The bill to raise the educational qualification for election into the office of the president has passed its first reading in the House of Representatives.
The proposed legislation also aims to increase the academic requirements for governors, state legislators, and federal legislators.
Sections 65, 106, 131 and 177 of the 1999 constitution states that a person must be qualified for election into the aforementioned elective offices if he/she “has been educated up to at least School Certificate level or its equivalent”.
But the new bill which is sponsored by Adewunmi Onanuga, a lawmaker from Ogun state, seeks to raise the qualification to at least a “university degree level or its equivalent”.
The incident comes only days after Speaker of the House Femi Gbajabiamila stated that the constitution should be amended to strengthen the academic qualification for elective seats.
“I also sincerely believe that the national assembly needs to look into section 131 (d) of the 1999 constitution with a view to increasing the minimum educational qualification for persons aspiring to be future presidents of Nigeria and other top offices including the national assembly as against the current minimum requirement of a secondary school certificate or its equivalent.
“As we have reduced the age for eligibility to contest those offices, so also, we should increase the minimum educational requirement. It will be another step in reforming our electoral system and providing strong leadership for the country” Gbajabiamila had stated.
Section 9 (2) of the constitution states that “an Act of the National Assembly for the alteration of this Constitution, not being an Act to which section 8 of this Constitution applies, shall not be passed in either House of the National Assembly unless the proposal is supported by the votes of not less than two-thirds majority of all the members of that House and approved by resolution of the Houses of Assembly of not less than two-thirds of all the States”