Friday, June 29, 2018

35-Year-Old Nigerian Takes Shot At 2019 Presidential Vote

A 35-year-old Nigerian on Thursday said he wants to become the country’s youngest presidential candidate, taking advantage of a newly passed law reducing age limits for political office.

“Chike Ukaegbu announced his candidacy for President of Nigeria — a country with over 60 percent of the population between the ages of 18 and 35,” his publicist said in a statement.

“At the age of 35, Chike aspires to become the youngest civilian president of the youthful African nation.”

Ukaegbu, described as a “technology entrepreneur” who lives in New York, is originally from Owerri, in the southern Nigerian State of Imo.

He told AFP he was not yet affiliated to any particular party “but will be choosing from one of the current 68 political parties in the coming weeks”.

“We are down to five that we are still evaluating before we decide,” he added in an email.

Ukaegbu is only able to declare his candidacy because last month President Muhammadu Buhari signed the “Not Too Young To Run” bill into law.

The new legislation lowers the minimum age for presidential candidates from 40 to 35, state governors and senators from 35 to 30, and national and state assembly members now at 25.

It aims to increase the participation of young people in politics, which has been dominated for decades by an ageing elite.

Former military ruler Buhari, who is 75, has said he wants to contest for a second, four-year term of office.

But he has been under intense pressure to stand down on age and health grounds, after he spent several months in a London hospital last year being treated for an undisclosed ailment.

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