By Gabriel Dike
Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, yesterday, called for amendment of Section 131 (d) of the 1999 Constitution to review the educational qualifications of politicians aspiring for president, governor and other elective positions.
While delivering the 52nd convocation lecture of the University of Lagos, Akoka, he urged the National Assembly to review Section 131 (d) as regard minimum educational qualification.
He spoke on the topic: “Building Back Better: Creating a new Framework for Tertiary Education in Nigeria in the 21st century.’’
The event chaired by Justice Amina Augie, Justice of Supreme Court attracted the Ogun State Deputy Governor, Noimot Salako-Oyedele, former Lagos State deputy governor, Femi Pedro, some members of the House of Representatives, UNILAG Pro-Chancellor, Lanre Tejuosho, local government chairmen and heads of tertiary institutions.
Gbajabiamila said: “I sincerely believe the National Assembly needs 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 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 qualification requirement. It will be another step in reforming our electoral system and providing strong leadership for the country.
“The country is faced with yet another election in 2023. Prior to the 2019 elections, we succeeded in amending the constitution to effect the ‘Not too young to run’ request and ensure the eligibility of young people to aspire to high offices in the land by reducing the eligible age for political offices.’’
Gbajabiamila said towards the 2023 elections, the National Assembly hoped that a direct primary method would increase greater participation in the leadership recruitment process.
The speaker also called for a review of the nation’s education curriculum to situate practices in the context of global labour needs.
“Tertiary institutions in Nigeria need to develop a new understanding of the changing nature of work and the future of employment and allow this new understanding to inform the nature of instruction and the substance of the education they provide,’’ he said.
The Vice Chancellor, Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, said the convocation lecture is an important aspect of the ceremonies as it affords the university an opportunity of inviting an eminently qualified individual as guest lecturer to address any national or international issue of concern.