Last week, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, called for a review of the academic qualification for presidential aspirants, and others seeking top elective positions.
Gbajabiamila’s call has stirred conversations, and raised eyebrows in different circles.
We did pick two other engaging stories that made the rounds at the National Assembly (NASS), in the week in review.
On January 17, the Hon. Speaker, while delivering a convocation lecture at the University of Lagos (UNILAG), Akoka, Lagos, said: “I also sincerely believe that 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 Presidents of Nigeria and other top offices, including the National Assembly, as against the current minimum requirement of a Secondary School Certificate or its equivalent.”
Gbajabiamila’s call cannot be faulted. Capacity and competence have remained twin issues bothering leadership in Nigeria. This is as politicians of dubious educational backgrounds throng the country and seize the reins of power.
Indeed, many have wondered why it took the Speaker so long to come to a full realization of the dangerous gaps in required competency areas. He had kept mum when President Muhammadu Buhari’s WAEC certificate issue heated up the polity, and almost got the country torn into shreds.
All said, it is not too late to act. Will Gbajabiamila exhibit uncommon leadership by initiating the process for the amendment of the Section 131 (d) before the contest for the Presidency heats up in 2023? If he fails, his depositions would simply amount to dancing to the gallery.
NASS MEMORY LANE
“Our Caucus is deeply saddened that in the last six years, Nigerians are not able to afford the basic necessities of life and have been marking major festivities in tears, despair, and utter hopelessness due to the oppression, corruption and cluelessness of the All Progressives Congress (APC)”
Answer: See end of post
Two other stories
Igbo presidency saga
Senate Chief Whip, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu, on January 19, argued that a President of Igbo extraction was overdue.
Speaking with National Assembly correspondents in Abuja, he said: “I don’t believe in an Igbo presidency. I believe in a Nigerian President of Igbo extraction. It is overdue. I believe that we should produce the next President and it is going to happen. I don’t need to push. I have to push along with other regions.”
Kalu’s position could be situated within the prism of the decades of advocacy for a President of Igbo extraction.
It is worthy of note that the Senator admits the complexities of the struggle for state capture. As many have argued, the region appears not to have played the right politics but is politics not about independent choices?
It would be interesting to see how the battle for the exalted position plays out in the face of growing concerns that a power shift to the southeast would further arm secessionist elements to accomplish their goals.
Is Kalu building on quicksands? Time will tell.
178,459 missing firearms
On January 20, the House of Representatives resolved to investigate the alleged missing 178,459 arms and ammunition in the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) as contained in the 2019 report of the Auditor General of the Federation.
This was sequel to the adoption of a motion on matters of urgent public importance by the Deputy Minority Leader, Hon. Toby Okechukwu at a plenary.
While moving the motion, Okechukwu revealed that a total number of lost firearms as of December 2018 stood at 178,459 pieces
“Out of this number 88,078 were AK-47 rifles, 3,907 assorted rifles and pistols across different police formations, which could not be accounted for as of January 2020,” he added.
Though insinuations are rife that this scandal may not be unconnected with the country’s growing security challenges, the legislature must acquit itself well on this particular probe, as public perception is that it hardly does a decent job of its various oversight functions.
This is one issue that must not be swept under the carpet.
Answer: Hon. Ndudi Elumelu
Elumelu made the statement, on December 24, 2021, on behalf of the Minority Caucus of the House of Representatives. He is the Minority Leader in the House of Representatives. He represents Aniocha/Oshimili Federal Constituency.
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