Nigeria House of Representatives is at the edge of enacting a law that would make first degrees in form of Bachelors of Science/Art (B.SC/B.A) or Higher National Diploma (HND) as minimum qualifications for election into the offices of president and governors.

Also, a bill that would give citizens the right to take the government to court for breach of chapter two of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) is before the house.

According to the second bill, citizens would be able to sue the government for lack of social infrastructures, such as health facilities, good roads, water, schools, among others as enshrined in the constitution.

These two bills which have been respectively read for the first time and are currently waiting for a debate on the issues are seeking alterations of the 1999 constitution (as amended) to provide for the new laws.

The two bills were sponsored by Ben Rollands Igbakpa representing the Ethiope Federal Constituency of Delta State.

The first bill is titled “A Bill for An Act to Alter the Provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 and for Related Matters/Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (Fourth Alteration) Bill, 2020 (Increasing the Minimum Educational Qualification for President and Governors)”, while the second is tagged “A Bill for An Act to Alter the Provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 and for Related Matters/Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (Fourth Alteration) Bill, 2020 (to make chapter 11 of the constitution justiciable.”

The first bill which is specifically demanding the alteration of Sections 131 and 177 of the 1999 Constitution stated that:

“Section 131 of the Principal Act is altered in subsection (1), paragraph (d) by inserting immediately after the word “at least”, the word “the first degree from a University or Polytechnic or its equivalent.”

“Section 177 of the Principal Act is altered in subsection (1), paragraph (d) by inserting immediately after the word “at least”, the word “the first degree from a University or Polytechnic or its equivalent.”

Meanwhile, Section 131(d) and 177(d) at the moment, respectively state that:
“A person shall be qualified for election to the office of the President if he has been educated up to at least School Certificate level or its equivalent.’’

“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.”

Igbakpa said good education acquired would enhance proper discretion to effectively run such offices and would also place Nigerian leaders at par with leaders all over the world.

The second bill proposes to make chapter 11 of the constitution justiciable by ensuring that Section 6 of the Principal Act is altered, in subsection (6), paragraph (c), first-line, by removing the word “not” immediately after “shall.”

Ibaka stated that the government needed to be held responsible through court action, especially when it breaks its promises or abandons its responsibilities.

According to him: “This bill seeks to alter section 6 (6)(c) of the constitution of the federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 in order to make the fundamental objectives and directives Principles of the State policy under chapter 11 of the 1999 Constitution justiciable so that citizens can begin to approach the courts whenever there is a breach of those sections.”

Aledeh