Arewa youths urges Buhari to sign ‘Not Too Young to Run’ bill

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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.

This was stated by the National President of the ACF, Alhaji Yerima Shettima 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.”

The two groups also scolded the President over his silence on killings by herdsmen and the remaining Dapchi schoolgirl from Yobe State in the Boko Haram captivity, Leah Sharibu.

Ugwummadu said, “The broadcast of the President was not comprehensive. I expected that the President in spite of eulogising his tenure ought to make statements about the incessant killings in the country to show clearly that he empthasises with the victims of those killings.

“For a government that rose to power on the crest of its commitment to ensure security, that statement from the President should have consoled the many victims of these senseless and avoidable killings. This would have left no one in doubt as to the government’s commitment to tackle the menace.

“Also on Leah Sharibu, the government should have told us what steps it is taking to ensure her release. The President should have accorded her that recognition. The question is that; how did the security agencies let down the guard so low that we are now celebrating the release of over 100 Dpachi schoolgirls as an achievement? This should not have happened in the first place.”

Abdul said, “To start with, this administration is failing in the area of securing the lives and property of Nigerians. I was surprised that the President did not capture the efforts on the remaining Dapchi schoolgirl, Leah Sharibu, and the remaining Chibok schoolgirls in his address.

“The President should have told us what concrete efforts are being made to ensure their rescue instead of ignoring these critical areas.”

The #BringBackOurGirls also knocked the  President  for failing to acknowledge the remaining 107 missing Chibok schoolgirls and Leah Sharibu in his national broadcast.

The group in a series of tweets on its Twitter handle noted that the President did not send a message of hope to the parents of the girls or their communities.

The coalition said the presidential address left much to be desired, adding that in two days, Sharibu would have spent 100 days in the Boko Haram captivity while the Chibok girls had spent 1,506 days with the insurgents.

The tweets read, “President @MBuhari in his address did not mention our missing 112 #ChibokGirls. He did not mention Leah Sharibu. He said nothing about our 5 #DapchiGirls unaccounted for. He did not send a message of hope to their parents/families/colleagues/community.

“President @MBuhari neglected, failed or refused to acknowledge the pain of our above-named compatriots. He may have forgotten, or doesn’t seem it important. We will never forget. The world must never forget. The condition of IDPs in their camps and elsewhere is not improving much, if at all.

“President @MBuhari #DemocracyDay address left much to be desired.

We stay resolute, demanding. In two days Leah Sharibu shall be 100 days in captivity. Our #Chibokgirls are in captivity for 1,506 days today.”

Posted by Juliet Ekwebelam (Punch)