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HND as Minimum Qualification for President, Govs Passes Second Reading

HND as Minimum Qualification for President, Govs Passes Second Reading

BY: Mercy Ombu

On Thursday, March 12th 2020, a Constitution amendment bill that proposes Higher National Diploma (HND) as the minimum qualification for citizens seeking to contest the office of the National President or State Governor has passed second reading on the floor of the senate.

The bill also seeks that any intending member contesting for the House of Representative and the Senate must have at least the Ordinary National Diploma (OND) as the minimum qualification.

A member of the Peoples Democratic Party from Plateau State, Istifanus Gyang sponsored the bill which is one of the ten Constitutional amendments bill read for the second time on Thursday, March 12th. The bills were mentioned to the Senate Committee on Constitution review for more advance legislative work.

The bill seeks to alter the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to provide for the amendment of Sections 65(2) (a), 131(d), 106(c), and Sections 177(d) which say “A person shall qualify for election if he has been educated up to at least School Certification level”. This included the Governors, President and their deputies.

However, in the present amendments, those seeking election as President, State Governors, Senators, House of Representatives and State House of Assembly must possess the new minimum educational qualifications.

The bill is requesting the alteration of section 65 (2) (a) of the Constitution which says with the qualifications for the intending members of the National Assembly.

The current law which the bill seeks to amend stated that “ A person shall be qualified for election under subsection (1) of this section if he has been educated up to at least School Certification level or its equivalent.”

Section 65 (2) (a) is now being rephrased to state that “If he has been educated to at least a Higher National Diploma level or its equivalent.”

The bill also request to alter Section 131(d) of the 1999 Constitution which states that “A person shall be qualified for election to the office of the President and the Deputy if he has been educated up to at least School Certificate level or its equivalent.”

Section 131(d) is now also rephrased to state that “If he has been educated to at least Higher National Diploma level or its equivalent.”

For the House of Assembly, the bill seeks to alter Section 106(c) of the Constitution.

What the Current Law Allows

According to the current law, anyone intending to be a member of the House of Assembly must have “been educated up to at least the School Certification level or its equivalent.”

However, it is now rephrased to state that “If he has been educated up to the National Diploma level or its equivalent.”

For the State Governorship candidates, the bill seeks to alter Section 177(d) of the Constitution which currently states that “A person shall be qualified for election to the office of Governor of a State if he has been educated up to at least School Certificate level or its equivalent.”

It is now rephrased to state that “If he has been educated up to at least the Higher National Diploma level or its equivalent.”

Many analysts considered this as a welcome development in the nation where many policymakers have been accused of forging certificates as well as not having the right qualifications.