Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, has called for the amendment of Section 131 (d) of the 1999 Constitution to raise the minimum requirements for persons seeking elective public offices.
The speaker argued that the possession of a secondary school certificate or its equivalent by persons seeking election into public offices is no longer in tandem with the realities of today’s world.
According to him, the provision contained in the constitution was a product of a different time and not a reflection of the demands of today.
The Speaker made this known on Monday while delivering the 52nd Convocation Lecture of the University of Lagos, UNILAG.
The lecture is titled, ” Building back better: Creating a new framework for tertiary education in Nigeria in the 21st Century.”
He said, “The National Assembly needs to look into Section 131 (d) of the 1999 Constitution to increase the minimum educational qualification for persons aspiring to be future President 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 requirements. It will be another step in reforming our electoral system and providing strong leadership for the country. Let us lift our gaze from consideration of small things to focus on the pursuit and achievement of grand ambitions that lift us all and save the future.
“Through our joint efforts, let us raise a generation in whose hearts the light of understanding is lit and cannot be put out, who possess both the zeal and the passion for defeating the tranny of low expectations and making good the life of man here on Earth.”
As touching the controversy trailing the adoption of direct primaries for choosing parties’ candidates for elections, Gbajabiamila opined that it was the best for the country.
“The country is faced with yet another general election in 2023, before the 2019 general elections, we succeeded in amending the constitution to effect the “Not too Young to Rule” request and ensure the eligibility of young people to aspire to high offices in the land by reducing the eligible age for political offices.
Towards the 2023 elections, it was my hope that a Direct Primary election method will increase greater participation in the leadership recruitment process. I believe it would afford party members to be part of the process directly,” he said.