A political Scientist and gubernatorial aspirant in Oyo State, Professor Adeolu Akande has advised the Nigerian Senate to support the amendment of the 1999 constitution to reduce the qualifying ages of candidates in elections in the country.
Akande, who is a Visiting Professor of Political Science at the Igbinedion University,Okada, Edo State counseled that the Senate should support and align Nigeria with an increasing number of countries in the world who are reducing qualifying ages of candidates to include the youths more in government.
He argued that comparative studies across the world have shown that governments benefit immensely from the energy, dynamism and idealism that characterize the age of youths.
Prof. Akande said youths worldwide have exhibited the competence and passion which are essential ingredients for good and responsible governance.
“The number of countries lowering the ages at which citizens could contest elections is increasingly by the day. Nigeria should not be left out of this quest to take advantage of the immense qualities which abound in the youths especially their energy,dynamism and idealism”, he said.
Akande explained that in countries like the United States(35), France(18), Great Britain(18), Mexico(35), India(35),Indonesia(35),Australia(18),Austria(35),Netherlands(18), Iran(21),Israel(30),among others, the qualifying age for the highest political offices of president or prime minister have been drastically reduced to give ample opportunities to the youths to occupy important public offices. He argued that this is an indication that it has been realized worldwide that competence in government is not synonymous with old age but with good education, exposure and compassion for the people.
He therefore called on the Nigerian Senate to support the reduction in the qualifying age for candidates beginning with the qualifying age for the Office of President which the House of Representatives has put at 35.