Shortly before signing the Not Too Young Bill into law on Thursday, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari asked the country's youths to shelved their plans to contest for elective post till after the 2019 general elections.
Buhari himself will be seeking reelection in the elections which hold in the first quarter of next year.
"Can I ask you to postpone your campaigns till after the 2019 elections," Buhari said on Thursday.
The 75-year-old former military ruler came into in 2015 after defeating the then incumbent Goodluck Jonathan. His campaign was largely promoted by young Nigerians who were disenchanted by sleaze that characterised the past government.
Candidates hoping to stop Buhari from ruling for another term include Atiku Abubakar of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), former Nigeria’s central bank deputy governor Kingsley Moghalu, the publisher of Sahara Reporters Omoyele Sowore are older than 40 years.
Despite asking young Nigerians to postpone their plans for later, Buhari insisted that he believed that they could transform Nigeria for the better.
He said, "I am confident each one of you will transform Nigeria in your own way – whether through media, agricultural enterprise, economists, engineers, or as lawmakers in your states or at federal levels, or as state governors – and even someday, as president."
The bill was passed by both Chambers of the National Assembly in 2017 and also been approved by the constitutionally required a two-third of the state assemblies.
Nigeria’s 1999 constitution stipulates that the president has to be at least 40, while senators and state governors have to be aged 35 or above. The bill, however, reduces the minimum age for presidential candidates from 40 to 35, and while the age limit for state and national assemblies will be 25.
Curiously, however, the age limits for senators and governors were not reduced. Buhari said that may need to be revisited.