The Presidency says it is an indication of idleness on the part of PDP and other Nigerians, to make a fuss about President Buhari not presenting his certificates to INEC.
President Buhari while submitting his presidential nomination form to INEC ahead of the February 2019 elections, presented a sworn affidavit instead of his certificates. According to his affidavit, his credentials are still with the Nigerian Army where he was an officer until his retirement in 1985.
Reacting to the backlash that has followed the development, Femi Adesina who is the Special Adviser to President Buhari on Media and Publicity, told the Nation, that the certificate saga is a dead issue.
“The certificate saga is a dead issue, only idle people will consider it. It is something that had been laid to rest before the 2015 general elections. Those raising the issue (PDP and others) are idle and they have run out of ideas. They see defeat staring them in the face and they are desperate to cling to any straw. This issue was resolved before the 2015 election. It is a matter of fact that when President Buhari and others joined the military, they took their original certificates from them. The military knew where they kept the original certificates of the President. In fact, a former Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Alani Akinrinade corroborated that the military collected the original certificates of all its officers. The PDP believes it is going to lose the elections, and they will lose, and it is raising dust over a dead issue.
“The military already said they lost the certificates. But does it mean that it did not exist that the President went to school, sat for examinations and passed; attended military courses and War College. It does not change the fact that the President rose through the ranks to become a Major-General in the Nigerian Army and a Military Head of State. Didn’t those opposed to President Buhari go to court over his certificate and lost before? They will still lose this time around. It is a dead issue.”
Also commenting, the National Publicity Secretary of APC, Lanre Issa-Onilu, said President Buhari has the minimal qualification to run for president.
“It is a dead issue. When PDP has something new to say, Nigerians will be ready to listen to the party. This certificate issue was thrashed in 2014. The President has the minimum qualification he ought to have to stand for election and he had more than the minimum. PDP thrives on the trivial. We want to tell Nigerians what we have achieved in the last three years and why the President should be re-elected. Instead of engaging in meaningful discourse, PDP trades on the trivial.” he said
President Buhari in his sworn affidavit submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)listed his academic and military attainments as follows: Elementary School Daura and Mai Aduwa (1948-1952); Middle School, Katsina (1953-1956); Katsina Provincial Secondary School (now Government College, Katsina)-1956 to 1961; Nigerian Military Training School, Kaduna (1962-1963); Cadet Officer Course Aldershot, UK (October 1963); Platoon Commander Course, Nigerian Military College, Kaduna (1963-1964); Army Mechanical Transport School, Bordan, England (1965); Defence Service Staff College, Wellington India (1973-1974); and United States Army War College (1979-1980).
Sections 130 and 131 of the 1999 Constitution provides eligibility guidelines for a presidential candidate.
Section 130 of the 1999 Constitution says: “There shall be for the Federation, a President” and such “President shall be the Head of State, the Chief Executive of the Federation and Commander- In –Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federation”.
“Section 131 states: “A person shall be qualified for election to the office of President if –
*He is a citizen of Nigeria by birth;
*He has attained the age of forty – years.
*He is a member of a political party and is sponsored by that political party; and
*He has been educated up to at least School Certificate level or its equivalent.
Independent National Electoral Commission Chairman Mahmood Yakubu said on Friday that Nigerians who have an issue with the credentials submitted by candidates contesting next year’s elections are free to challenge such claims in court.