Muhammadu Buhari, Nigeria’s president, speaks during the U.S.-Africa Business Forum in New York, U.S.
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday approved a law reducing the minimum age for people seeking to run for public office to 35 from 40.
The minimum age for positions in the state house of assembly and the house of representatives was also reduced, by 5 years to 25, the presidency said in an emailed statement. Buhari didn’t approve a provision reducing the age requirements for governors and senators.
The bill was passed by both houses of parliament last year and later received the constitutionally required approval of two-thirds of state legislatures, leaving the final step of presidential assent.
It reduces the minimum age for presidential candidates from 40 to 35, and state governors and senators from 35 to 30.
The minimum age for national and state assembly members will now be 25.
The overall aim of the change in the law is to increase the participation of young people in politics. More than half of Nigeria’s estimated 180 million people are under 30.
The Youth Initiative for Advocacy, Growth and Advancement organisation, which has backed the bill, has said youth inclusion was “a constitutional imperative for democratic development.”
Buhari, 75, is hoping to be re-elected to a second, four-year term at elections in February next year, which will be Nigeria’s sixth since the restoration of civilian rule on May 29, 1999.
But there have been lingering question marks about his health after he spent several months undergoing treatment in London for an undisclosed illness.