LAWMAKERS in Nigeria’s Federal House of Representatives have begun debating a new bill that will raise the minimum academic requirements for candidates seeking to get elected as governors and the president to a first degree.
At the moment, the minimum academic qualification to run for president or governor is O’Levels or any equivalent school leaving certificate. Lawmakers are now planning to raise this to first degrees in the form of Bachelors of Science or Art or Higher National Diploma (HND) for both offices.
In addition, he House is also seeking to pass a law that would make justiciable, the lack of social infrastructure, such as health facilities, good roads, water and schools. This will mean that citizens can have the right to take government to court in breach of the laws.
To this end, two bills are currently before the House waiting for a debate on the issues soon, having been respectively read for the first time. Essentially, the bills sponsored by Hon Ben Rollands Igbakpa representing Ethiope Federal Constituency of Delta State are seeking alterations of the 1999 constitution.
Hon Igbakpa said the government needed to be held responsible through a court action, especially when it reneged on its promises or abdicated on its responsibility. He added that the era of possessing only a school certificate to run for exalted offices was gone.
“This bill seeks to alter section 6 (6)(c) of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 in order to make the fundamental objectives and directives principles of the state policy under chapter 11 of the 1999 constitution justiciable so that citizens can begin to approach the courts whenever there is a breach of those sections. Like now, it is the right of every child, according to the Universal Basic Education, to be educated but if children are not educated in areas that government cannot provide education, you cannot take the government to court.
“When they are unable to provide security for the people, the people cannot also take government to court. There are basic necessities of life such as shelter, food, education, security. We deserve water, clean environment, good roads, quality health but the government cannot provide them and because it is not justiciable, you cannot sue the government,” Hon Igbakpa added.