Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila, has on Monday in Lagos disclosed that the House is set to increase the educational qualification for anyone vying for the office of the president of Nigeria.
Stating this ahead of the 2023 general elections, Gbajabiamila stressed the need for the National Assembly (NASS) 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.
The Speaker, who was a guest lecturer on Monday at the 52nd Convocation Lecture of the University of Lagos (UNILAG), said there is also a need to increase the minimum educational qualification for other top offices including the National Assembly as against the current minimum requirement of a Secondary School Certificate or its equivalent.
“This provision is a product of a different time and reflect the reality of that time. It is time to take another look at the provision. Let us lift our gaze from considerations of small things to focus on the pursuit and achievement of grand ambitions that lift us all and save the future. Let us raise a generation in whose hearts the light of understanding is lit and cannot be put out,”
While he recalled that prior to the 2019 elections, the constitution was successfully amended to effect the ‘Not too young to Run’ request and ensure the eligibility of young people to aspire to high offices; he expressed that towards the 2023 elections, a Direct Primary election method will increase greater participation in the leadership recruitment process.
Delivering the lecture titled, ‘Building Back Better: Creating a New Framework for Tertiary Education in Nigeria in the 21st Century, the Speaker submitted that a good education produces citizens invested in the progress and wellbeing of their society and who have the wherewithal to take positive action to make those societies better.
“The well-educated citizen in this paradigm understands his society, think logically about its problems without being overwhelmed by half-truths, prejudices and propaganda and is therefore, able to make informed and valid contributions to the administration and progress of that society,”
“When we think about education policy, when we consider laws and implement directives relating to education in our country, particularly tertiary education, our highest objectives must be to deliver an education system capable of producing thus the archetype of an individual.”
Commenting on the issue of how tertiary education in Nigeria is being financed; he emphasised that building the kind of institutions needed and desired requires significant investments.
He further pointed out that the current approach is neither adequate nor sustainable as it heavily depends on subventions from the Federal and state governments.
“Nigeria must therefore agree to use the instruments of policy and legislation to advance a new framework for funding tertiary education in Nigeria; noting that the new system should ideally provide funding for all students who qualify so that that burden of school fees and living expenses can be deferred and paid over a period.”
He added that it must also ensure that the institutions themselves get paid for their services so that resources are available to operate effectively.