The Not Too Young To Run movement has reaffirmed its commitment to continue to promote political inclusion of youth, women and People With Disabilities (PWDs), for transformative politics and purposeful leadership, while reflecting on the movement’s successes and future prospects going into the next phase of Nigeria’s political dispensation. Having successfully reduced the age of running for the Presidency, the House of Representatives and State Houses of Assembly from 40 to 35 years and from 35 to 25 years respectively, the leadership of the movement has vowed to mitigate any hindrance to increase youth representation in elective offices.
Rising from a three-day retreat in Lagos, the movement, which is arguably the most successful citizens-led movement in Nigeria, revealed that it aims to increase the number of young women, men, and PWDs with competence, character and capacity in elective office to 30% in 2023. According to a statement released by the movement and signed by the Convener of the movement, Samson Itodo, Not Too Young To Run will build a grassroots movement of 5 million young women, men and PWDs committed to promoting political inclusion, democratic rights, transformative politics and purposeful leadership.
While maintaining its non-partisan identity of a social movement committed to political inclusion and transformative politics and leadership, the movement remains driven by its core values of Solidarity, Patriotism, Inclusion, Responsible leadership, Integrity and Trust (SPIRIT).
In a bid to build the strategic capacity that the movement requires to drive its agenda, the movement will be opening and recruiting more organizers and leaders across Nigeria and some parts of Africa. This, according to the movement, would enable expansion to build international solidarity on political inclusion and transformative leadership across 25 African countries by 2023.
“To this end, the movement will be establishing Not Too Young To Run hubs across Nigeria. In 2020, the movement will create 100 hubs across the country. State Coordinators will be assigned new responsibilities in furtherance of this goal,” Itodo said.
Reflecting on the success of the movement, Itodo said the Not Too Young To Run movement has built power from within, which the government couldn’t ignore. He further said the historic assent to the age reduction bill not only disrupted the political space but has renewed hope and mobilized the positive energy of young people. The movement, according to him, has birthed other movements because the team demonstrated how effective organizing can be in achieving good results.
Also speaking during the retreat, another strategy team member Cynthia Mbamalu, stated that despite the assent to the age reduction bill, there is still more work needed to be done to influence policy decision in National and state assemblies. Echoing similar thoughts, Bella Anne Ndubuisi said that the movement has a responsibility to drive the beneficiaries because there is a high expectation from young people in office due to the popularity of the movement.
The movement also hosted Babcock University and Bayero University Kano alumni Jumoke Pinheiro and Bashir Rabiu who both presented their academic research focusing on Youth participation , social media and policy making using the Not Too Young to Run as a case.