Monday, 12 January 2015

That exposure of Buhari’s nakedness

That exposure of Buhari’s nakedness


Since the race for the 2015 general elections  started gathering momentum, lots of discoveries, expositions and revelations have been made with each projecting the ambition of an aspirant or tarnishing same. Aspirants who were then lucky to be chosen as their party flag bearers were only left with the task of emerging the overall winner of their choice office at the general elections. Away from local thrifts and contentions at the grassroots, the national tussle for who emerges the winner of the presidential elections has also generated questions when the calibre, experience and enthusiasm of the candidates are brought to the fore. 

Daily, we are fed with news of recent up comings and matters arising from the tussle for national power and good enough, each passing day seems to unravel a hidden truth kept out of public knowledge, and brings one close to certain fearful truths that must just be accepted.  

When it was reported very recently that the presidential candidate of the All Progressive People’s Congress, Muhammadu Buhari has been disqualified from next month’s election for his failure to provide the needed educational requirement for the forthcoming 2015 general elections, many thought it hard to believe; perhaps because the ex-head of state is said to be a man of integrity. 

But alas, the news was real. The candidate had no academic qualification to present to the Independent National Electoral Commission. 

Mr. Buhari’s academic qualification generated controversy recently after it appeared that he submitted a sworn affidavit at a Federal High Court in FCT, Abuja to the effect that all his academic qualifications were with the Secretary of the Military Board. His Party, through its spokesperson, Lai Mohammed said Mr. Buhari lost original copies of credentials when his house was raided while he was in detention, and that he had been using affidavits since then. 

The story goes that General Muhammadu Buhari was in detention for over 3 years and that while in detention, captors raided his residence and vandalised his property including certificates and diplomas; and that consequently, after his release, whenever the General is asked about his academic qualifications, he would refer such bodies to the military command who has his records including his academic certificates. He also said Mr. Buhari had taken the same procedure for the 2003, 2007 and 2011 elections in which he was a candidate. 

However, while addressing the public on the issue, the spokesperson for the President Goodluck Jonathan’s campaign team, Mr. Femi Kayode, accused the Independent National Electoral Commission of deliberately allowing Mr, Buhari to contest the February 14 election after failing to meet the basic educational qualification required to run. Mr. Kayode who addressed a press conference last weekend said that the inability of Buhari to present the minimum requirement of a School Leaving Certificate questions his morals and other credentials for pursuing the position of the president of Nigeria. 

The former Minister cited section 131 of the Nigerian constitution which states that “a person shall be qualified for election to the office of president if: (a) he is a citizen of Nigeria by birth (b) he has attained the age of 40 (c) he is a member of a political party and is sponsored by that party (d) he has been educated up to at least, School Certificate level or its equivalent. The section 131 (d) is therefore, a specific directional order for all candidates to show proof of education up to a minimum standard not below School Certificate or its equivalent. But from what INEC has published, Buhari has not submitted any personal particulars of minimum School Leaving Certificate for the 2015 elections and shockingly from INEC’s documents displayed in all constituencies, he did not submit anything in 2011 and did not refer the electoral umpire then to the Secretary general of the Military Board as well as previous elections he contested as evidenced in all available INEC records up until his current discovery.

This is the very point where one may raise the eyebrows. A bold question mark lies at the end of the cooked story about the General’s credentials. People who have perused the affidavit of nomination as submitted by General Buhari and as published in all INEC offices, as well as the copies of his similar INEC documentations for 2011 election could see clearly that General Buhari who claims to be a man of integrity has not been true to Nigeria. It can be seen as indicated in section 31(6) that, there are reasonable grounds to believe that a false deponent was declared in the affidavit where it indicates that all documents relating to his personal particulars are with the Secretary of the Military Board. In the said form he filled for the 2015 election, Mr. Buhari referred INEC to the Military Board for copies of his educational qualification, even after section C of the form states that candidates should “attach evidence of all educational qualifications.” 

Certainly, INEC’s printed nomination forms or High Court affidavits are in no way or by any stretch of definitions, the same as personal particulars such as School Leaving Certificate so why the fuse about something which may not even exist? The big question as to if the General attained any level of formal education then comes to the rear. Ultimately, the best solution to the fix would have been an application for re-issuing of academic credential from all the institutions of learning the General attended from the cradle to the top if indeed he lost the originals as we are told. This in itself would have paved enough ways for him in his publicity for his campaign as his Alma-Mata would not think of denying their product a chance to project the fruit of their labour. No matter the cost, this option would have better paid the issue. But alas, nothing of such has been done. No body or institution so far has emerged to attest that the General had been their Pupil or student at a time in his life. 

More surprisingly, the Military Board, like any other body does not keep or retain original copies of personal particulars of individuals such as birth certificates, passports and academic credentials of personnel especially retired personnel for over 3 decades and so where then lies the efficacy of Buhari’s academic reports?  

It is expected that before one ventures into a career, especially one as this, certain basic documents must have been kept in their rightful place for the avoidance of doubts which may in the future arise to thwart one’s hard-earned fame, reputation and career.   As the Jonathan’s campaign team have rightly put it: “academic qualification is a threshold issue that cannot be waived for any citizen no matter how highly placed and irrespective of whichever region such individual comes from except as provided by the constitution. “ 

Nigerians are by this notice called to stay awake to the fore goings in their society. The era of electoral malpractices is here again and care must be taken to ensure that all candidates go through the due processes involved in screening. By spotting out this oddity, INEC has done well but not better because by publishing the name of a candidate without receiving the personal particulars of the candidate within 7 days of receiving his nomination form, they have erred in the law as indicated in section 31 (3).

To the presidential hopeful, it is strongly advised that His Excellency to-be clears his record and retain his already fainting integrity in the minds of the public or risk losing it to some more promising, committed and steadfast candidates. 

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