#NotTooYoungToRun Story – The Struggle, Lessons and Gains

By Olasupo Abideen

In his famous treatise, ‘The Prince’, Niccolo Machiavelli wrote, “there is nothing more difficult and dangerous, or more doubtful of success, than an attempt to introduce a new order of things”.

I was a teenager when I started advocacy, pushing for reforms that would impact people’s lives. I was driven by my passion for helping people and improving the status quo.

However, right from the early days, I witnessed what Machiavelli described in that book: the difficulty of change. As I write this, it’s been over ten years since I started advocacy. During this period, I have written several articles, organized advocacy campaigns and debates, mobilised people to support groups and meet stakeholder, engage the Press to amplify our activities, and so much more. But the highlight of this journey is my involvement in the #NotTooYoungToRun bill that became law in 2018.

As the 2023 elections draw near, the influx of young people interested in various political offices has been a delight to me. But it has also been a reason for some reflection.

Pushing for a constitutional amendment in Nigeria is an arduous task. The process is frustrating and will have you reconsider your position. In the case of the #NotTooYoungToRun, the votes of the House of the National Assembly are required. After this, the resolution must be approved by not less than two-thirds of the Nigerian states.

Nigeria has 36 states, which means 24 states represent two-thirds. Once this approval is complete, it is presented to the president for their assent. But all that is history now.

Not many people are aware, but the #NotTooYoungToRun campaign started in 2012. It was organised by young Nigerians who formed a coalition of 30 groups under the Youth Alliance on Constitution Review and Electoral Reform (YACOR), which I was a member. It was during this time that I travelled to Abuja for the first time.

Olasupo Abideen is a Good Governance, Youth Investment and Public Policy enthusiast. Abideen serves as the Kwara State Coordinator of the NotTooYoungToRun Movement and the Executive Director, Brain Builders Youth Development Initiative. Please send comments and feedback to abideenolasupo@gmail.com . He tweets @opegoogle.

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