The Not-Too-Young-To-Run Movement has appealed to the All Progreasives Congress (APC) to reduce the cost of its nomination forms to enable youths participate in 2019 elections.
One of the Conveners of the Movement, Mr Samson Itodo, made the call at the Public Dialogue with Political Parties on Youth Candidacy and Party Primaries, it organised in Abuja on Thursday.
Itodo said that though the Not-Too-Young-To-Run law had been made, young people were still contending with challenges in political parties.
“One major challenge is the cost of nomination forms; many young people have fallen victims of the autocratic and undemocratic nature of political parties across the country.
“Today, we have got young people who, inspired by the Not-Too-Young-To-Run agitation, are unable to purchase forms because they are not products or stakeholders of the contentious primaries being held.
“Today, most of the young people want to run for offices but the cost of nomination forms is too high; so, we will keep engaging political parties to reduce cost of nomination forms for youths, especially the APC.
“We want to believe the party is truly a people’s party because if it is, then the onus is actually on them to reduce the cost of forms.”
Itodo said that the APC had already accepted and adopted one of the movement’s recommendations, which was direct primary.
He said that there was need to take a further step to reduce the cost of its nomination form so that youths, women and persons with disabilities could afford it.
He lauded the party for signing the bill.
Itodo, however, said that APC needed to act “so it won’t be a double-standard party because they won’t celebrate passage of the bill and take the opportunity away from youths through high cost of forms.
“It is important the party reduces its nomination form cost because this has the potential of breeding corruption.
“When people pay high for forms, when they get into office, their first preoccupation is how they will recoup this money.” he said.
Itodo said that the movement believed that reducing the cost of its nomination forms was one of the steps that APC needed to take to tell Nigerians that it was a youth-friendly party.
He reiterated that the movement remained a non-partisan group and would not endorse any candidate.
He, however, said that the movement, with its Ready-to-Run project, would locate competent youths who were interested in running for elective office.
He said the movement would inspire them, support them and link competent youths who were running for elective offices.
Ms Cynthia Mbamalu, one of the conveners, said that the group would not relent in supporting youth candidacy.
Mbamalu said that the aim of the dialogue was to advocate for political parties to deliberately enhance and support youth candidacy.
She said the movement was tracking the commitment of political parties to the dialogue and would follow it up.
She added that aspiring youths seeking to contest in 2019 and advised them to link up with the movement.
Mbamalu said that the group would meet with all the political parties to push for the promotion of youth inclusiveness.