Ex-Presidential Candidate Lauds Bill Seeking To Bar 70y.o From Contesting Elections
By Comrade Sani Kana
Mass Action Joint Alliance (MAJA) Presidential Candidate, Funmilayo Adesanya-Davies who has earlier on proposed, “Peg Maximum Age For Presidential Candidates” lauds the Bill to bar 70-year-olds from seeking elective offices in Nigerian elections which is now under consideration by the House of Representatives.
Presently, the House of Representatives is making a move to stop Nigerians of 70 years and above from seeking elective offices henceforth, if the bill currently being planned scales through.
This bill is being sponsored by the deputy chief whip of the House, Nkeiruka Onyejeocha, in a move that would also amend some sections of the constitution. The bill is already before a committee of the House for consideration and Adesanya-Davies said this is a welcome development.
Moreso, “The bill also plans to now fix the minimum educational requirement to contest the presidential election at a Higher National Diploma (HND) or a Bachelors Degree from a university. If the bill is passed, it will stop Nigerians older than 70 years from seeking elective offices.”
The Nigerian Tribune quotes the sponsor, Onyejeocha as saying, “that the bill would seek to amend section 65(2a) of the principal act by substituting the words ‘school certificate’ with ‘Higher National Diploma’ and ‘First Degree’.
The report said that, the bill will be referred to the special ad-hoc committee on constitution review headed by the deputy speaker, Idris Wase.”
Adesanya-Davies, has earlier on spoken last year, “about maximum age of Presidential aspirants in Nigeria; with the roles of youths, education, nation building and national development on her mind, during a lecture she presented to the pioneering students of Prof. Nyenwegwe Ezekiel University (PNEU) Christian Judicial Institution (CJI), Port Harcourt, Rivers State.”
Prof. Davies speaking on constitution amendment for Presidential Aspirant Age Maximum, in what she tagged ”Too Old, Aged or Elderly to Run Bill” commended the endorsement of the 2018 ‘NOT TOO YOUNG TO RUN Bill’ on presidential aspirant’s age qualification provision: “An Act to alter the provisions of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,1999 to reduce the age for qualification for the offices of the President, Governor, Membership of the Senate, House of Representatives and the State Houses of Assembly, and other related matters.”
She said: “Bearing in mind that the average life expectancy for Americans is 78.7 years, and life expectancy in Nigeria according to the latest WHO data published in 2018 is: Male 54.7, female 55.7 and total life expectancy is 55.2.
“And in 0view of developing countries health status, we need to put a peg on presidential candidate’s age limit; as former President Olusegun Obasanjo had said in 2017 that, “it was not right to stipulate minimum age for a presidential candidate without also specifying the maximum age beyond which one would no longer be able to contest.
Funmilayo Adesanya-Davies thus says, “that a Presidential Candidate’s Age which should not be below thirty-five years (35yrs) should in the same vein not exceed Sixty years (60yrs) maximum, as at the time of application for the position. This should be applicable also to the positions of the Vice President and Senators/ Members of the House of Representatives, Ministers and Governors. This is to enable intending presidents and others serve two tenures before he/she clocks seventy (70) years.”
On educational criteria, she opined, “a Presidential Candidate or Candidate seeking for the position of President should be a holder of minimum First Degree Certificate or its equivalent with minimum of Second Class (Lower Degree (Hons.) or its equivalent from a recognised and reputable Institution in Nigeria or Overseas. This should be applicable at every level of governance for optimal performance i.e Councellors, Members of the House of Assembly, Members of the House of Representatives, Ministers and Governors.”
Definitely, in addition to the age review, the Presidential aspirant’s and others educational status need an upward review from WASC/ SSCE/ NECO equivalent’s status; as such in agreement, “kudos, to the sponsor of this bill, the deputy chief whip of the House, Nkeiruka Onyejeocha, who has made this move, while encouraging the committee, the upper and lower chambers, and all well meaning Nigerians to drive this bill in togetherness in 2020 towards achieving a new Nigeria of our dream.”