WHILE we agree with the fact that everybody is entitled to their own opinions, and that the subject matter is a very touchy-one, considering the fact that it bothers on political interests of the principle players in the country’s general elections next month, however, let us reiterate here that our reason for writing on this subject, is not to defend, speak for or in support of the person of Gen. Muhammadu Buhari or his party the APC. We do not belong to his political party, or the PDP, or any other political party in the country for that matter, neither do we belong to any political interest group(s). We are simply here to remind our political players and their supporters of what is “really important” and should be the main focus in their political campaigns and political maneuvers to be/remain in government. Democracy like we said; should be all about the people and for the people. It is never about any individual character or their personal achievements or political interests. The ‘political pendulum’ should always be left for the people (as the electorates) to decide where it should swing to at the polls.
So people should not misunderstand or misinterpret our write on the subject matter to mean something else that it is not. While we agree with the fact that “Buhari is not the first to face electoral issues on the turf of academic credentials and certainly may not be the last”, that does not mean as stakeholders, we cannot air our views and point the principle players concerned to the right direction. We cannot sit down and fold our hands, and allow people to raise dust over issues that are not major issues; but still has the propensity to unnecessarily heat up the polity.
Some of our readers who responded on the issue even “think it is a misnomer to call the issue a “scandal” because according to them, General Buhari (GMB) has not committed any disgraceful or offensive act.” Most of us here cannot claim not to know Buhari’s biography as we have highlighted. To therefore insist that Buhari should be disqualified because he purportedly does not have a “school certificate” is a crude joke. It is true that section 131 of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution states that “A person shall be qualified for election to the office of the President if… he has been educated up to at least School Certificate level or its equivalent”, among other qualifications. The Constitution however does not define what type of school – is it pre-school, primary school, Islamic or Koranic or Almajiri, middle school, secondary or high school or post-secondary schools such as military schools and colleges/polytechnics/universities? Clearly, from Buhari’s biography, he is educated “up to” all the above school levels.
At least a copy of a letter from the prestigious United States War College – a post-secondary/graduate institution – certifying that GMB attended that college in 1980 has been posted on the internet. The Constitution simply says “educated up to”, not “passed or have the completion certificate examination” of whatever level of school the framers of the Constitution had in mind. The intent of that clause in the Constitution was to prevent an illiterate from becoming the President of the country just as the age clause prevents a 30-year old adult from becoming the President due to inadequate life experience. If GMB was not educated “up to school certificate level or its equivalent”, he would not have been admitted to attend the various foreign military schools and would not have risen to the position of a General in the Nigerian Army and ultimately Military Head of State.
According to one of an expert on public affairs, “Challenging the credentials of Buhari is an affront to the Nigerian Army, and indeed the dignity of the country. It is therefore ill-advised for the INEC or any court to even entertain any suit challenging Buhari’s qualification to run for the Presidency based on the frivolous and unsubstantiated allegation that he does not have a school certificate.” As a matter of fact, in most countries of the world, as noted by Dr. Emmanuel Ojameruaye, an international scholar: “school certificate” is not a requirement to become a President of a country. We think a sworn affidavit that he is educated up to school certificate level is adequate and acceptable just as a sworn affidavit is acceptable/ admissible in lieu of a birth certificate issued at time of birth. It is well-known that most Nigerians do not have official birth certificates and use “affidavits”. Also, many Nigerians who completed primary and secondary schools are over 40 years ago may have misplaced or lost their certificates, or may not have collected their certificates from their schools. Thus, the Buhari school certificate issue is “much ado about nothing”.
And like I said in our write up, the main issue here is that our Nigerian politicians that are intending to contest for various public offices, in this case, that of the President’s seat, should focus on convincing Nigerians why they should be voted in nothing more, nothing less. Our politicians should leave Nigerians as the electorate to be the deciding factor that will determine who they want to lead them. Their campaigns should focus on what they can do to address the overwhelming problems plaguing the lives of Nigerians. They should focus on how to convince Nigerians to elect them along the lines of their abilities to address the issues of insecurity, corruption, unemployment, insufficient power supply, etc. These are the pressing issues that should define the electoral-atmosphere.

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