President: Jonathan seeks removal of age limit
President Goodluck Jonathan in Abuja on Saturday advocated the removal of the constitutional age limit of 40 years for a Nigerian to become president.
Jonathan described the provision as discriminatory against young Nigerians, who had the energy, ideas and other qualities to lead the country to greatness.
Jonathan spoke at an international youth conference, organised by the Nigerian Young Professionals Forum (NYPF), with the theme: “Capacity for Change for a New Nigeria.”
He challenged the youth to forward a constitution amendment bill to the National Assembly for the removal of all discriminatory provisions in terms of age and promised to support them.
The President said the call by the Chairman and Founder of NYPF, Mr. Moses Siasia, for 35 per cent affirmative action for the youth in governance also limited the aspiration of the group.
He noted that asking for a percentage amounted to self-limitation, considering that the youths had all that was required to govern, especially the numerical strength to get the highest office in the land.
“The youths have no limit in terms of number and capacity to lead this country to greatness.
“The only limit is that for youths to contest as president, they need to be 40.
“If Gen. Yakubu Gowon was able to rule this country at 32, there is no reason why the youths should not be given the chance.
“So, don’t ask for per cent because by that request you are limiting yourselves.
“I think what the youth should do now is to come together, and I will support you, and take a bill to the National Assembly to amend some discriminatory provisions of the constitution in terms of age,’’ the News Agency of Nigeria quoted President Jonathan as saying at the conference.
He pledged the continued support of his administration to the youth through policies and programmes that would continue to harness their huge potential for national development.
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