The Arewa Youth Consultative Forum has advised President Muhammadu Buhari to sign the ‘Not too Young to Run’ bill and give the younger generation the opportunity to govern the country in 2019.
The National President of the ACF, Alhaji Yerima Shettima, stated this in an interview with The PUNCH on Tuesday, when he was reacting to the Democracy Day broadcast of the President.
Buhari, had in the broadcast, said in the next few days, he would soon sign the ‘Not-too-Young to Run’ bill.
The bill, which is part of the process to amend the 1999 Constitution, seeks to reduce the minimum age requirement for elective positions in the country.
Shettima said that there was nothing encouraging in Buhari promising that he would sign the bill soon.
The AYCF is among the over 30 northern youth groups that formed the Northern Coalition Groups that asked the President and a former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar, who are above 70 years, to shelve their ambition to contest the 2019 presidential election.
The groups had said the two should leave the stage for the younger generation to govern the country in 2019 and beyond.
The AYCF president, who said that his group and others still stood by their statement, stated that the President’s pronouncement made no difference.
He maintained that whether Buhari quit the stage for younger generation to contest in the 2019 presidency or not, the President would hear from Nigerians during the 2019 elections.
He said it was one thing for the President to tell Nigerians that he would sign the bill and it was another thing for him to match his words with action.
Shettima said, “There is nothing extraordinary about what he (President Buhari) said. I am not keen about it. Nigerians will decide when the time comes. There is nothing interesting about it.
“There is nothing different from what we said. The younger generation must be given the opportunity to govern this country. That’s all. It is one thing to say, it is another thing for him to implement. It has always been so. So, I have not seen anything new.”
Also, two civil society organisations, the Campaign for Democracy and the Committee for the Defence of Human Rights, said Buhari must go beyond signing the bill by appointing youths into his cabinet.
The CD President, Usman Abdul, said, “President Buhari needs to let us know that he is sincere about the assent to that bill. He should demonstrate his willingness to bring youths into his administration by appointing vibrant, visionary and educated youths and youthful minds into his cabinet government.
“Assent to the bill alone doesn’t justify an in-inclusive government. He should lay an example in his cabinet. I am an advocate of the younger generation coming into administration in this country. The older generation had had their days and they had failed.
Also the CDHR President, Malachy Ugwummadu, said, “The President has finally given his word to assent to that bill. This is a good development because it has been a long-drawn campaign. It is a call situated within the context of the Nigerian youths’ agitations to come to the centre stage of affairs in the country.”