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Reps step down bill to make degree compulsory for president, govs

The House of Representatives at the plenary on Tuesday stepped down a bill seeking to make a degree or its equivalent the minimum qualification for…

The House of Representatives at the plenary on Tuesday stepped down a bill seeking to make a degree or its equivalent the minimum qualification for anyone vying for the position of president, vice president, governor and other political offices.

The bill, which was sponsored by Adewunmi Onanuga (APC, Ogun) was titled, “A Bill for an Act to Alter the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) to Change the Educational Qualification for Elections into Certain Political Offices and for Related Matters”. 

The bill, slated for second reading, was rejected after a lengthy debate on its merits and demerits.

Onanuga said the bill seeks to add value to the political leadership in the country by having people with a degree as a minimum qualification to hold political office.

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Supporting the bill, Babajimi Benson (APC, Lagos) said it was unbelievable that some lawmakers would oppose a bill that encourages people to seek education.

The House Leader, Prof. Julius Ihonvbere, the Minority Leader, Kingsley Chinda (PDP, Rivers) as well as Leke Abejide (ADP, Kogi) and Alfred Iliya (LP, Plateau) equally supported the bill.

On the other hand, some lawmakers opposed the bill saying that higher qualifications should not be used as a yardstick for people vying for political offices, especially at the grassroots.

Speaking against the bill, Aliyu Sani Madaki (NNPP, Kano) said leadership quality is not measured by level of education in any way.

He argued that the status quo should remain as making it higher will push people out of contesting for political offices even if they have a lower qualification and good leadership qualities.

Also, Bashir Usman (PDP, Sokoto), Ahmed Jaha Babawo (APC, Borno), Kabiru Ahmadu (PDP, Zamfara), Lawan Shettima Ali (APC, Yobe) opposed the bill.

Ahmadu argued that education varies and that some people may not be knowledgeable in the sense of Western education but have good leadership qualities and cannot be denied the chance to participate in democracy.

In his ruling after the debate, the Deputy Speaker, Benjamin Kalu, who presided over the plenary, said looking at the circumstances and the inclination of members of the House, the bill be stepped down, and the House accepted.

 

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