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Lawmakers reject bill seeking to raise educational qualifications of president, governors, others

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Lawmakers reject bill seeking to raise educational qualifications of president, governors, others

Nigerian lawmakers have rejected a bill that aimed to amend the constitution and raise the educational qualifications required for individuals contesting for key political offices.

The bill, sponsored by Deputy Chief Whip and Lagos Representative, Adewunmi Oriyomi Onanuga (popularly known as Ijaya), sought to elevate the minimum qualification from a secondary school certificate to a university degree for presidential, gubernatorial, and legislative positions. The contentious debate lasted for over two hours during the plenary session on Tuesday.

Some lawmakers vehemently opposed the bill, stating that educational qualifications should not be the sole determinant of leadership quality.

Despite the spirited discussion, the bill was eventually stepped down due to unforeseen circumstances.

Onanuga, the bill’s proponent, argued that relying on secondary school certificates as the baseline requirement was insufficient for the nation. He advocated for raising the bar by mandating a university degree or its equivalent for all elective positions.

His proposal aimed to align Nigeria with modern standards and recognise the importance of education in effective governance. Several other lawmakers expressed their views during the debate.

Honourable Babajimi Benson (APC-Ogun) supported the bill, pointing out the absurdity of having leaders without formal education. Benson said: “I can’t believe that in this modern age, some people will say, ‘Don’t go to school, yet go and be president.”

Honourable Julius Ihonvbare (APC-Edo) upheld the power of knowledge and suggested that while local government positions might not require a degree, national leadership roles should demand it.

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While Honourable Leke Abejide (ADC-Kogi) urged Nigeria not to lag behind the world, emphasizing that mediocre leadership could lead to disaster.

Honourable Alfred Iliah (APC-Jos) stressed that educational qualifications were the foundation of any society’s progress and called for scrutiny of National Assembly members’ credentials.

On his part, Honourable Mustapha Aliyu (APC-Sokoto) supported the bill but suggested a gradual transition from school leaving certificates to degrees.

And Honourable Kingsley Chinda (PDP-Rivers) echoed the need for educational standards, lamenting the decline in education quality.

However, Malam Aliyu Madaki (NNPP-Kano) offered a different perspective, arguing that leadership quality should not be solely tied to formal education.

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