The Nigerian Senate yesterday lived up to its promise by voting in favour of a constitutional amendment to reduce the age of running for the president from 40 to 35, Governor 35 to 30, House of Representatives and State houses of Assembly from 30 to 25. With this, more young people can contest for political office.
— #NotTooYoungToRun (@YIAGA) July 26, 2017
— Bukola Saraki (@bukolasaraki) July 26, 2017
The #nottooyoungtorun campaign was spearheaded by Youth Initiative for Advocacy, Growth & Advancement (YIAGA). It has been a long and arduous journey for the campaigners and other concerned young Nigerians, the greatest challenge being the youths themselves who sometimes questioned if this could change amount to real change in the political sphere.
The #nottooyoungtorun campaigners employed every weapon in their arsenal- lobbying, media releases, interviews, peaceful protest. They also made sure they used a great deal the digital space. The hashtag was a very catchy and trendy one. They were also able to use a lot of social media influencers to generate awareness and get buy-in from the numerous Nigerian young people on social media. The hashtag has been one of the top trends in the past couple of days.
Even though the constitutional amendment is not final until also similarly passed by the lower house and affirmed by at least 24 state houses of assembly in accordance with the constitution, it is a victory for the Nigerian youth in the digital age. Whether this will amount to real change in the age and quality of players in politics is another debate for another day.
For today, the campaigners and young people in Nigeria rejoice in victory that they could use their online voices to drive real change offline.