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Campaigners of #NOTTOOYOUNGTORUN, Okereke, Lawal bag awards in Abuja

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Two leading Campaigners of the Political Youth Advocacy Group known as the #NotTooYoungToRun Movement were on Friday, honoured with the ALDA Afrika Youth Support and Community Development Awards by the African Leadership and Development Academy in Abuja, Nigeria.

According to the President of the Pan-African Youth Mentorship Group, Mr. Efe Ekure, the two young leaders have distinguished themselves in raising their voices for positive change in Nigeria, youth mentorship, capacity building, promotion of active citizenship, youth political participation and community development.

In May 2018, President Muhammadu Buhari signed the ‘NotTooYoungToRun Bill’ into Law after two vigorous years of advocacy movement that united young Nigerians across the country as they joined their voices, energies and innovation to demand for change and political inclusion. The bill sort for the alteration of sections 65, 106, 131, 177 of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (As Amended), which is to reduce the age of running for elective positions for House of Assembly and House of Representatives from 30 year old to 25 year old, Senate and Governorship seats from 35 year old to 30 year old and office of the president from 40 to 30 and independent candidature in Nigeria.

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The force of these young Nigerians made it possible for Presidential election candidates to now stand for office at 35 years instead of 40, state government aspirants at 30 years, while 25-year-olds can now enter the House of Representatives. Many regards this historic piece of law as a landmark accomplishments by Nigerian youth who has been at the nadir of Nigeria’s democratic governance system for decades.

Amb. Chibuzo Okereke who is a legislative expert and Convener- National Political Equity Movement said “I am honoured to receive this award, and I thank the ALDA Afrika team for recognizing me. To me, this is not an award but call to more responsibility towards reinventing the place of young people in our democratic governance system. I call on young people to brace up for purposeful, responsible and strategic leadership in facets of Nigeria’s national life. I also call on the Federal Government of Nigeria and indeed Governments at all levels to roll a 2 Trillion Naira youth development fund. There is also a need to overhaul Nigeria’s educational system. We shouldn’t have a Nigerian finish junior secondary school without vocational skills he/she could deploy to contribute to our GDP. We can do better as a nation and I am confident Nigeria will overcome and excel.

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Mr. Hamzat Lawal, Founder/CEO Connected Development (CODE) who pilots the globally recognized #FollowtheMoney project is a governance accountability and transparency initiative that seeks to ensure value for money in government expenditure in response, appreciated the ALDA team, noting that the award will spur him to do more. He said “Young people who are agitating for a seat at the political governance table must be able to get a skill and value to offer, create the table they want and bring their chairs to sit on it. Young people must be ready to actively participate in politics, support political aspirants with competence and value through financial and useful donations as well as volunteering to join the campaign trail. Hamzat emphasized that one of the purposes of the Not Too Young to Run law is to give opportunity for young people to vote for their fellow young fellows.

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