Senate okays HND as minimum qualification for president, governor

A bill that proposes Higher National Diploma (HND) as the minimum qualification for citizens seeking to be president or governor, passed second reading in the Senate on Thursday.

The bill also seeks to make the Ordinary National Diploma (OND) the minimum qualification for contesting for state and federal legislative seats.

The bill, sponsored by Istifanus Gyang (PDP, Plateau), is one of the ten constitutional amendment bills read for the second time Thursday. The bills were referred to the Senate committee on constitution review for further 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), Section 106 (c) and Section 177 (d) on minimum educational qualification for those seeking election as state or federal lawmakers, as well as governors, president and their deputies.

In the proposed amendments, those seeking to be president, governors, senators, members of the House of Representatives and members of State Houses of Assembly, must possess new minimum educational qualifications.

“The Constitution of The Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (in this Bill referred to as “the Principal Act”) is altered as set out in the Bill,” part of the proposed amendments reads.

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

The existing law, which the bill seeks to amend, reads: “A person shall be qualified for election under subsection (1) of this section if he has been educated up to at least School Certificate level or its equivalent.

Section 65 (2) (a) is now rephrased to read “if he has been educated to at least National Diploma level or its equivalent.”

The bill also seeks to alter Section 131(d) which states that a presidential candidate and the deputy must have “been educated up to at least School Certificate level or its equivalent.”

The amendment is now rephrased to read: “He has been educated up to at least HND level or’ its equivalent.”

For House of Assembly, the bill seeks the alteration of section 106 (c) of the Constitution.

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

It is, however, now rephrased to read: “If he has been educated up to National Diploma level or its equivalent.”

For governorship candidates, the bill seeks the alteration of section 177 (d) of the Constitution which currently states that the person must have “been educated up to at least School Certificate level or its equivalent.”

It is now rephrased to read: “If he has been educated up to at least Higher National Diploma Level or its equivalent.”

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