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  1. WITH the final elections now solely three weeks away,
    it appears altogether proper that the qualification of anybody aspiring to the workplace of President ought to agitate our minds.

    Besides that, within the sometimes Nigerian method, the agitation is overshadowed largely by politics,
    and isn’t specializing in the problem, so important to the nationwide curiosity,
    as to the qualification or qualities applicable in an individual to govern our
    affairs and our lives for 4 years, utilizing “qualification” within the sense outlined within the dictionary to imply “that which qualifies or suits an individual for any use or function, as for an workplace, or employment.”

    So outlined, it features a person’s background, antecedents, character, and
    many others.

    Amongst properly-knowledgeable Nigerians, it appears to be typically agreed that a primal cause for the lack of excellent governance within the
    nation is unhealthy management owing, in the primary, to poor and insufficient qualification and background prescribed by our Structure for the presidency.

    Want for, certainly the imperativeness of, a very good training and background required
    for presidential management

    The kind and high quality of presidential management referred to as for should be of the sort that enabled the United
    States to realize the objectives and functions of
    decolonisation at a corresponding interval of its historical past.

    The American Revolution was in a position to remodel American authorities, society, ethic,
    values and tradition partially due to the standard of the males
    who led it, the revolutionary leaders, in any other case known as the Founding Fathers; males like George Washington, first president, John Adams, second
    president, Thomas Jefferson, third president, James Madison,
    fourth president, Alexander Hamilton, Benjamin Franklin, to call solely the higher recognized amongst them.

    Besides George Washington, all three Presidents
    instantly after him have been good legal professionals and
    excellent intellectuals. (Thomas Jefferson, one in every of the best minds of his
    time, learn books in Greek and Latin and grappled with Euclidean issues in Arithmetic in his teenagers.
    His dwelling in Virginia, his bedroom, the
    mattress on which he slept, the clothes he wore are
    nonetheless preserved up until now. I drew a lot inspiration from
    being taken spherical that dwelling throughout my go to in 1987 to ship a Lecture on the bicentennial
    of the U.S. Structure.)

    The American revolutionary leaders have been described as “civic-minded philosopher statesmen,” an extraordinary galaxy of males of
    excellent character, good training, integrity, honesty and sincerity, with deep concern for the general public good and a scorn for

    They had been capable of implant in American society an enlightened ethic, ethos and values by means of the “brilliance of their thought, the creativity of their politics” and
    their extraordinary skill to mix “ideas and energy, intellectualism and politics” with out
    getting alienated from the folks and with out changing into obsessive about votes.

    As a result of they “saw themselves as a part of an natural social group linked by means of sturdy private connection to these under them,” they have been additionally in a position to take care of with the individuals an intimate relationship devoid of any emotions of

    They set themselves up within the function of educators of the individuals,
    “models or guides for citizens’ behaviour.” By means of their prodigious
    literary output — in pamphlets, broadside, articles in periodicals and newspapers,
    letters and speeches — they tried to mould requirements of opinions and behaviour.

    In distinction to the intellectualism and excessive academic qualification of the American Founding Fathers, which enabled them to offer the
    form of management the nation wanted to create a brand new society instead of the previous colonial society, the management accountable for the administration of affairs
    on the federal degree in Nigeria was characterised by mental poverty and academic inadequacy.

    Earlier than the arrival of Dr. Alex Ekwueme as Vice-President in October 1979, no Head of Authorities or his vice on the
    federal stage from Independence in October 1960 to 2007 has a college diploma
    (discounting the interim association below which Chief Ernest Shonekan,
    a graduate, dominated for a brief interval of
    some months in 1993.)

    None had due to this fact been uncovered to the psychological orientation, mental insights
    and educational affect of a college diploma programme. Not like their American counterparts on the corresponding interval
    of their country’s historical past, the Heads of Authorities and their vice on the federal stage in Nigeria lacked the mental capability, the
    tutorial qualification, the acuity of thoughts and the creativity of thought to mix
    “ideas and energy, intellectualism and politics” demanded
    by the challenges of decolonisation after independence from colonial rule.

    They’d little or no thought of the position, which their management required of them.

    Eight of the Heads of State/Heads of Authorities within the interval between January 1966 and
    will 1999 have been navy officers skilled in good army faculties or academies — Generals Aguiyi-Ironsi, Yakubu Gowon, Murtala Muhammed, Olusegun Obasanjo, Muhammadu Buhari,
    Ibrahim Babangida, Sani Abacha and Abdulsalami Abubakar.

    However while coaching or training in army colleges or academies is actually sufficient for the administration of navy affairs and relations amongst members of the navy, it doesn’t impart or inculcate the type of data, concepts, insights, orientation and perceptions wanted for the federal government of society as
    an entire.

    Our expertise of rule by navy males or retired navy males, particularly Basic Obasanjo’s rule as Head of the Federal Army Authorities (FMG) for 4 years (1976-seventy nine) and as civilian President for eight years
    (1999-2007) bears out indisputably that their navy coaching, profession and life spent in army barracks don’t equip
    them with the sort of imaginative and prescient, orientation,
    intellectualism, the sense of fairness, justice and impartiality wanted for the federal government of society below a system of constitutional democracy.

    Furthermore, the military’s regimented system
    of the giving of orders and unquestioning obedience of
    such orders inclines and acclimatizes them to absolutism and autocracy in authorities even below a
    structure as supreme legislation that limits governmental
    powers, as once more borne out by the autocratic private rule of Obasanjo as civilian President, in any other case described as “constitutional dictatiorship,” a seeming contradiction in phrases.
    Obasanjo merely aborted Nigeria’s transition to constitutional democracy.

    In addition to the dictatorial actions of Obasanjo as civilian President by which he aborted
    the country’s transition to constitutional democracy, different retired navy males have additionally, by their actions, retarded or undermined Nigeria’s experimentation with
    constitutional democracy.

    For instance, retired Common Muhammadu Buhari,
    former Head of the FMG, has been operating for the presidency at
    4 consecutive presidential elections in 2003, 2007, 2011 and 2015; David Mark,
    retired army officer and former minister within the army
    authorities, now president of the Senate successively for the previous eight years or so; retired Common T.Y.
    Danjuma, as minister of defence for some years underneath the civilian authorities of President Olusegun Obasanjo.

    Different excessive-rating retired navy officers previously in authorities in the course of the interval of the army regime proceed, after the 1999
    democratic transition, to affect authorities
    insurance policies and to train affect in different areas of authorities.

    Certainly, it’s they, along with different reactionary oligarchic components opposed to democratic rule, notably the Caliphate in Northern Nigeria and its
    brokers, who manipulate governmental affairs, unseen, from behind the scene; the group constitutes what is thought because
    the “invisible government” of Nigeria.

    Nigeria should be one of many few democracies on the earth, outdoors Africa,
    the place retired army officers, with oligarchic outlook and curiosity, wield
    such nice affect in authorities in addition to
    within the political course of after transition to democratic rule.
    This clearly augurs in poor health for democracy within the nation.

    The nation deserves to be left alone to pursue its experimentation with constitutional democracy with out
    the retarding affect of retired army males.

    Apparently, one among our former army rulers, Gen. Yakubu Gowon, on his ouster from energy in 1975 after a 9-yr rule, with a view to widen his insights and deepen his intellectuality,
    enrolled as a political science scholar on the College of
    Warwick, England, bagging a Ph.D at the top of it.

    One other considered one of them, Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo, after eight years in workplace as civilian President (discounting his earlier 4 years as army Head
    of State and Authorities) enrolled within the Open College for a diploma
    course (not diploma course), not a course in Regulation, Political Science or Economics, however in Theology of all programs.

    The entire thing is made all of the extra an irrelevancy, a triviality, by the truth that the
    Open College is a college present within the open air with no partitions
    and with out the college ambiance and surroundings that shapes concepts and perceptions and attitudes, and with
    out the interplay amongst college students and with employees that gives that ambiance and setting.

    Nor do our navy rulers have the mental energy to know the character and processes of
    the refined organism, the fashionable state, transplanted to Africa by European colonialism.

    The fashionable state is a international organism lodged by colonialism within the physique
    of Africa. It’s overseas, not simply within the sense that it was the creation of alien powers, however extra so
    as a result of, not having existed earlier than colonisation (Egypt,
    Sudan and Ethiopia excepted), it has no root within the life, tradition, traditions, habits
    and expertise of the African peoples.

    It was forcibly imposed upon backward peoples missing the
    mandatory foundations of civilisation, and unacquainted
    with its ideological or philosophical basis and its methods, its organising ideas, establishments,
    procedures, its traditions of authorities administration, the habits
    of order, self-discipline, obedience to regulation, patriotism,
    and loyalty, the perspective of the duty and accountability of rulers to the entire mass of the individuals.

    In the character and extent of its powers, particularly, the ability
    to make legislation by laws, the state transplanted to Africa by colonialism has nothing remotely corresponding to it in pre-colonial days.

    There was nothing within the pre-colonial polity remotely just like the alien-kind state’s robust, formidable organisation of pressure, its monumental energy, the array of patronages at its disposal, its huge enterprise pursuits and pervasive management over
    the financial system, its standing as a topic of worldwide legislation, entitled by
    advantage thereof to all of the rights and powers bestowed by that legislation on states, and the way in which persons are subjected,
    in lots of elements of their lives and affairs, to coercion or compulsion by way of rules of
    a legislative nature, judicial orders or decrees enforced by the organised coercive drive of the state, and govt orders, all backed
    by an overwhelming drive directly intimidating, irresistible
    and superior within the type of a standing or
    full time military and police with all their weapons
    of violence, in addition to different legislation enforcement apparatuses like prisons
    and prison warders, focus camps, detention centres, safety brokers, highway
    marshals, tax collectors, customs officers, forest guards and
    so forth, a power made all of the extra superior
    nonetheless as a result of it’s within the unique monopoly of the state.

    It’s not solely that the trendy state is completely totally different from the pre-colonial African polity in the character of
    its energy and drive; the types, establishments and rules concerned in its administration had
    been additionally unknown and with none foundation within the
    pre-colonial African polity.

    Save solely monarchy, which has turn out to be discredited in most a part of the world anyway, neither the democratic, consultant
    type of authorities, with its establishments of free
    and honest elections primarily based on common grownup suffrage and political events, nor constitutional democracy,
    with its establishment of a written structure as supreme regulation enshrining a assure of human rights, separation of powers, the Rule of Legislation, nor the socialist type of state,
    with its establishments and rules of socialist possession of the technique of manufacturing and trade, whole rule (totalitarianism), socialist
    legality and democratic centralism has any actual foundation in pre-colonial African political
    expertise and tradition.

    Thus, the African rulers (extra particularly navy rulers), who took over
    the mantle of management from the departing colonisers, got here to their new roles with hardly something from
    Africa’s previous to arrange and information them in these roles.
    Distinctive intellectualism and a stable instructional qualification are due to this fact obligatory credentials for efficient efficiency
    in such roles.

    Management within the circumstances of Nigeria and different African international
    locations confronted with the challenges of decolonisation just isn’t one thing for
    a presidential chief inadequately geared up intellectually, educationally and character-smart.

    Mental poverty and academic inadequacy of the skills prescribed by the Structure (1999) for the President

    The political course of in Nigeria doesn’t completely account
    for the mental poverty and academic inadequacy of presidential management.
    A part of the blame lies with the Structure, part 131 of which gives:

    “A individual shall be certified for election to the workplace of President if –

    (a) he’s a citizen of Nigeria by delivery;

    (b) he has attained the age of forty years;

    (c) he’s a member of a political celebration and is sponsored by that political celebration; and

    (d) he has been educated as much as not less than College Certificate stage or its equal.”

    As if college certificate prescribed in part 131(d)
    will not be insufficient already, “school certificate or its equivalent” is outlined in part 318(1) to imply:

    “(a) a Secondary Faculty Certificate or its equal, or Grade II Teacher’s Certificate, town and Guilds Certificate; or

    (b) training as much as Secondary College Certificate degree (i.e. with out the certificate); or

    (c) Main Six Faculty Leaving Certificate or its equal and –

    (i) service in the general public or non-public sector within the Federation in any capability acceptable to the Unbiased Nationwide Electoral Fee for a minimal of ten years, and

    (ii) attendance at programs and coaching in such establishments as could also be acceptable to the Impartial Nationwide Electoral Fee for intervals totaling as much as a minimal of 1 yr; and

    (iii) the power to learn, write, perceive and talk within the English language to the satisfaction of the Impartial Nationwide Electoral Fee; and

    (d) every other qualification acceptable by the Impartial Nationwide Electoral Fee.”

    The availability says nothing concerning the person’s background, antecedents,
    expertise, character, together with qualities
    like integrity (the third Schedule, for instance, offers that an individual to be appointed
    a member of the Impartial Nationwide Electoral Fee shall be
    of “unquestionable integrity”), sense of fairness, justice and
    impartiality, and of loyalty to the Structure by way
    of the Oaths within the Seventh Schedule, and his psychological or psychological

    In today of widespread “expo”, certificate faking and common degeneration within the requirements of training in our faculties and schools,
    main six college leaving certificate is absolutely subsequent door to illiteracy.
    A semi-literate President is what the prescription in sections 131(d)
    and 318(1) tantamount to.

    What little literacy is acquired from the
    training system at the first college degree is quickly misplaced owing to
    the lack of a studying tradition that pervades our society, brought about to a substantial extent by the
    enthronement of wealth because the determinant of social standing and the consequent inordinate pursuit
    of it and of different mundane, non-mental pursuits.

    Nobody with this sort of totally insufficient academic
    background might be anticipated to learn, with understanding, the Structure of Nigeria, laden, as
    it’s, with tough and perplexing ideas, or the books on constitutional regulation, political science and sociology the place the data of those
    ideas will be discovered. And understanding that he can’t perceive them, he
    would don’t have any inclination or disposition to purchase the books or
    to learn them.

    The want to accommodate educationally backward areas, which little doubt is the rationale underlying
    the availability, isn’t any justification for prescribing such
    low degree of instructional qualification for election to the
    workplace of President or the Nationwide Meeting. There isn’t a state within the
    nation right this moment that doesn’t have a good variety of college graduates.

    The impact of those provisions is, lamentably, to entrench within the Structure the mental
    poverty and academic inadequacy, which has characterised management at the extent of
    the presidency since Independence in 1960 proper as much as the election of President Umaru Yar’Adua in 2007 (the primary college graduate to carry the workplace of President (discounting the interim association underneath which Chief Ernest Shonekan, a graduate, dominated for some months) and the accession to
    the presidential workplace by the Vice-President, Dr.
    Goodluck Jonathan on 5 Could, 2010 after the demise
    of Umaru Yar’Adua.

    In my opinion, the Structure ought to prescribe a college diploma or its equal because the minimal academic qualification for election to the places of work of President and

    No matter occurred to the amendments to sections 131(d) and 318(1) handed by the
    Nationwide Meeting in 2010 on the early stage of the modification course of

    The modification deletes the phrases “school certificate degree or its equivalent” in part 131(d), and substitutes therefor “tertiary degree and obtained the related certificates” (italicized to
    emphasize that the certificate is thereby made a constitutional
    requirement, thus altering the Supreme Court docket resolution in Suswam’s Case.)

    It then goes on to outline in part 318(1), as amended, the
    time period to imply:

    “(a) Unusual Nationwide Diploma or its equal; or

    (b)Nigerian Certificate in Training or its equal; or

    (c)Larger College Certificate or its equal; or

    (d)Superior Faculty Certificate or its equal; or

    (e) Larger Nationwide Diploma or its equal.”

    Every of the 5 skills is prescribed in its place minimal
    qualification by itself, e.g. larger college certificate
    or superior faculty certificate, and isn’t made any the much less
    acceptable due to the inclusion of upper skills in (a),
    (b) or (e) above.

    For that reason, though the upper nationwide diploma is now typically considered equal
    to a college diploma, the modification falls in need of prescribing
    a college diploma as minimal academic qualification.

    Considerably, nevertheless, the deletion of part 131(d) has the impact
    of additionally deleting the definition of “School Certificate or its equivalent” in part 318(1).

    I haven’t been in a position to learn how the modification was misplaced at some stage within the
    modification course of, and by no means grew to become
    legislation. That is, certainly, regrettable, because the
    nation wants it.

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