The “Age Qualification” Bill, passed its second reading recently. This Bill seeks to reduce the age qualifications of candidates, who wish to contest for the positions of governor, president and senate in Nigeria. The age limit has officially reduced to 30 years, yesterday, following the passing of the second reading in the House of Representatives.

This bill also makes it possible for independent candidacy into the electoral process, and also reduces the age qualification to contest for the House of Representatives to 25 years.

Sponsor of the bill, Tony Chinedu Nwulu, in his debate, noted that electing candidates into public offices was an important part of democratic practices.

He said, “Countries like the United Kingdom parliament decided in 2006 to lower their age of candidacy from 21 to 18, which had existed since the Parliamentary Elections Act An Age candidacy of 25 would encourage greater youth participation in politics.”

Nwulu also noted, that many countries in the world, had called for an age qualification reduction into elected offices, adding that this bill was a demonstration of the growing desire and demand of youths to take part in the democratic process.

“This desire itself could be viewed as a sufficient warrant for young people to participate, demonstrate a willingness to engage and fulfil the burdens of office,” he stated.

On the topic of independent candidacy, Nwulu stressed the need to open up space for lawmakers to come in as independent candidates, saying “It is pertinent now to ament the constitution to make room of independent candidates to widen the democratic processes in our election, and above all to encourage our young ones to fully participate in all elective offices.”