Controversy has continued to trail the qualification of the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, General Muhammadu Buhari since the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) announced that it does not have the academic credentials of the former Head of State.
Even though many insist that the dust over Buhari’s credentials is merely a ploy to unsettle the APC standard bearer, others are challenging the former Head of State to come out with clear proof of his qualification.
Buhari had reportedly sworn to an affidavit at the Federal High Court (FCT) High Court Abuja to the effect that all his academic qualifications, documents, as filed in his presidential form for next month’s election, were with the Secretary of the Military Board.
The Director, Army Public Relations, Brig General Olajide Laleye, earlier said the army does not keep the original certificates of its personnel, whether serving or retired. The army however, said that military personnel know how to get their certificates from it.
Section 131(d) of the 1999 constitution stipulates that a person shall be eligible to contest for the office of President if “he has been educated up to at least school certificate level or its equivalent.”
Speaking on the development, Constitutional lawyer, Fred Agbaje, said Buhari has not contravened the law, as long as he has copies of his certificate to back his claim.
In a telephone interview with him, he said: “It is constitutionally and legally valid for him to contest election without original copies of his certificate. It’s a different kettle of fish if he doesn’t have those certificates. If he has the photocopies and he is ready to tender it at any time, then he does not have a problem. The onus is on him to provide a copy of his certificate, which the law stipulates he must have.
“There is nowhere in the constitution where it is stated that he must produce the original copies of his secondary school certificate. The constitution says that for you to be qualified to contest for the position of a president, you must have at least a secondary school qualification. If Buhari says his credentials are with the military, he should call on the military to produce it because we all know that he was a military man. Are you telling me that he joined the military as a stark illiterate? Can a stark illiterate become a Major General in the army? The onus is on whoever says Buhari is an illiterate to go and prove it. It would have been a different thing if he does not have it; so whoever is alleging that he is an illiterate should prove it.”