A group, YouthNext, on Thursday staged a peaceful rally at the Lagos State House of Assembly urging the lawmakers to help in ensuring that youths play more active part in politics and governance.
The group called on the Lagos Assembly to back the Not Too Young To Run Bill passed by the National Assembly as well as that on independent candidacy in the ongoing process to amend the 1999 constitution.
Members of the group, carrying placards with various inscriptions, chanted solidarity songs which include “All we are saying, give us a chance,” and “Youths, we want to lead.”
In her address, Mrs Moremi Ojudu, the Coordinator of the group said that the time had come for the youth to take key positions of leadership.
Ojudu said the way forward for the nation was to take away all impediments on the way of the youths seeking to assume such positions.
“YouthNext is an organisation which centers on engaging youths in politics on the need for them to get involved in politics. We are out to ensure that we have a good representation of youths at all levels of government.
“The Not Too Young To Run Bill” has been passed by the National Assembly; we are here to urge members of the Lagos State House of Assembly to make sure that the bill is domesticated here,” she said.
According to her, the Nigerian youth have the energy, vibrancy and all they need to make positive impact.
Ojudu also urged the lawmakers to support the independent candidature bill, when it comes to them.
The group appealed to the lawmakers to prevail on their political parties to ensure rebate in nomination form for the youth, to address the challenge of finance dissuading many of them from participating in politics.
Addressing the group, the Majority Leader of the House, Mr Sanai Agunbiade, congratulated them for taking the right avenue in making their requests.
“The two issues you raised have scaled through the National Assembly, and States Assembly have the knowledge.
“Though we cannot vouch 100 per cent support by all state Houses of Assembly, the Lagos Assembly has been a progressive assembly led by progressive elements. So, everything progressive, we will support,” he said.
Agunbiade, however, said that the issue of domestication raised by the protesters was not necessary, since once amendments scaled through state houses of assembly, they would become laws for all.
“It is a constitutional issue, everybody is bound by it. The issue of domestication does not come into it. The issue is adherence to the tenets of the constitution. The constitution is the ground norm which everybody must obey.”
The lawmaker advised the youths against offering themselves as instruments of violence and thuggery, urging them to, rather, mobilise and join political parties so that their voices could count.