• Says high fees killing #NotTooYoungToRun Act
Nigerian Youth Parliament (NYP) on Thursday has reinstated its call on President Muhammadu Buhari and the leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to reduce the nomination and expression of interest forms by 60% for aspirants under 35 years old ahead of the 2023 elections.
The 5th Parliament, led by Speaker Rt. Hon. Dr Azeezat Yishawu, said it will deepen inclusion, the agenda for peace and progress, especially strengthening the voice and place of youths in national leadership in Nigeria and Africa.
"We write to express our concerns to President Muhammadu Buhari and the leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) about the information in circulation indicating the new proposed fees for nomination and expression of interest forms for all aspirants. We strongly believe that this actions if taken is detrimental to the ongoing advocacy for a review of the fees for nomination forms of the party, All Progressives Congress (APC), for aspirants 35 years and below in the 2023 elections by 60%," according to a statement by Ibraheem Abdullateef, Kwara Central Representative, on behalf of the parliament.
"This intervention is urgent to strengthen our democracy, encourage diversity, and foster youths' inclusion in politics and leadership, and prevent demographic division and unrest.
"While we understand that funds accrued from the sale of forms for elective offices remain a serious source of funding for its operations, the decision of the party to make young people pay the same fees as more established office-seekers may be unfair and inconsistent with emerging ethos and trend in a modern democracy. It is, in fact, proven that the affordable the fees the more the patronage.
"As it stands today, the high fees for nomination form is obstructing the legitimate ambition of over 65 % of credible, capable young Nigerians to run for elective offices. This gap will only widen further in the coming elections unless something is done. It is as clear as the daylight that the economic meltdown in the last three years, occasioned by the recession, COVID-19 pandemic, TwitterBan, and now the ongoing Ukraine-Russia war, affects the businesses and means of livelihood of young people most severely.
"We recall with clarity the statement of President Muhammadu Buhari to the newly- inaugurated leadership led by Senator Adamu Abdullahi not to make the tickets an opportunity to selected few. We beg the NWC and NEC of the party to review and adopt our plea now.
"Although youth candidacy in Nigeria’s elections rose from 21% to 34.2 % (13.5 per cent of the candidates vied for the Senate, and 27.4 per cent for the House of Representatives), the fact is that buoyed by the Age Reduction Act, Nigeria could have recorded better youths participation under a more favourable party system," the statement read.
It also said that the party has a responsibility to preserve the #NotTooYoungRun Act by deepening affordability in the coming general elections.
"Despite the notable efforts of #NotTooYoungToRun in improving eligibility, affordability of the political system, the reduction in fees of nomination is key to unlocking the space for young Nigerians. This is why the major political parties need to commit to ensuring equity for over a 80million young people in political leadership.
"We are very much aware that the APC leadership was giving women a 50% cut and finds this applaudable. We are aware that women may even be getting free forms this year. We believe the party can further commit to the same waver for youths within the party to encourage young Nigerians' dreams and passion for the motherland.
"Nigerian youths deserve and want opportunities to contribute to the development of the Nation.”
"We appeal earnestly to President Muhammadu Buhari and the leadership of the party to review its stand and grant at least a 50% reduction in fees for the nomination form for Nigerian office seekers below 35 years of age in the 2023 elections. It is the ultimate way to reciprocate the love and loyalty of Nigerian youths, display boundless belief in the youth's constituency, promote inclusion and strengthen our democracy," it concluded.