The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday, described the declaration by President Muhammadu Buhari that Nigerian youths should not contest the Presidency in the 2019 general elections, as degrading and completely unacceptable.
PDP added that the declaration is totally unpresidential, unlawful, discriminatory and further showcases the disdain with which Mr President holds the youths, who, according to the party, he had earlier described as lazy and lovers of freebies.
The national spokesman of the party, Kola Ologbondiyan, further claimed that President Buhari’s position reflects the policy of his party, All Progressives Congress (APC), which does not allow youths the opportunity to aspire at top levels.
The PDP however maintained that Nigerian youths have come of age; and are free, under all circumstances, to contest for any position, including the office of president, even in the 2019 general election.
“It is unimaginable that a president can sign a law and immediately seek to suspend it. President Buhari’s attempt to talk down on and intimidate the youths from contesting against him in 2019, shows that he is not in support of the Not Too Young To Run law and only assented to it because he had no other option under the 1999 Constitution (as amended).
“We therefore urge Nigerians to be alert and wary of booby traps as well as land mines that the APC and the Presidency will set on the way to scuttle the quest of our youths to fully participate and aspire in our democratic process.”
While insisting that Nigerian youths have come of age and are free to contest for any position in 2019, PDP noted “In 2019, when the re-branded PDP is returned to power as the vehicle of good governance and economic prosperity, our party will further encourage the amendment of our electoral laws to enable any Nigerian that can vote, the right to stand for elections.
“The PDP therefore calls on all Nigerian youths to note that President Buhari and the APC have nothing to offer them and the nation at large.
They should therefore spare no thoughts in jettisoning all support for President Buhari and the APC in their 2019 reelection bid.”
Meanwhile, the PDP national youth leader, Hon Sunday Udo-Okoye, while praising PDP lawmaker, Tony Nwulu, for co-sponsoring the Not Too Young To Run law, said the PDP had over the years projected youths into governance.
Speaking at the news conference, which was attended by members of the National Assembly and youth leaders, he said, “PDP is a youth friendly party that has operated on a policy of youth inclusiveness in government.
“The likes of El Rufai, Nuhu Ribadu, Oby Ezekwesili, Charles Soludo, Femi Fani-Kayode and a host of others were brought into government administration by PDP while they were still young.
“The youngest members of the two chambers of the National Assembly are PDP members like Hon Tony Nwulu. In the State Assemblies, the youngest parliamentarians are PDP members, and even the youngest Speakers of State House of Assemblies are from PDP.
“It was under PDP administration of the country that the Budget Monitoring and Price Intelligent Unit (BMPIU) known as Due Process was set-up in 2001, which ensured transparency in government procurements and spending. A youthful Oby Ezekwesili was appointed the head of BMPIU. She was 38 when she was appointed in 2001.”
He however praised the National Assembly and President Muhammadu Buhari for signing the bill into law.
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