HND minimum qualification ruins Atiku 2023

March 12, 2020
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When Sen. Istifanus Gyang (Plateau-PDP) sponsored a bill to amend and pin down the minimum qualification for Nigeria’s presidential candidates and governors, he had no idea how far the piece of legislature will go if it eventually scales through.

Now past its second reading, the bill may ultimately damage life’s dreams of many Nigerian politicians.

The most affected will be PDP veteran presidential candidate Atiku Abbakar.

The former VP has just a plain old diploma all his life—in civil service and politics.  And the Gyang bill is seeking the Higher National Diploma as the minimum.

So the billionaire, if he’s still bent on shooting for Aso Rock in 2023, must beef up his educational qualification—by enrolling for a four-year-long programme which he must complete in 2023.

That’s is starting from scratch.

His educational arc, going by public records, was somewhat choppy: He finished secondary school in 1965, passing English and literature, and flunking physics, chemistry, and maths. That result made him drop out of the Nigeria Police College in Kaduna, heading straight to the Kano School of Hygiene in 1966 where he got his first diploma in 1967. Same year, he applied for a law diploma at the Ahmadu Bello University Institute of Administration.

That was the highest scroll he ever got. And with it he rose in civil service to the level of deputy comptroller-general in the Nigeria Customs Service, and soared in politics as vice president and PDP’s deep pocket and shot-caller.

He has been contesting for Nigeria’s top job for about two decades, presenting the law diploma to INEC as part of his qualifying documents. He might have bee planning t dust it up for the 2023 presidential race for which he is the most experienced and financially capable among the PDP wannabes.

Section 131 (d) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) currently provides that a person is qualified as presidential aspirants if he has been educated up to at least School Certificate level or its equivalent.” Atiku, thus, makes the cut.

But the amendment that Gyang seeks has a new turn to its wording:  “If he has been educated up to at least HND level or’ its equivalent.”

At about 74 now, Atiku could renew his quest for knowledge, and begin to burn the midnight oil again. After all, education starts from the cradle and ends in the grave.

But studying to qualify for the next general election in 2023 will tax every nerve of his ageing body.

He, however, could have foreseen this, and has been swotting for a degree or a higher diploma or its equivalent.

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