Politics

Ex-presidential aide wants age requirement for president, senators, governors reduced

A former senior special assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on prosecution, Chief Okoi Obono-Obla, has called for the constitutional amendment to include a reduction in the age of presidential aspirants to 30 or 35 while governors and senators could be in their 20s and 30s.

He added that age should no longer be a barrier to attainment of leadership position in the country, citing global examples where younger people in their 20s have occupied offices as heads of states and other key political offices.

He said this in a statement sighted by our reporter.

Obono-Obla, who is aspiring to contest the senatorial seat for Cross River Central, said whether one is old or young, he can become a leader once he has leadership qualities and capabilities.

He cited General Yakubu Gowon who became head of state at 32 at the most critical time of Nigeria’s history and saved the country from disintegration.

He said, “There should be an amendment of the constitution reducing the age requirement for president and vice to 35 instead of 40.

“Constitution says to become a senator, you have to be 35. It can be reduced to 30.

“Conversely, to become a member of the House of Representatives, you have to be 30 by section 66 (1j (b) of the constitution, but it can be reduced to 25 through a constitutional amendment.

“Section 106 (b) of the constitution provides eligibility to contest election into the House of Assembly, and you have to be 30. It can be reduced to 25.

“To be eligible to be deputy governor, you must be 35 years old, as stipulated by section 187 (2) of the constitution. So this provision has to be amended to reduce it to 25.”

He said young people in Nigeria should be encouraged to aspire to these offices, stressing that the law is made for man, not man for the law. Therefore, he advocated that age impediment to young people becoming presidents, vice presidents, governors, deputy governors, etc be abolished.

He said when he becomes a senator in 2023, he will sponsor a bill to reduce the age for key offices.

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