Buhari’s Qualification: Jonathan rejects APC candidate’s explanation, demands certificate

Femi Fani-Kayode
Femi Fani-Kayode

President Goodluck Jonathan has rejected explanations by the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, over concerns about his qualification.

The PDP accuses Mr. Buhari of not having requisite secondary school certificate or its equivalent to bid for president.

Speaking to journalists on Sunday, Mr. Buhari expressed surprise at the growing concern by the Mr. Jonathan’s Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, on the matter, saying he was qualified the three times he contested to be president.

“I have contested three times under the same rules set by INEC (Independent National Electoral Commission) where there is a basic educational qualification you must have.” The former military ruler was quoted by Punch newspaper as saying.

“I was allowed to contest all these elections because my certificate was in order and there were individuals that wrote to the United States War College and the college answered them and they were published in the newspapers.”

He continued: “So, I really don’t understand this desperation or misinformation that is being passed around. They will do nobody any good because our minds are being taken away from the serious issues of corruption and incompetence by the PDP.”

But in statement by his campaign group Monday, Mr. Jonathan said that Mr. Buhari was allowed thrice to contest elections does not imply he was qualified.

Read the statement signed by Femi Fani-Kayode, head of Media of Mr. Jonathan’s campaign organization.

It is disingenuous for Buhari to say that he contested previous elections and that the issue of his qualifications did not arise. Had INEC not complied with the Electoral Act this year, which requires that they paste the academic credentials of all the Presidential candidates, Nigerians would have remained ignorant of the fact that Buhari has probably been submitting affidavits for the past elections.

The fact that he got away with it in 2003, 2007 and 2011 does not make it right. The minimum that Nigerians require from Buhari is the presentation of his secondary school certificate which enabled him to gain admission into the Nigerian Military College in 1962 and on which basis he became a commissioned officer of the Nigerian Army.

This forms the fulcrum for the subsequent courses that he attended as he rose in the Army, including the U.S. War College. Failure to produce that school certificate implies that Buhari’s entire career in the Army was based on falsehood which cannot stand. This brings to question the admission system/policy into the Army in the early 1960s.

Were the rules bent for certain individuals in fulfilment of the quota system? Anyone that reads General Alabi Isama’s book which was published last year will know that this was the case. In fact, Alabi Isama went as far as to allege that some Nigerians were admitted into the military academy without the necessary qualifications like school certificate.

We believe that Buhari was one of those people and this is why he is unable to produce his certificate. The truth is that he was never qualified for entry into the Military Academy in the first place and consequently he should never have become a commissioned officer let alone a man that rose to the rank of General. At best he ought to have remained a non-commissioned officer.

As long as he cannot produce that secondary school certificate, we believe that he is not qualified to run for the Presidency of Nigeria. This is a matter of law and not sentiment. Buhari, just like any other Nigerian, must be compelled to abide by the law and he must prove his eligibility for the Presidential election by simply producing his secondary school certificate.

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