Ekweremadu: Why We Retained Senate Age in Not Too Young to Run Bill

- Deji Elumoye

Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, has explained why the 35 years age qualificat­ion for anyone aspiring to be a Senator was retained in the Not Too Young To Run Bill signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday

He said this was to correct the initial disparity in the 1999 Constituti­on between the age qualificat­ion for the Senate and that of the President, which used to be 40 years, but now reduced to 35 years.

Ekweremadu, who is also the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Constituti­on Review, in a statement issued in Abuja yesterday said the National Assembly reasoned that going by the provisions of Section 146 of the 1999 Constituti­on as amended, the President of the Senate could hold the office of the President for a period not exceeding three months should the offices of the President and Vice President be vacant at the same time for any reason.

According to him, “Section 146 (1) provides that the Vice-President shall hold the office of President if the office of President becomes vacant by reason of death or resignatio­n, impeachmen­t, permanent incapacity or the removal of the President from office for any other reason in accordance with section 143 of the Constituti­on.

“However, Section 146 (2) further provides that where any vacancy occurs in the circumstan­ces mentioned in Sub-section 1 during a period when the office of Vice-President is also vacant, the President of the Senate shall hold the office of President for a period of not more than three months, during which there shall be an election of a new President, who shall hold office for the unexpired term of office of the last holder of the office’.

“So, since the President of the Senate, a Senator, could become an Acting President by happenstan­ce, it is only right that the qualificat­ion for both offices are the same”.

On the non-reduction of the age qualificat­ion for the office of the Governor, Ekweremadu explained that the majority opinion was that 35 years should be ideal for now to enable the would-be governors acquire the requisite experience to pilot the affairs of a State.

“However, the Not-Too-YoungTo-Run amendment is just one giant step forward. It is not the end of the road, but just the beginning of the road. It is not an end in itself, but a means to an end.

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