THE EDUCATOR - June 05 2018


Not-Too-Young-to-run will only succeed if we stop money politics – Jerry Nwakobi

By Henry Uwalaka

Just recently, Nigerians especially the youth folks were excited as president Muhammadu Buhari signed to law what is now referred to as the “Not-too-young-to-run Act”. The new law amends the Nigerian constitution by reducing the age qualifications for certain elective offices created by the constitution.

Though when the discussions on the then bill were ongoing, many did not give it enough attention, but after signing the bill into law call for response. Some who have reacted dismissed the new law as unnecessary and deceitful saying that the new law does not set an age maximum to stop oldies from contesting, while others argued that the present Nigerian political system of “highest bidder takes it all” will not allow young people to get to certain elective offices as they may not have the resources to buy votes.

To be able to win election, there are many other factors, apart from age and cost of electioneering campaign that would come to play. Like these unfortunate incidence of godfatherism, zoning, primitive way of the aspirant being able to appeal to the sentiments of the electorates, and the worst of all is people voting for candidates because they share money, whether well-earned or stolen.

Reacting to this very important issue, a prominent politician from Anambra State, Chief Jerry Nwakobi said for the Not-too-young-to-run Act to be realistic and possibly transit to Not-too-young-to-win, elections in Nigeria must not be a money grabbing empire by way of buying votes, rather people should vote with their conscience, vote for credible candidates.

According to the Ifite-Nteje, in Oyi LGA born businessman, Jerry Nwakobi; “where I look at the Not-too-young-to-run, you must not let election to be a money grabbing empire by buying votes. People should vote with their conscience. There is necessary amount of money you must spend in an election, which anybody can get support on that, but the amount of money people spend on buying votes, how can these young people get that such amount of money? If they must get involve, they must be financed by cabal who are old people and in return would want to get what they spent on them. So, people should promote credible candidates not money.”

“For instance, in the western world we are trying to emulate, Macron of France did not go to any polling unit to buy votes, Obama did not go to any polling unit to buy votes. But in Nigeria, the money politicians spend in buying votes in polling units is far more than the money they spend in campaign in the course of doing the necessary things. Knowing full well that people are ready to sell their votes, they can keep their money waiting for the Election Day to buy votes. So, Not-too-young-to-run is basically depending on the help of the people not money.”