YIAGA Africa criticizes exclusion of youths in ministerial list

THE Youth Initiative for Advocacy, Growth, and Advancement (YIAGA) Africa, has criticised the list of ministerial nominees sent to the National Assembly by President Muhammadu Buhari as lacking representation of Nigerian youths.

The advocacy group which among other stakeholders have been at the forefront of calls for inclusion of young people in the government said the ommision of youths in the ministerial nominees’ list negates the purpose for which the  Not- to-young- to run-bill’ was enacted into law

A statement by the Director of the group, Samson Itodo, said the absence of young people on Buhari’s ministerial nominee’s list was disappointing despite their giant stride in politics and leadership.

Itodo said the omission came as a ‘Big Surprise’, owing to public commendations of the youths by the president, as those who have left marks on entrepreneurship, sports, technology, and several other fields.

He noted that the president had ignited readiness in the youths when he said, “Young people of Nigeria are now set to leave their mark on the political space…” however, never “included any person below age 35, worthy of any ministerial position.”

According to him, while portfolios are yet to be assigned to the ministerial nominees, it was obvious from the list, the minister of youth and sports will not be a youth.

He noted that the emergence of young Nigerians in various principal positions in State houses of assembly exemplifies that credibility even in ministerial positions.

Itodo said while the country waits on Buhari’s cabinet is over, the wait for youth inclusion in his cabinet still lingers.

The group, therefore, called on state governor in the country to appoint young competent people with character and capacity to lead various commissions in the state.

It would be recalled, that the president on May 31, 2018, signed into law, the Not-to-young-to-run-bill, after mass agitation for the inclusion of young Nigerians into political positions in the country, spearheaded by YIAGA Africa

The bill, passed by the National Assembly last year, altered Sections 65, 106, 131, 177 of the constitution, aimed at reducing the age qualification for president from 40 to 30; governor from 35 to 30; senator from 35 to 30; House of Representatives membership from 30 to 25 and State House of Assembly membership from 30 to 25.

As compared to the post-colonial environment, which witnessed the emergence of young people, under 40 in government, including Aguiyi Ironsi (42), Yakubu Gowon (31), Murtala Muhammed (37) and Olusegun Obasanjo (38), the country after 19 years of democracy still experiences a huge gap in the integration of youths in key areas of her polity.

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