Nigerian youth organizations across the country have given 48 hours to the leadership of the National Assembly to include the 'Not Too Young To Run' bill in the report of the ongoing constitution review process or face mass action.
The demand was contained in a press statement signed by 53 youth organizations. Representatives of the groups held a press conference in Abuja. Several members of the #NOTTOOYOUNGTORUN coalition were at the press conference.
Speaking on behalf of the group, Maryam Laishi said that the youths across the country would commence picketing of the National Assembly and embark on a series of other mass actions against legislature if the leadership of the constitution review committees failed to give an account within 48 hours of the #NOTTOOYOUNGTORUN bill.
Ms. Laishi noted that there were indications that the joint committee of the Senate and House of Representatives constitution review committee had excluded the 'Not Too Young To Run' bill from the ongoing constitution review process.
She added that the bill was the only proposed constitutional amendment that promotes youth participation in the political process through the removal of age limits for running for office.
The group maintained that the bill had passed the first and second readings in both Houses in fulfillment of the constitutional amendment procedure.
"Their arguments against the bill are an affirmation that most of our lawmakers are not committed to youth empowerment, intergenerational dialogue, and civic participation. The arguments include the fact that there is palpable fear that most legislators in the 8th Assembly will be unseated in the 2019 elections by young people if the bill is passed."
The youth organizations added that since the return to democracy in 1999, Nigerian youth had been pushing boundaries and involved in promoting transparency and accountability.
The group has declared Tuesday, July 25 as National Day of Action, noting that the youth in Nigeria plans to occupy the National Assembly and commence recall processes of the senators in their various constituencies.
"We will petition the International Parliament Union (IPU) to relocate the venue of the forthcoming regional conference scheduled for September 2017 away from Nigeria and finally a one million people march in Abuja and across the Federation," Ms. Laisha said.
She urged Nigerian youths to remain resolute in their demand and stay committed to mobilizing fellow youth and citizens to make their voices heard beyond the din of politics in order to pursue the passage of the 'Not Too Young To Run' bill into law.