Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, has hinted that the House will consider lowering the age of eligibility for Nigerians seeking election into political offices in order to allow youths to actively participate in the political process.
Dogara also charged youths to participate more actively in politics by breaking voters’ apathy and electing leaders who will secure their future and destiny.
The speaker disclosed this yesterday while speaking during a dialogue with students drawn from universities across the country at the National Assembly.
“I am acutely aware that young people often find themselves on the fringes of the political process. We need to develop a structured manner of involving our students and youths in the political process. I think it may not be out of place to lower the age qualification for certain elective offices in the next constitutional amendment exercise.
“Many young people are not involved in voting during elections which threatens the representative nature of our democratic institutions.
“This country belongs to you but it is under the stranglehold of men and women of a generation that have overreached itself. The truth is that nothing will be ceded or conceded to your generation without a fight. In this endearvour, your voices mean nothing if you don’t have the votes.
“Therefore, all students in Nigeria must not only register to vote and cast their votes during elections; they must also ensure that their votes count. There is no other better way by which you will earn respect for yourselves and ensure that the gifts you have taken to the university to polish ultimately benefit your generation,” Dogara stated.
He, however, cautioned that there must be a balance between involvement in student unionism, activism and academic excellence.
The speaker advised them to pursue their motives with peaceful protest, saying the House would always protect them from victimization.
Dogara further assured them that the House takes youth unemployment in Nigeria as a top priority, adding that it was why they are engaging the executive on how to diversify the economy and create jobs for our people.