The Campaign For Youth Inclusion: Addressing Misconceptions And Making A Case For Inter-Generational Cooperation By Rinsola Abiola | The Precision

Emmanuel Macron made global headlines
when he was elected the President of France as his emergence further
legitimized the call for a generational shift in leadership and increased youth
involvement in most parts of the world, Nigeria inclusive.

The election process which gave him
victory and his immediate actions upon assuming office helped to clarify,
particularly in the case of Nigeria’s Not Too Young To Run campaign, the often
held misconceptions around the call for youth inclusion in governance and
While the faceoff between Marine Le
Pen and Emmanuel Macron during the election phase was deemed a battle between
the old and the new, and the latter’s victory a conquest over the old, it was
actually a correct portrayal of representative democracy and equity – a crux of
the Not Too Young To Run campaign.
Macron, a 39 year old man, and Marine
Le Pen, a 49 year old woman, both mirror France accurately as the country is
presently largely populated by men and women aged 25 – 54. The fact that
members of this age group, who account for the most people in the country, vied
for its top job shows clearly that their democracy is functional and has
achieved the goals of representation that its founders had in mind.
Furthermore, appointments into
Emmanuel Macron’s cabinet after his victory at the polls showed that no
‘conquest’ took place. Citing the top positions, Jean-Yves Le Drian, a 69 year
old man, was appointed the Europe and Foreign Minister, Sylvie Goulard, 53, was
appointed Armed Forces minister and Jacques Mézard at age 69 was appointed
Agriculture minister. Just as Macron managed to secure victory at the polls,
these individuals, irrespective of their ages, got appointed on the strength of
their ideas, competence, track-record and expected contribution to the
More than anything else, this
indicates that the call for youth inclusion is not an advocacy for older folks
to relinquish, completely and permanently, politics for members of the younger
generation. Rather, it is an advocacy for social justice; a situation where we
work together to proffer solutions to the problems of our country and chart a
course for the future of our nation as is the case in France where a young and
vibrant Macron, aided by an experienced cabinet, is rallying the country to
emerge as the new leader of the free world.
It is an advocacy for growth and
development made possible by inter-generational balance like in the United Arab
Emirates where 68 year old Prime Minister, Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum,
is aided by young ministers such as 27 year old Omar bin Sultan Al Olama who is
presently leading the country’s charge into Artificial Intelligence.
It is a call for young people, who
account for the greatest numbers in Nigeria, to be acknowledged as stakeholders
and allowed as active participants when and where the country’s present and
future fate is being decided.

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Last year, I was appointed as a member
of the committee of my party, the All Progressives Congress, on True Federalism.
The committee, which was chaired by the governor of Kaduna state, Mallam Nasir
El-Rufai, was made up of other governors, lawmakers, professors and experienced
politicians. With their combined wealth of knowledge and experience, I and
other young members of the committee did not only work effectively in a healthy
environment filled with mutual respect, but also gained meaningful insight into
the workings of the country. This experience and the success recorded have strengthened
my belief in the importance of youth inclusion and the immense potential of a
political system with inter-generational balance, where young and old work
together to achieve set goals and stimulate national growth and development.
Ideas are products of thinking and
knowledge, both of which are not consigned to any particular age group or
demography. The Not Too Young To Run Bill acknowledges this and seeks to end
discrimination on account of age, especially to people who are deemed good
enough to vote, and serve in different capacities in the corridors of power.
While we have worked to attain a
level of inclusion, it is imperative that discriminatory provisions in the Constitution
which effectively prohibit a large majority of young people from aspiring to
elective office are done away with. This is not a campaign based on a sense of
entitlement but on an ardent desire to entrench equity, for without justice,
all other espoused values amount to naught.

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National Assembly has demonstrated
its support for youth inclusion by giving wings to this discussion and
by passing the bill, and it is key to encourage states that are yet to
to it to do so in the best interest of the country. After getting the
required number of states, presidential assent will be required, and
there will be no better way to show appreciation for the young people
who worked relentlessly for change in 2015, than to support the campaign
for equity. 
All stakeholders should be reminded
that while we all admire the leadership of Emmanuel Macron and the
compelling nature of his ideas, a Nigerian his age, with similar ideas or even
better, is assumed inadequate by the Constitution to run for the country’s top
job simply because he/she is not 40.
is Ag. President of the APC Young Women Forum, board member of the
Young Women in Politics Forum and a Member of the Board of Trustees of
the governing party, APC. She is also a Special Assistant to the Speaker
of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara and tweets via

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