The Ijaw Youth Council (IJC) and the National Youth Council of Nigeria (NYCN), said Buhari’s comments that says the youths should not contest against him, were against the rule of law and against democratic principles, noting that the President was joking.
Pereotubo Oweilaemi, IYC National President, said, “Asking the youths not to contest against him (Buhari) is also against the law that he has just passed. He would have signed the bill after the 2019 elections that he is gunning for. It is a law and the President should not speak otherwise.
“The President should not stop any youth willing to contest in 2019. It is not befitting of the President to utter such statements. This is not the way to build our democracy.”
Abdulrahman Agboola, the NYCN acting President, said, “The President simply expressed his sense of humour by telling Nigerian youths not to use the law against him.
“When you look at the general perceptions, you will understand that the people surrounding President Buhari are not able to convince Nigerians on why the President should run in 2019.
“How many young Nigerians below 30 years have the resources to contest an elective post in the National Assembly, let alone that of the President? We need to therefore educate our young people on what leadership entails so that they will not fumble in office like some youths did or are doing.”
Meanwhile, a civil society organisation, the Committee for the Defence of Human Rights, said President Buhari’s comments on the youths indicated why he had delayed the signing of the bill into law.
Malachy Ugwummadu, CDHR President, said, “One begins to wonder if President Buhari’s initial reluctance to sign the bill into law was not the fear that Nigerian youths would want to contest against him. But he need not have that fear, this is democracy and everyone must have a level playing field.
“The President, immediately he signed that bill into law, is bound by it and cannot persuade or stop any youth from contesting the office of the President as stated in the new law.”