In July 2017, both chambers of the National Assembly passed the Not Too Young to Run Bill, after which it was sent to the state assemblies. The Bill was sponsored by Tony Nwulu, the lawmaker representing Oshodi-Isolo II Federal Constituency, at the House of Representatives, and the Youth Initiative for Advocacy, Growth and Advancement (YIAGA) team.
But not until Thursday, May 31, was “history made”. Two-third of the state assemblies passed the law — 24 out of the 36 states. Lagos, Kano, and Zamfara were among the rejecters of the Bill.
The Bill having been signed, in the bid to measure its prospect, TheEcho’s Akinpelu Yusuf had an interview with Temitope Ishola popularly known as Temmy Gista, Temitope, 25, is a final year of History in the University of Ibadan and an aspirant for the seat of Ibadan North Constituency II in the Oyo State House of Assembly in the coming elections under the emblem of the Alliance for Democracy (AD).
With the bill do you think the youth can still muster running without the influence of the old?
No. Not possible. We can not totally do without them at the moment, in the coming election. We still need their influence to navigate the murky waters. Once that is done, we can then chart a new course.
How affordable is it for the youths?
Less affordable. The Political system is too expensive… too monetized.
In the tune of how much?
For the House of Assembly, the campaign expenditure amount should not exceed N20M. The ticket fee is at the discretion of the Party.
Isn’t that a clog in the wheel of the youth’s dream?
Yes, there’s an unbalanced level field of play. By the dynamics of the country, an average Nigerian youth is unemployed. So that puts him at a disadvantage from the very start. I was at the INEC state office a few days ago, and I made that observation too. INEC promised to look into it. Hopefully, something is done about it with time.
Isn’t it now a matter of buying you a new car but the key to the car is in the hands of the buyer?
No. Not really. Maybe more like having a car, knowing how to drive, but you do not know the route to the destination. Despite the situation, the youth can still pull things through. The youth will have to rely on the Power of Mobilization and Organization of Forces. I mean youths must come together as one across board to do it.
Here is another thing: the bill only reduced the various positions by 5 years. Is that enough?
Maybe for a start, but I’m an advocate of “If You Can Vote at 18, then You should be eligible to be Voted for also at 18.”
Even when a 40-year-old could vie for Presidency, how many people of that age came close to running?
I think the explanation for that could be based upon the presumption that the political space has been hijacked by the old politicians, those there from time immemorial. Also, the Youth Policy of Nigeria, defined youths as persons between the ages of 18 – 35yrs.
But I also feel that, with the clamour for youth inclusion and the changing political youth leadership revolution taking place across the world, as well as the failure of successive leadership in Nigeria to govern well, youths from 35 can take that bold step to come out to contest.
But those that did, how many of them pulled the wind?
Very few or maybe none. A good example is the present contenders we have ahead of 2019, many are still skeptical about them because their faces have not been so much around like the present crop of bad leaders we have now. However, I personally feel that it’s all down to the orientation of the people.
Can you point out a number of youths who can give the current political class a run for their money in this coming election?
It’s a little too early to conclude, but names like Prof. Kingsley Moghalu (Former UN Director and CBN former Deputy Governor), Mr. Fela Durotoye and Mr. Omoyele Sowore are some few names I’m beginning to take seriously now. However, none of these persons are below 35 or above 55yrs.
As it stands, the future of the Bill is not clear-cut – it is blurry. What are those things you think can make it thrive?
I think it’s clear with regards to the aim and age range. But nevertheless, we can keep the agitation on for total inclusion of all youths into governance. Importantly, there should be a holistic review on how much should be allowed to be spent for a campaign. Laws should be made to make political offices less juicy and unattractive. That way, only genuine interested individuals with the heart of the people would get involved or emerge.
What are your chances as you tighten your bootlace to run?
Honestly, I’m excited about this race. I’m highly optimistic about my chances. The Constituency seat that I’m contesting to represent has 2 tertiary institutions (University of Ibadan and The Polytechnic Ibadan) in it, students’ residential areas in the mix (Barika, Water, Agbowo, Bodija, Sango, and Samonda), artisans, civil servants and a host of other communes within.
Also, my campaign message of Hope to the people of the constituency is being warmly received across board. I believe that with God on my side, all will be successful.
What do you fear?
At the moment, nothing really except for maybe the lack of interest of people getting involved in the electoral process, getting their PVCs for a start.