ABUJA: The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has described as degrading and completely unacceptable, the jocular declaration made by President Muhammadu Buhari, that Nigerians youths should not contest the Presidency in the 2019 general elections.
The President had, shortly after signing the Not-Too-Young-To-Run Bill on Thursday, jocularly urged the youths to delay their ambition to govern the nation after the 2019 elections.
But PDP, in a quick reaction, said the statement followed a similar one made in the United Kingdom by the President recently wherein he painted most Nigerian youths as lover of freebies who sit at home doing nothing.
In a statement signed by the party’s spokesperson, Kola Ologbondiyan, the PDP accused the ruling party of erecting stumbling blocks on the path of the youths in their quest to offer themselves for the highest office in the next general election.
“PDP describes such a declaration (President Buhari’s remark) as totally unpresidential, unlawful, discriminatory and further showcases the disdain with which Mr. President holds the youths, who he had earlier described, without apologies, as lazy and lovers of freebies.
“We want Nigerians, particularly, the youths, to note that President Buhari’s position reflects the policy of his All Progressives Congress (APC), not to allow our youths the opportunity to aspire at top levels,” the statement read in part, adding that “President Buhari and the APC have been using all manner of machinations to frustrate front line participation of the youths and, of course, the women in active politics and governance.”
While lauding the first citizen for signing the bill into law, the party wondered why the President would sign a law “and immediately seek to suspend it,” stressing that “President Buhari’s attempt to talk down on and intimidate the youths from contesting against him in 2019 shows that he is not in support of the Not-Too-Young-To-Run law and only assented to it because he had no other option under the 1999 Constitution (as amended).”
Speaking in similar vein, National Youth Leader of the party, Honourable Sunday Udeh-Okoye saluted the foresight of Honourable Tony Nwulu, a member of the PDP who, not only sponsored the bill but mobilised his colleagues to throw their weight behind its final passage.
Addressing a press conference at the party’s national secretariat on Friday, Udeh-Okoye thanked the President for his assent, saying the law would reposition the character of the nation’s politics in the years ahead.
He tasked the ruling party to take a clue from the PDP which in its years in power provided a platform for the engagement of young technocrats who availed the nation their expertise in diverse calling.
“The likes of El Rufai (Nasir), Nuhu Ribadu, Oby Ezekwesili, Charles Soludo, Femi Fani-Kayode and a host of others were brought into government administration by PDP while they were still young.
“The youngest members of the two chambers of the National Assembly are PDP members like Tony Nwulu. In the State Assemblies, the youngest parliamentarians are PDP members, and even the youngest Speakers of State House of Assemblies are from PDP,” he said.