President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday signed the Not-Too-Young-To-Run Bill.
The president then told the youth to postpone their presidential aspirations till after the 2019 general elections.
President Buhari, 75, had declared his interest in the 2019 presidential election.
He told the youth said: “I am confident each one of you will transform Nigeria in your own way – whether through media, agricultural enterprise, economists, engineers, or as lawmakers in your states or at federal levels, or as state governors – and even someday, as oresident. Why not?
“But please, can I ask you to postpone your campaigns till after the 2019 elections!”
He said the cordinators of the Not Too Young To Run movement had now established a formidable legacy “which is that in our maturing democracy, if you really want to change something in Nigeria, and if you can organise yourselves and work hard towards it – you can achieve it. The outcome of such efforts is this remarkable feat.”
He said these efforts had resulted in the heroic task of enshrining in law, a reduction of the minimum ages for elective office in Nigeria: “a. Eligible age for aspirants for members of the State Houses of Assembly will be reduced from 30 to 25 years; b. Eligible age for aspirants for members of the Federal House of Representatives will be reduced from 30 to 25 years; and c. Eligible age for aspirants for Office of the President, will be lowered from 40 to 35 years.”
The Not-Too-Young-To-Run Bill was passed by the National Assembly last year to alter Sections 65, 106, 131, 177 of the constitution.
Buhari said it was surprising that the age limits for senators and governors were not reduced as originally proposed by the sponsors of the bill.
According to the president, “This is an issue that may need to be addressed going forward.”
He, however, said the movement’s focus and contributions had successfully increased the quality and maturity of Nigerian democracy and expanded the playing field for youth participation in politics.
“You, the young people of Nigeria, are now set to leave your mark on the political space, just as you have done over the decades in entrepreneurship, sports, art, media entertainment, technology, and several other fields.”
Buhari said the youths are undoubtedly Nigeria’s most important resource, as their energy, intelligence and talent are what will drive and develop Nigeria, “long after we are all gone.’
The president assured that his administration would continue to do everything in its power to make Nigeria work for the youth.
“You may all know that the Bill I just assented now becomes an Act of the National Assembly. Thus, it may be tempting for you to think of this as the end of the journey.
“However, it is only the beginning; there is still a lot of work ahead, towards ensuring that young people take full advantage of the opportunities provided not only by this constitutional amendment but also through Nigeria’s boundless prospects.”