second Reading

By Tony Igele

Abuja - The House of Representatives at plenary has passed through second reading a bill seeking to reduce the age qualification for candidates wishing to contest for elective offices.

The bill sponsored by Hon. Tony Nwulu (Lagos PDP) seeks to alter sections 65, 106, 131 and 177 of the 1999 constitution.

It seeks reduction for the office of President from 40 to 30 years, 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 also seeks to allow independent candidacy into the country’s electoral process.

Nwulu in his submission described the process of electing candidates into political office as an important part of democratic practice.

“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.

“An age candidacy of 25 would encourage greater youth participation in politics, ” Nwulu said.

The lawmaker also harped on the need to open up the electoral space to independent candidates. Following a voice vote presided over by Speaker Yakubu Dogara, the bill was referred to the ad hoc committee on Constitutional Review.

Meanwhile, the House passed 100 bills through first reading in line with its agenda to review obsolete laws, and enact useful legislation for Nigerians.

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