If the proposamendments to the 1999 Constitution by the national conference sails through, the presidential ambitions of some notable Nigerians may come to an abrupt end.
Investigations by our correspondent in Abuja showed that the proposal that whoever wants to be the President should have a university degree may become an albatross for such politicians.
Among the politicians that may be barred are a former Head of State, Maj.Gen. Muhammadu Buhari(retd.); a former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and the Jigawa State Governor, Alhaji Sule Lamido.
Section 131 of the present constitution spells out qualifications concerning anyone who is aspiring to be a President.
It says, “A person shall be qualified for election to the office as the President if (a) he is a citizen of Nigeria by birth; (b) he has attained the age of 40 ; (c) he is a member of a political party and is sponsored by a political party; and (d) he has been educated up to at least school c ertificate level or its equivalent.”
Although the proposed amendments did not alter the section significantly, it adds that anyone who aspires to be a President must have paid his tax as and when due and must be a university graduate.
The proposed amendments in the Section 131 of the Principal Act is altered by:
(A) inserting a new subsection (c) as follows:
“(C) he has paid his tax as and when due” and “(d) he is registered to vote”
(b) deleting the word “and” in paragraph (d) with the following and renumbering same as paragraph (e)-
“(e) he has been educated up to at least the university first degree or its equivalent”.
If the amendments are carried out, a clean copy of this Section of the constitution will now read, “A person shall be qualified for election to the office of the President if :
(a) he is a citizen of Nigeria by birth, (b)he has attained the age of 40 , (c) he has paid his tax as and when due(d) he has registered to vote and (e) he has been educated up to at least the university first degree level or its equivalent.”
Meanwhile, delegates to the conference have expressed divergent views on whether this aspect of the amendment should be implemented or not.