Nigerian lawmakers on Tuesday rejected a bill seeking to amend the constitution to increase the education qualifications required to contest for the office of the president, governors and legislative offices to a university degree.
The bill sponsored by Deputy Chief Whip and member representing Remo Federal Constituency of Lagos, Adewunmi Oriyomi Onanuga, popularly known as Ijaya, was opposed by some lawmakers, who insisted that education qualifications do not determine leadership quality.
The bill which was debated for over two hours on Tuesday, at the plenary was stepped down by the force of majeure, Daily Post reports.
Onanuga, who led the debate argued that leaving education qualifications at the secondary school certificate level is inadequate for the country while advocating for an upward revision to a minimum of a university degree for all elective positions.
“Are we saying our students have no reasoning?” she questioned during her lead debate.
Supporting the bill, Babajimi Benson emphasised that it was overdue, saying, “I sponsored the same bill in the last assembly. It is what the House should support. Anyone opposed to this bill should be asked if their children are not in universities.”
Six other lawmakers, including Minority Leader, Kingsley Chinda, Majority Leader Julius Ihonvbere, and Leke Abejide, also spoke in favour of the bill.
Chinda argued that since primary school certificates are insufficient for private employment, they should not be deemed acceptable for public offices.
Abejide expressed concern about the current situation, saying, “We cannot have mediocrity in running the affairs in a nation or a country. It is very dangerous.”
According to Daily Post, seven lawmakers opposed the bill.
Ahmed Jaha from Borno State, in his opposition to the bill, categorically stated that certification does not equate to wisdom and urged colleagues to maintain the current constitutional requirements.
On his part, Aliyu Madaki, while opposing the bill, insisted that education qualifications do not determine leadership quality. “Your leadership quality is not determined by education,” he said.
On account of the growing opposition, the initiator of the bill announced its withdrawal to allow more consultations if need be.