The failure of President Muhammadu Buhari to submit his academic certificate to the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, as required of candidates for the 2019 elections, has stirred reactions from Nigerians online.
Buhari only submitted an affidavit wherein he claimed that his credentials were with the Secretary of the Military Board, as the various presidential candidates’ credentials were made available to reporters in Abuja on Thursday.
However, the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Atiku Abubakar submitted all relevant documents, with a diploma in Law obtained in 1969 from the Ahmadu Bello University being his highest qualification.
On his part, Buhari, in the affidavit, said, “I am the above-named person and the deponent of this affidavit herein. All my academic qualification documents as filled in my Presidential form, APC/001/2015 are currently with the Secretary of the Military Board as of the time of this affidavit.”
This stirred divergent opinions from Nigerians on social media as some netizens questioned why Buhari could not get his original WAEC certificate from military given that he is the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces.
Below are some reactions gathered from Twitter:
@Yemifash ” Buhari did not tender any academic record to become President, INEC conspired with APC to install a WAEC-LESS President. The whole world must see this, don’t stop retweeting. ”
@Dun1214 “This guy, Is he not the c-in-c now. So he cannot order them to produce it?
@RealAliyuyusuf “Leadership has nothing to do with certificate. Let’s not use this as a means of a campaign, that would be too cheap. Its high time we come together to make Nigeria work again.”
@Pearlss “How do u expect him to give what is not in existence? Simple !he does not have it. He commands all commendable in Nigeria and can’t get hold of his WAEC papers? Vital one at that? Please!!!
@Okpakolaw “It surprises me how INEC had always qualified him for elections on affidavit alone. Where are the Certified True Copies! I hope that INEC will be bold enough to request for CTC and not rely on self-recognition.”
@Dominic_ugo “WAEC certificate is not important. Have you not heard that Buhari recently bagged a Masters degree in Strategic Lifelessness from University of “white house, his Thesis titled how to destroy Nigeria economy was personally supervised by Donald Trump.”
@ShettimaNIS “Leadership has nothing to do with academic excellence, gentleman next time be more objective, he is the savior Nigeria ever had, May God save your people from you.”
@Abatanbabtundde “My father was a retired Major though late now but if u ask me of any of his certificates, within 2hrs I will produce all the original certificates. My father served the same Nigeria Army that clueless Buhari served.”
@Edmundobiri “It is very obvious that some are actually fully above the law. To get a normal desk job in this country, if you don’t produce your WAEC result, you can forget about it. But a whole “president” cannot even give us his own.”
@brave_miracle “INEC should stop him from contesting if they truly know their job.”
@Ojebutudollar “Yet he wants to prosecute Ademola Adeleke who tendered his despite that he didn’t pass his papers. Buharists only forge theirs, They are certificate forgers and have nothing to tender. What a scammer Government and President!”
Meanwhile, opposition political parties also challenged President Muhammadu Buhari to make public copies of his school certificates to prove he really attended secondary school.
The Peoples Democratic Party, in a statement on Friday signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Kola Ologbodiyan, specifically challenged the President to show proof of his integrity by presenting his academic documents to the Independent National Electoral Commission, instead of bugging the commission with affidavits.
The PDP said while its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, had submitted his educational and other relevant documents to INEC, Buhari “is rather seeking ways to short-circuit the system, instead of complying with set rules.”
Ologbondiyan said, “Indeed, a situation where President Buhari has been dodging the certificate issue raises a huge question of integrity, which demands that he makes available his credentials or apologise to Nigerians, if he has none, so that the nation can move ahead.”
Speaking in a similar vein, the co-spokesperson for the Coalition of United Peoples Parties, Mr. Mark Adebayo, said it was now clear to all Nigerians to see that the President simply did not possess the minimum requirement to contest the 2019 election.
Also, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr. Olisa Agbakoba, said he was surprised the President would make the same mistake he made in 2015 when he said his certificate was with the military.
Agbakoba added, “It’s a fairly serious matter that the court would have to interpret. Any Nigerian concerned with upholding the constitution could take the matter to court, and they won’t be considered a meddlesome interloper in the matter. Let the court decide.”
According to the National President, Committee for the Defence of Human Rights, Mr. Malachy Ugwummadu, the President should be disqualified from contesting to retain his seat should he fail to provide the required credentials.
The Director of Strategic Communications, Coalition for Nigeria Movement, Mr. Akin Osuntokun, said it was hypocritical of Buhari to be claiming to have integrity when he kept failing at “small issues” like this.
Go to court, INEC tells Buhari’s critics
In his reaction, INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, on Friday urged Nigerians who feel concerned strongly about the President’s credentials to approach the court.
He said INEC decided to make the particulars of all candidates public for the sake of transparency and in line with the Electoral Act.