1.1 Background to the study
Enhancing opportunities for young people to participate in politics has become a growing global priority, with organizations like the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) and the United Nations (UN) seeking to collect data and develop strategies to elect a larger share of young people to national parliaments. One recommendation puts forward by the IPU (2016: 16) is to align the ages at which citizens may vote in elections and run for political office. In order to respond to the needs of young people, and to guarantee that their basic human rights are recognized and enforced, young people’s active and meaningful participation in their societies and in democratic practices and processes is of crucial importance Meaningful youth participation and leadership require that young people and young people-led organizations have opportunities, capacities, and benefit from an enabling environment and relevant evidence- based programmes and policies at all levels. Realizing young people’s right to participate and be included in democratic processes and practices is also vital to ensure the achievement of internationally agreed development goals and to refresh the development agenda.
Today the global campaign Not Too Young to Run was launched at the first United Nations Forum on Human Rights, Democracy and the Rule of Law taking place at United Nations Geneva. The campaign, launched by a partnership consisting of the Office of the UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth, the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), the European Youth Forum (EYF) and the Youth Initiative for Advocacy Growth & Advancement (YIAGA), aims to elevate the promotion of young people’s right to run for public office and address the wide-spread issue of age discrimination.
Youth constitute a fifth of the World’s population. Meanwhile, their participation in the political discourses is very limited. Globally, the average age of parliamentarians is 53 (Bruter and Harrison 2009). The minimum age for competing to the parliamentary candidacy is 25 years. This puts into question the inclusion of young peoples in the political spheres and processes. The youth have been recognized for their creative skills and innovative ideas. A critical look at the major political changes and dynamism shows that youth are at the center of the fulcrum. They mostly serve as catalysts for the changes of undemocratic governments and their political systems. The 2011/2012 Arab uprising is case in point. However, due to unfavorable legal architectures, low economic conditions and different discriminatory practices, their contributions and roles in the political arenas were extremely limited.
As a result, their involvement in the political process is informal and not yet well recorded. Given the fact that Africa is young in democracy and its political institutions are not well established, youth are excluded from important decision making processes. Most often than not, governments and policy makers in Africa are reluctant to include youth in the formal political systems. Nowadays, however; a marginal improvement has been shown in Africa, partly because of the rising consciousness of states and the external pressures including globalization and democratizations, which give due emphasis for the youth participation in the political and economic spheres of influences. Scholars pointed out that this could be a response to their marginalization and social and economic exclusions. Recent reports of the World Bank and UNDP indicated that the youth accounts for more than seventy percent of the Africa’s population. Yet, regardless of their numerical importance and the historical relevance throughout the region, they have been neglected from political arenas. As a result of lack of political participation of youth within the continent, they are disorganized, unemployed, and vulnerable to radical ideas such that leading demonstrations against government decisions. This has been seen in Sierra Leone, where the disillusioned and unemployed youth had played a great role in establishing the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) and in Rwanda where the youth were at the center in the genocidal.
In line with this logic, a movement of young people in Nigeria launched a campaign in 2016 to reduce the age limit to stand as political candidates conceived by YIAGA Africa, a youth-based civil society Organization seeking to promote good governance and youth political participation, the campaign soon encompassed more than100 youth organizations and became known by its hashtag #NotTooYoungToRun. Inspired by this example, in late 2016 the UN Youth Envoy launched a global Not Too Young to Run campaigning partnership with the United Nations Development Programme, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, the IPU, YIAGA, and the European Youth Forum. More than half of Nigeria’s estimated 182 million populations is under 30 years of age. The country’s median age is just 18, according to the United Nations, but politics is dominated by older politicians. All civilian heads of government were more than 50 years old before they were elected. Nearly two decades after the advent of civilian rule, former military leaders retained a strong influence over politics. Historically before civilian rule, most of the military heads of state were between the ages of 20 and 45, that is the military regime or era in Nigeria was largely dominated by the youth, ironically after the advent of democracy the same set of military leaders has taken over Nigeria political stage with the youth being marginalized.
The Not Too Young To Run bill in Nigeria aimed to amend sections 65, 106, 131 and 177 of the Nigerian constitution to reduce the eligibility age for the Houses of Assembly and House of Representatives from 30 to 25 years old, the Senate and Governorship from 35 to 30 years old, and the office of the President from 40 to 35years old. Sponsored by allies in the House of Representatives and the Senate, the bill passed both houses of parliament in July 2017.The proposed amendment was then presented to the 36 Houses of Assembly of the Nigerian states, 33 of which approved the bill (far exceeding the 24 states required for passage). In April 2018, the Senate sent the bill to the President for approval, who signed it –after further lobbying by youth organizations – into law on 31 May2018. The final version reduced the age to run for Presidency, the House of Representatives and the state Houses of Assembly, but retained the existing age qualifications for Governors and Senators. After the bill’s passage, the Not Too Young To Run campaign convened a press conference and declared that it marked “the beginning of a new era” in Nigerian politics. They argued that the reform would promote democratic development, deepen intergenerational dialogue and learning, reduce political violence and instability, and enhance competitive politics. They also emphasized the positive impact on the political rights of young people, pointing out that youth under the age of 35 formed 65% of the population and 53% of registered voters. They thanked all the elected officials who voted in favour of the bill, thereby demonstrating “unparalleled belief in youth leadership and inclusive politics” and “putting Nigeria on the global map as a country fully invested in meeting the needs of its youth”. They urged the “political class” – “if you want the youth vote” – to take active steps within their political parties to support the emergence of more young candidates (NotTooYoungToRun 2018).
Despite these arguments, it is not clear whether lower eligibility ages will necessarily lead to higher levels of youth representation. On the one hand, reforms may stimulate latent political ambition among youth, leading them to begin preparing political campaigns at earlier ages than they might have done prior to the legislative change. On the other hand, the new rules are permissive, not prescriptive: they allow younger people to come forward as aspirants for political office, but do not require political parties to actually nominate greater numbers of young people as political candidates. Given that young people around the world tend to eschew formal means of political participation, like voting and running for office, enacting such reforms may in fact have no effect on their political ambitions. This research therefore tends to examine the impact of the Not too Young to rule Law on Nigeria’s Youth Participation in politics in 2019 general election.
1.2 Statement of the problem
The problem which this research can identify are epidemic in the political system of today, there are many problems but the under listed problems are very epidemic and important to the subject matter. The following are therefore the problem of youth participation in Nigeria politics:
i. Patriarchal and chauvinistic legacy
ii. Monetary politics and vote buying
iii. Inexperience and Inferiority complex or weak institutions
The patriarchal and chauvinistic system of Nigeria politics is the major cause of youth participation in politics, where some old, experienced politicians keep dominating the political system without regards to the youths. This system has therefore brought a low or no impact of the Not too Young to Rule law in the 2019 general election, despite the sinning of Not too young to rule bill into law, according to YIAGA (2019) 1,515 youth candidates representing 23% of all candidates contested for House of Assembly, 10 candidates or 14% of the presidential candidates were aged between 35-40 years, 11 or 15% vied for Vice Presidential seat were aged between 35-40 years, 27.4% for House of Representatives are youths, less than 9.8% vied for Governorship position, 41.8% vied for state House of Assembly.
The problem of monetary politics in Nigeria politics is the most important problem that has eaten down into Nigeria politics, thereby sending the youth who are either unemployed or with little income out of the political environment. The cost to run politics in Nigeria is extremely high and it has turn to business where by the youth who intend to participate in politics sell their mandate out because they are in no way compared to the political elites. An ordinary youth with just a B.Sc. and a little paid job cannot run politics because the cost of party nomination form is high and not favorable for the youth. E.g APC Presidential interest form was 5m for 2019 general election. It is therefore not viable for youth to participate in politics due to huge amount of money involved in politics. The issues of vote buying in Nigeria election is majorly an enterprising nature of politics where by those in political system tend to buy peoples mandate just to win election. The monetary issues as curb the hands of the youth in participating in politics because even after getting the necessary forms they tend to go extra miles to buy peoples mandate and they therefore prefer to vote than to be voted, for the youth are always at the receiving ends and always willing to even sell their vote and not to participate in Representative Democracy as they don’t have the money to compete against such politicians. Vote buying is the enterprising nature of Nigeria politics and has therefore hinder the youths in participating in politics.
The problem of Inferiority complex and inexperience is one of the epidemic problem of Nigeria politics that has hinder youth participation in Nigeria politics, due to the fact that the institution of Nigeria that develops human capital is weak we therefore have poor agent of socialization or institutions, many youth are scared to participate in politics. It has been made to believe that politics are for the old men and some groups in the society and that was why many tend not involve themselves into politics, many believe politics is for some certain group in the society and that is why they failed to participate in politics, because they fill inferior to acclaimed political group. The nature to which the youth are being socialized by the agent of socialization, from parents to peer group to school to religion institution and mass media gives a certain believe that politics can only be carry out either by the old or selected few. Some religious group believe that politics are not meant for them, they assert that politics is meant for some religion or better still some inferior religion.
This belief has therefore, sent feelings of inferiority to the youth and that is why they are scared to partake in politics. The discussions on the outlined problems in the study have made students, analyst, and researchers of Nigeria politics to establish questions like “how democratic is Nigeria’s Democracy?” Thus, it is on this note that this research intends to investigate, to an extent, the invalidities and impact of the Not too young to rule law on youth participation in politics in 2019 general election.
1.3 Research Questions
For the purpose of this research work, relevant research questions have been outlined to serve as a direction, guide and articulation of the research findings or work. However, these questions focus more on the major problems to be investigated and could possibly lead to other minor research questions in
subsequent research works. The following research questions will be adopted by this study:
i. What is the reason behind the formulation of Not too young to rule
ii. What is the impact of Not too young to rule law on Nigerian youth participation in politics?
iii. What are the challenges confronting youth participation in Nigerian politics?
iv. What is the level of youth marginalization in political participation in Nigeria?
1.4 Objectives of the study
The general objective of the study is to evaluate and investigate the impact of Not too young to Rule Law on Nigeria’s youth participation in politics in 2019 General Election. In summary, the following are the objective adopted by this research:
i. To understand the reasons for the formation of Not too young to rule.
ii. To examine the impact of Not too young to rule law on Nigeria’s youth in Nigeria politics in 2019 general election.
iii. To identify the challenges to youth participation in Nigeria politics.
iv. To ascertain the level of youth marginalization in political participation in Nigeria.
1.5 Research Hypotheses
Research hypotheses refer to the basic that are made to give directions to a particular research (Ukana, 1988). To aid the completion of the study; the following research hypotheses is hereby formulated in this study;
H0: Signing of Not too young to run bill increased the percentage and awareness of youth participation in Nigeria politics.
H1: Signing of Not too young to run bill did not increase the percentage and awareness of youth participation in Nigeria politics.
H0: There is relationship between Youth participation in Nigeria politics and Money.
H1: There is no relationship between Youth participation in Nigeria politics and money.
H0: Political godfathers determine the chances of any Youth candidates in Nigeria politics.
H1: Political godfathers do not determine the chances of any Youth candidates in Nigeria politics.
H0: The Not too young to run is a positive impact on Nigeria’s youth political participation in 2019 general election.
H1: The Not too young to run is a negative impact on Nigeria’s youth political participation in 2019 general election.
1.6 Significant of the study
Every research work is aimed at critically looking at a project or work with the sole aim of benefiting the researcher, the reader or both. This work is significant because it will add to the body of existing literatures, journals, overtures and brochure that demonstrates the importance of the solution to most challenges of Nigeria politics and solution to help the youth towards the political system.
It serves as reference materials to students, scholars, and research analyst of Nigeria politics, who have the interest further on this topic. This research will also help to change the way people think about the status of Nigeria as the ‘giant of Africa’ which play a major role in continental, developmental operation, politically, economically, security wise, among others and bring careless of its national issues. Many Nigerians who are boastful of Nigerian philanthropic operations in African without considering its impact on the country and its political system will also find this as an eye opener. It will also change the mindset of some institution in the society on politics, most especially the family and religious groups. In summary:
i. It will bring to limelight the position of the youth in Nigeria politics.
ii. It will give room for careful scrutiny of the problems facing the Nigeria youths in politics
iii. This work will enable the reader have in debt understanding of the percentage of youths in 2019 general election.
iv. It will assist other researchers to carry out further research on the subject matter.
1.7 Scope and Limitations to the Study
This research work titled “The Impact of Not too Young to Rule Law on Nigeria’s Youth participation in politics in 2019 General Election” will tend to look at the subject matter in 2019 election, thereby limiting its scope to one year, hence the research work will be limited therein.
In the course of this research work, the researcher was confronted with series of problems which tends to limit the researcher pace at actualizing his research work. These limitations among others includes:
Finance: This research work requires a lot of financial commitment as it involves the researcher traveling to libraries outside the city of residence as well as meeting some party stakeholders and aspirants.
Time Factor: This is another impending factor that militates against the research work. The researcher is a student and under academic duress could not have ample time to carry out a thorough research on the subject matter.
Non-Cooperation: Getting the necessary cooperation from some individuals so as to deduce important documents for the research work was a very big task to the researcher. Some information where either incomplete or denied by individuals who were the custodians of such information and documents.
Limited Materials: The subject matter is new and therefore there was limitation to materials from visited libraries has very little or no important materials on this research topic.
Tactics in overcoming some of these limitations have thereby made this project to be a thing of success. Out of the limited cost of materials, available materials and textbooks were utilized. Some were borrowed from friends, libraries and lecturers while others were bought on installment. The scheduled time between leisure periods were managed in making fundamental study for this research. Time used was mostly at mid night. Meanwhile, the challenge of cost was sorted out on the application of the principle of preference. Stipends from parents, guardians and relatives were garnered for the successful completion of this research.
1.8 Definition of Concepts
Some of the key terms in this research work are defined as follows:
i. Political Participation: This involves any activities that shapes, affect, or involves the political sphere, ranging from voting, attending rally, etc.
ii. Not Too Young To Run: This entail a campaign which seek to reduce the age limit for running elective office in Nigeria and globally.
iii. Bill: A draft of a proposed law presented to the parliament for discussion.
iv. Youths: The time of life when one is young especially the period between childhood and maturity. The agree range of youth varies. The UN for statistical consistency across regions, defines youth, as those people between the ages of 15 and 24years. Africa Youth Charter defines youth between the Age of 15 and 35 years. In Nigeria, Youth age is considered between the age of 18 and 45years
v. Democracy: A system of government by the whole population or all the eligible members of a state, typically through elected representatives.