In recent times, a new campaign, #NotTooYoungToRun advocating for the reduction of the age restrictions placed on Nigerians planning to run for an elected office within the country is fast gaining ground.
The goal of the campaign is to ensure the inclusion of youths across Nigeria in the political landscape where they can be viable to run for elected offices.
Currently, according to section 65, 106, 131 and 177 of the 1999 constitution, qualification into presidential office is pegged at 40 years and above, office of governors and senate, 35 years and above while House of Representatives and state Houses of Assembly to 25 years and above.
The #NotTooYoungToRun campaign seeks to reduce the age bracket of qualification for political offices so that Nigerian youths who have taken control of different endeavors in life and excelled at it, can have a shot at the helm of national affairs.
One of the front liners of the campaign is Dayo Israel, a high flying Nigerian youth who is contesting for the chairmanship of Lagos Mainland local government.
In an interview with YNaija, the 30-year old Dayo advocated the need for the Nigerian youth to maximize opportunities presented before them even as he listed his lofty plans if he wins the forthcoming local government election.
On Nigerian youths maximizing their potentials, Dayo said, “Our youths are limited and not inspired to fulfill their potential. Unemployment and lack of skills is of major concern but if we can empower more youths to build their skill and be motivated, they will discover themselves and demand more from life.
Asked why he decided to run for an elected office, Dayo replied, “Because I am not too young to run.”
He however, further explained that he felt led by the Holy Spirit as he had been given a mandate to impact lives.
He said, “Really I actually planned on getting into the legislative arm of government but I realized there’s a lot more you can do to impact the lives of people in an executive role. So I decided to start from the grass root.
“The Holy Spirit led me to run as I was made to understand that all the experience I’ve gathered over the years is so I can affect people’s lives positively.”
Highlighting some of his plans for the local government if he is elected, Dayo promised to revamp the community library which has been left ill equipped for a long time. He also promised to work on turning the library into a hub for graphic designers and other related art in addition to resuscitating the already defunct place of learning.
Dayo Israel, believes that every Nigerian youth has to be on the lookout for opportunities and be ready to maximize them to achieve full potential.
He said, “I believe that everything that we have achieved in life is to the glory of god. In my short years of living so far, I’ve been privileged to have been able to do a lot of things in my growing up years which I believe is a matter of opportunities that anyone can get.
“I’ve been able to maximize opportunities given. For example, I had the privilege of becoming the first deputy senate president of the Nigerian children’s parliament and through that I was able to push for the passage of the child rights act bill into law in partnership with the other children parliamentarian.”
Furthermore, he spoke more of his work in diaspora after leaving the shores of Nigeria for England.
“I moved into England and worked on my Advocacy with African diaspora youths. I worked with a charity called Africans Unite Against Child Abuse and one of the things I did was create a voice and an opportunity for young Africans in diaspora to be celebrated and to be supported.
“I worked on a project which led to the launch of the African Youth Forum that focused on supporting newly arrived African immigrants into the United Kingdom. We were providing help for young Africans who had just come into the UK helping them to acclimatize to the new culture and environment.”
For his effort in youth development, Dayo became the first and only young African to be awarded the PEWA (Persons Earnestly Working for Africa) award. He was presented with the award in a short ceremony in the office of the Mayor of London.
Dayo has worked for the United Nations in different capacities at different times. He led the Nigerian children delegation to the New York in 2002 where he met with the late Nelson Mandela.
He was also live on CNN for one hour speaking on behalf of all the children of the world from over 170 nations.
Dayo was also a finalist for the Future Awards Young Person of the Year alongside Genevieve Nnaji and D’banj in 2007.
In 2004, he hosted the United Nations Young General Assembly Session in Nigeria which brought together 156 young people from all over the world even as he was also a part of the UN World Summit On Sustainable Development in Johannesburg.
Dayo Israel told YNaija even though he is into politics he does not have a godfather.
He said, “I am supported by God the Father and the youths of my generation. We don’t need a god father to rise and deliver value to our people. Nigeria belongs to all of us. I want to inspire more young people to stop complaining and stand up.”
Dayo, who also worked as Senior Special Assistant to chairman senate committee on Road as well as the Director of Africa at the Commonwealth Africa Initiative revealed that his campaign would be funded from personal funds as well as public donations.
He said, “Personally and through the support of friends and loved ones and most importantly divine provision. I already created a gofundme account on www.gofundme.com/dayoisrael to promote the cause.”