The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, has said that the exclusion of young people from the decision making processes that affect them could be equated to crime against humanity.
Speaking when he received the Movement For The #NotTooYoungToRun in his office, Mr Dogara stressed the importance of opening up the political space to young people for the growth and development of Nigeria.
“One thing that we must emphasise and continue to emphasise is that we must get our young people to develop the capacity to participate and lead.
“We must also ensure that they have political influence. Any environment that excludes half of its population would not be fair, and this is true for the young people that now live in this great country called Nigeria. We have to accord you your rightful place.
“To continuously exclude the young people from participating in taking decisions that affect them would have amounted to a crime against humanity.”
He said there is no criminality above excluding a greater percentage of people from taking decisions or participating in taking decisions on matters that affect them.
He also harped on the importance of the youth getting the right training from a young age to enable them take up leadership positions in the future and deliver successfully.
“We just didn’t do it (pass the bill) for the young people but as it is said, great leaders bother themselves about the next generation.
He expressed delight that the bill which has become an inspiration to other sister countries to provide legal backing for youth inclusion in governance, will come into law before the 2019 election. He assured of help with resolving any bureaucratic process when the need arises.
Mr Dogara said he will be available to celebrate the milestone when the president signs the bill into law and urged the advocacy team to “make a big deal of the feat they have achieved”.
Speaking earlier, the Executive Director of Youth Initiative for the Adocacy, Growth and Advancement (YIAGA), Samson Itodo, who led the delegation, expressed gratitude to the speaker for keeping his promise to promote youth inclusion in politics by ensuring the bill is passed.
He commended the speaker’s leadership in pushing for the passage of the bill, saying he (Dogara) inspired them to keep the movement strong.
He commended the speaker and members of the House for showing the world that it is a parliament that prioritises youth engagement in the political process.
He said the United Nations has commended the Nigerian parliament, while the Economic Community of West African State (ECOWAS) and the African Union have adopted the resolution to include youth in political processes.
Mr Itodo also said baring any last minute changes, President Muhammadu Buhari will sign the bill into law at 1 p.m. on Thursday and urged the speaker to help push for accelerated gazetting of the law.