2019: How political parties “killed” Not too Young to run law

When President Muhammadu Buhari signed the Not too Young to Run bill into law in May 2018. One of the caveats he gave in his speech was that the youth can contest in 2019 but they should suspend their ambitions to be president to the next electoral year. Although the president and other attendees at the signing ceremony laughed it off, that statement sounded a death knell to the new law. The law which was designed to accommodate youth participation in the governance process has remained a mirage as there is practically no difference when the existing situation is compared to the former situation.

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It seems as if when President Buhari made that infamous statement admonishing the youths against contesting for the presidency in 2019, other organs of the political parties in the country took him at his word. The first hurdle placed by political parties against prospective youth candidates is the exorbitant prices of their nomination forms as these forms were beyond the reach of the aspirants. But it seems this was not enough to discourage these young Nigerians, they resorted to crowd funding and they were able to purchase the forms. What happened next especially in the All Progressives Congress was granting of automatic tickets to incumbent occupier of some positions which shut out other aspirants. Others were also muscled out of the race through massively rigged primaries and replacement of names of winners with that of the losers by the party bigwigs.

In the AMAC/ BWARI federal constituency of the FCT Abuja which had a young woman named Simi Fajemirokun as an aspirant, the party worked against her emergence with dubious figures announced for the winner. The figures were so dubious that in some wards, the figures announced exceeds the total number of registered voters in such places. Despite this glaring infraction, the party (APC) has failed to do the needful till date by correcting such anomaly. In Ondo state, same was the case of Adebiyi Mayowa an aspirant for the Akoko Southwest 2 in the Ondo state House of Assembly, the direct primary election which was supposed to hold in seven wards of the constituency held in just won which he won with 470 votes out of 822. However, the party went ahead to announce another individual winner with results allocated in thousands. For Funke Adesiyan in Oyo state, she won the primaries for one of the seats for Ibadan in the Oyo state house of assembly. Few days after her victory, the party withdrew her victory and handed it over to one of the losers in the primaries.

The experience of Dayo Israel in Lagos Mainland is another case in the war against the Not too young to run law, the primary was conducted in another kangaroo manner, while other aspirants including Dayo was waiting for the resolution of the party on the quagmire, they went ahead to submit the name of another individual. I can give several examples of young Nigerians that have lost out in the current arrangement by political parties. That the parties rendered the Not too Young to Run law as relating to the 2019 elections is an understatement, they killed it.

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