Logos of some political parties in Nigeria
By Angela Atabo
Nigerian youths on Wednesday urged political parties to reduce the cost of their nomination forms to enable them to participate in the 2019 general elections.
The Convener of the Not-Too-Young-To-Run Movement, Mr Samson Itodo, made the caall at the National Headquarters of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Abuja, saying that youths were demanding inclusiveness.
Itodo said that the youths were at the party’s secretariat and other political parties nationwide to solicit support for the aspirations of young Nigerians, who had indicated interest to contest various elective positions in 2019.
He said that youths were not asking for free forms but a reduction in the cost of nomination forms to enable them to contest for offices.
“We are asking that this party should support young presidential aspirants, reserve tickets for the youths, reduce cost of nomination forms and adopt the direct primaries option in the selection of candidates for elective positions.
“We are calling for an end to vote buying; Nigerian youths are now more aware of what is going on.
“The nation is being celebrated today across the world for reducing the age limit to run for elective offices simply because of that step taken to address this issue.
“As a party that represents transformation, you must reduce the cost of obtaining nomination forms because youths will no longer accept crumbs,’’ Itodo said.
Responding on behalf of PDP, the National Youth Leader, Mr Sunday Udeh-Okoye, assured the group of the party’s willingness to carry youths along, adding that the party was famous for championing youths’ aspirations.
“The Not-Too-Young-To-Run Law was sponsored by our member who has defected for one or two reasons, but which has nothing to do with the PDP not doing well.
“ Even as he has defected, he is still our member in spirit; our party will protect your interest.
“We believe in you and we have respect for our youths; we want the young ones to grow, which is why while the other political parties were kicking against the bill, we stood our ground and ensured that it was passed.”
Udeh-Okoye said that the field was now open for every Nigerian youth to run as age was no longer a barrier.
He charged the youths to begin to vie for elective positions “without looking at anybody’s face”, saying they must be dogged in their demands for inclusiveness.
He assured the group that PDP would not disappoint the youths and that all its primary elections would be transparent as well as seek to protect the interests of youths.
The News Agency of Nigeria ((NAN) reports that the rally to political parties was organised nationwide to press for inclusion of youths in the activities of the existing political parties.