‘Why youths can’t be Nigeria’s president’
By Adekola Afolabi
A legal practitioner, Dr. Supo Ijabadeniyi has advocated for legal framework that will guide Nigerian electoral system and impose sanctions against monetisation of politics in the country.
He said there was the need for the country to come up with a law that will make it a criminal offence for any delegate or voter who receives money to vote in either delegation or real elections in the country. This, he noted, will pave way for youths vying for the office of the president of the country to make their headway.
Ijabadeniyi, who was reacting to agitation of youths for president, described the politics of Nigeria as highly monetized at the detriment of the Nigerian youth.
He said there was nothing bad in having a youth as president of the country, but identified financial constraints as one of the major challenges the youth are likely to confront in the race.
He equally said the youth and women have the numerical strength to change things for better in the country but have failed to utilise their strength because of selfish interest.
“There should be strict penalty against the issue of money exchange hands. It is then the youth can have latitude to contest.
“There has never been anytime when it was said that young people should not run for elections in the country, and our constitution is so explicit as to that.
“Section 131 of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria clearly states the criteria, the qualifications required for anyone vying for the office of the president of the country as regards age, educational qualifications, citizenship and all others.
“If the Constitution says somebody of 40 years should be president, I think the person is still young at heart. I was just laughing when some youths gathered themselves and said they were pursuing “Not Too Young To Run”. You see, there are so many problems in this country that our youths should pursue and be mounting pressures on government for, not ‘Not Too Young To Run’.
“When the president signed the bill into law, the youth turned it to political jamboree. I began to ask them, what have you achieved now. Will that provide jobs for you? How many young people that want to run for president compared with millions of youth that are unemployed in the country. This is misplaced priority, the Don explained.
According to the university lecturer, “now the constitution has reduced the age limit to 35 years, but what is five years difference. We have some old people that are more energetic than some of the youth, even though we have many vibrant and hardworking youths. When you talk of wisdom, experience and others, you cannot buy it.
“Nobody is saying the youth should not run but there are some predicaments that will work against them. Now that the bill has been passed by the National Assembly and signed into law by the president, is there any chance for better? The answer is no. What about the stringent conditions placed on them by some political parties.
He posited that “politics in Nigeria has been monetized, adding how many 35 years old men can compete with naira for naira and dollar for dollar that Nigerian politics requires? “You can see that our problems are more than the age. But sincerely speaking, what is somebody who is 70 years and above still doing, that necessitates the need to change hands. Let us try new hands.