I believe that having a minimum of West African School Certificate or its equivalent is important. It is not good to have people who do not possess a serious educational qualification at the helms of affairs. This is because with education comes knowledge and for you to be a leader and to be able to govern well, you need to have at least, a basic educational qualification.
Our constitution talks about having a school certificate but the problem is that it does not say whether it has to be school certificate pass or failure. I think that there is a need to tinker with that. You must have at least the minimum requirement of maybe, five credit passes at the school certificate level before you can aspire to hold political office either as an appointee or as an elected person.
Education is very important in leadership because education brings knowledge. With education comes knowledge. If you do not have knowledge, how can you be a leader, especially in these times when you need to relate with other leaders across the globe and you need to discuss issues that have international implications? You need to know a little bit of economics, politics and law. As a leader, you are an administrator. So, if you do not have education, how can you couple your subordinates together? I believe that having the right educational qualification is very important.
Those who do not have at least school certificate pass or credit and aspire to be leaders should go back to school. People should not vote in individuals who do not have the minimum educational requirement. People for public offices must have at least passed school certificate. • Mohammed Akanbi (A Senior Advocate of Nigeria)
If you look at the happenings in our politics today, one will not argue against the fact that educational requirements for those seeking elective positions in Nigeria should be made compulsory.
Most people seeking elective positions in Nigeria today do not have the basic educational requirements. When you look at what is obtainable in western countries for those seeking elective positions, you will know that Nigeria is far behind and that is why we are yet to produce outstanding technocrats as presidents and governors. Only 50 per cent of Nigerian politicians today can boast of having the required educational qualification of the office they are presently occupying.
The constitution should be revisited. Anyone seeking or vying for a position of a local government chairman should have a minimum educational qualification of either a diploma or an OND.
Those seeking for or vying for the position of governor, State House of Assembly and National Assembly members should have at least graduate or postgraduate degrees.
Same applies for those gunning for the presidential position. But what you find today is alarming. Most people at the helms of affairs do not have the basic educational requirements. Sometime ago, a sitting governor in one of the South-South states was taken to court because he neither attended a primary school nor had the school leaving certificate.
There are many such cases. Most recently, a candidate in the Osun governorship election was accused of not having the West Africa Examination Council certificate though WAEC came up to say he sat for its examination. Not too long ago, prior to the 2015 presidential election, the incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari was accused of not having the required educational qualifications. That has since been swept under the carpet.
If we make educational qualifications compulsory for those seeking elective position, then the dividends of democracy will start manifesting.
You will see politicians in parliament bringing up or sponsoring bills that will better the lot of average Nigerians; not what you see today that parliamentarians go to the parliament sleeping or seeking to introduce bills that will give them life pension after leaving the National Assembly.
You will see governors introducing policies that will make their states better and compete with their counterparts in other parts of the world. They will introduce policies that will bring about good governance. • Festus Onaghise (A Benin-based public administrator)
Well, we must start from what the Nigerian constitution stipulates. If the minimum qualifications are specified in the constitution, we should not put that aside.
But overtime, it has also been shown that there is no correlation between the level of education and the capacity to deliver the public good.
This is because it appears that with what we have seen in Nigeria, most of our educated elites are self-centred. They hardly look back to the society to address the needs of the people in a way that will be altruistic.
So, altruism is the bottom line of leadership and a clear ideological focus by those who are aspiring to lead us.
Education qualifications are specified in the constitution and we cannot wave them away, but education qualifications are not enough.
You don’t need a Doctor of Philosophy to know what is good for the society provided you are pro-people.
Nigeria is essentially a poor society and what we need to transform Nigeria are leaders who are pro-people; not individuals who use people to get what they want and throw them away. If you look at leaders like Balarabe Musa, you will drive into his house in Kaduna State without any gateman, I have been there. •Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi (President, Academic Staff Union of Universities)
A certificate is a symbol of educational achievement. However, the quality of a certificate determines the man or the woman.
In our environment, the unfortunate thing is that because the certificate is indispensible to climb the ladder, people have discovered ways of either faking the certificate or forging it because the constitution says you must have a minimum of educational qualification to get to power.
So, the political class has developed all kinds of dishonest means to obtain these certificates.
If a forensic audit is undertaken as regards those in the executive and in our various Houses of Assembly or our political elite generally, you will discover that many of them have fraudulent certificates.
There is a need for a national redemption of our educational system, we must go back to the basic principles of education which simply means that this nation shall invest in education and vocational training for us to become part of the 21st century.
This is when the certificates being paraded will be worth the paper they are printed on. We need to move with the times for sure but this must be done properly.
The purpose of possessing a certificate to be presented for electoral office will be defeated if such certificates are either fake or paid for. We cannot continue to deceive ourselves, a lot needs to change for us to proceed, it is that simple. •Prof. Tunde Fatunde (Department of French Studies, Lagos State University, Ojo)
I am sure those who wrote our constitution took into account Nigeria’s diversity and peculiarities. First, I will say we must respect the provisions of our constitution and I think most of us agree that not everything is taught within the four walls of the university or polytechnic.
There are great leaders who become great not because of the degrees they posses, but because of a combination of the gift from the Almighty God and leadership skills they learnt in the course of their journey through life.
This is not to say we cannot make adjustments to the basic education requirements for leadership positions because times are changing and we need to change with the times.