Tijani Oluwamayowa of TheCable penned this and gave me permission to share it.
This is in no way to burst your bubble, or throw a spanner into your raging wheel, but my friends, we are still too young to run. After The senate voted by a landslide that it is finally time for Nigerian youths to try out a place at the helm, my contemporaries have taken to Twitter, Facebook and most especially WhatsApp in wild jubilations of “the best thing to happen in Nigeria this month — after The Jollof Anthem”.
But my critical mind wants to scream; “guys calm down!” We just crossed two of ten hurdles in this 110 metres hurdle race. Its not time to celebrate. Don’t get distracted.
For that constitution review to be binding, it must be approved by House of representatives and 24 state assemblies. Did you hear that? 24 state assemblies. Some also argue that presidential assent is needed, others say its unnecessary, but what do I know? Whatever the case, we can get PMB or PYO to sign it.
Back to House of Reps and 24 state assemblies; The review says at 25, you can run for to occupy any of the seats in your state assembly and also at the national level. This means, someone like me can unseat Honourable Akintayo Gafaru, and one of my friends and age mate can replace Honourable Femi Gbajabiamila in 2019.
It will be more difficult for Reps, whose seats will be endangered by this bill to pass the same. I foresee the House or Reps mounting a strong opposition, despite Dogara’s favourable disposition.
When we scale the hurdle at the House of Reps, we now have to convince at least 24 state assemblies that they will not be signing their exit forms by approving that bill. If you ask me, they will be signing exit forms by approving the bill. I believe many young Nigerians are ready to occupy their state assemblies. This bill is a bigger threat to state assemblies than it is to the senate or presidency; hence, this will be a difficult hurdle to cross.
I understand that 54 respected and registered NGOs across the country are pushing this, and they will go any legal length to get it to sail through. I want this bill to fly and I will do what I can to see that happen, but I understand the reality and challenges.
The journey to convincing state assemblies that 25-year-olds can seat in those chambers and legislate Nigeria’s progress is the major hurdle to beat. Until we get the House of Reps to say yes and 24 state assemblies to append their approval, we are still too young to run!
Let me add this. Matter of fact, this is the way the bill can become law. It’s a statement by the #NotToYoungToRun movement.