eek into the qualification details of the members of the National Assembly by Daily Trust on Sunday reveals that a staggering number of the parliamentarians got elected with Ordinary Level certificates during the 2015 general elections, a development that leaves doubts on the capacity and quality of legislation in the 8th National Assembly.
A total of 45 federal lawmakers who got elected into the Nigerian parliament during the 2015 general elections to represent their various constituencies across the country were inaugurated into both chambers of the National Assembly with either Secondary School Certificates or Grade-II Teachers’ Certificates as their highest educational qualification, investigations by Daily Trust on Sunday has revealed.
Details of this, which was obtained after a scrutiny of the list of elected National Assembly members in the 2015 general elections as contained on the official website of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), has left analysts expressing fears over the impact of such on the quality of legislation, especially in view of the fact that most of them are first-timers with little or no experience as it relates to debates, initiation of bills and motions.
Nigeria’s National Assembly comprises 109 senators in the Upper Chamber (Senate) and 306 representatives in the Lower Chamber (House of Representatives), but observers say most of them in the current Eighth Assembly are hardly seen taking an active part in proceedings. A check of the list from INEC website showed that 40 of the affected federal lawmakers, representing 11 per cent of the members, were elected to the House of Representatives while five got elected into the Senate.
The lists are separately titled: “Independent National Electoral Commission 2015 updated-elected Reps” and “Independent National Electoral Commission 2015 updated-elected Senators.” They are displayed on Microsoft spreadsheet in different columns indicating: state, constituency, name of candidate, sex, party, age and qualification of each member as at the time of the election.
While 28 of them were elected on the platform of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), 21 others got elected on the tickets of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), with their qualification details indicating that they either possessed the West African School Certificate (WASC), Senior School Certificate Examination (SSCE), West African Examination Certificate (WAEC), General Certificate of Education (GCE) or Teachers’ Grade-II Certificate.
Although the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria provides for the possession of a School Certificate or its equivalent as the minimum requirement for election into the Senate and the House of Representatives, many critics have called for an upward review, saying the business of lawmaking, especially at the federal level, was a serious one that requires not only experience but a higher level of educational attainment.
Going by the 2015 elected National Assembly members list on the INEC website, an average of two representatives from each of the federal constituency in the country from the various zones got elected with Ordinary Level certificates.
Low qualification by zones
The list shows that the North-West zone comprising Kaduna, Kano, Sokoto, Kebbi, Zamfara, Katsina and Jigawa states, has the highest number of Rep members with low academic qualifications, totaling 11. Three representatives from the zone with the lowest qualifications are from Jigawa State, namely: the member representing Hadeja/Kafin Hausa/Auyo in Jigawa State, Usman Ibrahim Auyo (Grade II), member representing Kazaure federal constituency, Muhammed Gudaji Kazaure (SSCE) and the member representing Miga/Jahun, Hon. Saidu Yusuf Miga (Grade-II).
Three other representatives from the North-West with similar qualifications are from Kaduna State, namely: the member representing Kachia/Kagarko, Jagaba Adams Jagaba (WASC), member representing Kaduna South, Rufai Ahmed Chanchangi (WASC), and the member representing Ikara/Kubau, Yusuf Bala (WAEC).
Also from the North-West are three reps from Sokoto State and one from Kebbi. Those from Sokoto include the member representing Kware/Wammako, Abdullahi M. Wammako (Grade-II), member representing D-Shuni/Bodinga/Tureta, Aliyu Shehu A.A. (WASC) and the member representing Binji Silame, Saadu M. Nabunkari (WASC), while the only member from Kebbi State is Salisu Garba Koko, representing Koko/Besse/Maiyama (Grade-II).
The North-Central has the second highest number, with nine representatives who were elected with lower qualifications during the 2015 elections. Out of this number, three are from Niger State, namely: the member representing Wushishi/Mashe/Gukgora/Miriga, Garba Abdullahi (WAEC), member representing Gbako/Bida/Katcha, Muhammadu Bida Faruq (GCE) and the member representing Mokwa/Lavun/ Edati, Ahmed Abu (SSCE). Two are from Benue State while one each represents Kwara and Plateau states, respectively. Those from Benue include the member representing Ado/Okpokwu/Ogbadibo, Christian Adaba Abah (GCE) and the member representing Makurdi/Guma, Dickson Dominic T. (GCE), while Plateau and Kwara have the member representing Jos North, Suleiman Yahaya Kwande (WASC), as well as the one representing Ifelodun/Ifa, Olayonu Olarinoye Tope (Grade-II).
The North-East has representatives in this category from Borno, Bauchi, Taraba and Yobe states. The only member from Borno is the one representing Maiduguri Metropolitan, Abdulkadiri Rahis (SSCE). In Bauchi, the member representing Torro federal constituency, Lawal Yahaya Gamau (WASC) also falls in the list. The same is the case of the member representing Darazo/Ganjuwa, Haliru Dauda Jika who has a WASC, while Taraba has the member representing Ardo Kola/Lau/Karim Lamido, Baido Danladi Tijos parading WASC and the member representing Bali/Gassol, Garba Hamman-Julde Chede having a Grade-II. Yobe State has the member representing Nangere/Potiskum, Alhaji Sabo Garba with WASC.
The South-West and South-South zones also have five federal lawmakers each that were elected during the 2015 elections with the minimum qualification requirement. Lagos State has five federal lawmakers who make the list in the South-West, namely: the member representing Shomolu, Diya Oyewole (WAEC), member representing Oshodi/Isolo-I, Shadimu Mutiu A. (WASC), member representing Oshodi/Isolo-II, Nwulu Tony Chinelu (WASC) and the member representing Agege, Adaranijo Taofeek Abiodun (WAEC).
The South-South has one member each from Rivers, Edo and Cross Rivers states while two are from Delta State. Rivers State has the member representing Akoku-Toru, Boma Godhead (SSCE), Edo has the member representing Egor Ikpoba, Johnson E. Agbonayinma (SSCE), while Dalta has the member representing Bomadi/Pantani, Nicholas Mutu Egbomo (WAEC), and the member representing Isoko North/Isoko South, Leonard O. Ogor (WAEC).
The South-East has the least in this category with one representative each from Imo and Ebonyi states, namely: the member representing Ahiazu/Mbaise, Raphael Uzodi Igbokwe (WAEC) and the member representing Ebonyi/Ohaukwu, Nwazunku Chukuma (WASC).
The senators found in this category are: the senator representing Adamawa North, Binta Masi Garba (GCE); Adamawa Central, Abdulazeez Murtala Nyako (GCE); Bayelsa West, Ogola Foster (TC-II) and the senator representing Imo West, Uzodinma Good Hope (WAEC).