POLITICS: How Buhari Scaled Through APC Presidential Screening

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By Efio-Ita Nyok

Beginning from last week, the Nigerian political space had been awash with the debates attempting on one hand, to demonstrate the literate status, and other the other hand, the illiterate status of the presidential aspirant of the All Progressive Congress(APC) -the person of Muhammadu Buhari.

What is understood to have sparked the row in the first place is when Muhammadu Buhari is said to have deposed for the third time before INEC that the Secretary, Nigeria’s Military Board, is keeping his certificates. If we recall, in the 2007 and 2011 General Elections, the Peoples’ General only deposed affidavits. Why did he not get them from the military after twenty-seven years of retirement and seven years of contesting for the same office? The foregone questions are yet to be reasonably answered by either Buhari  or his cronies.

However, we proceed to inquiring into the subject under review. What are the premises upon which the APC Presidential Screening Committee cleared Major General Buhari?

According to Section 131(d) of Nigeria’s 1999 Constitution  as amended, it is submitted that a person shall be qualified to be elected into the office of president if ‘he has been educated to at least School Certificate level or its equivalent’.
Tunji Abayomi, a member of APC Screening Committee, contends that the constitution does not say such a candidate should present a certificate, rather, he should be educated to the level of SSCE.The implication is that Buhari can as well stand for elections because he is not barred by any valid constitutional proposition.

Mr. Abayomi explains that when the committee sat on this matter, they submitted that GMB in view of his military experienced could be said to have the met the educational requirement of SSCE. The question is: Can’t M. Buhari make available in hard copies the educational certificates he claims to have bagged by displaying them/it at INEC office? Why is Buhari and his cohorts insulting Nigerians?

While I agree with the argument that the presence of the hard copy of a certificate does not equate to the fact that an individual in possession of such is educated, the quandary is with the dishonesty and double-dealings with which the subject has been managed. It suggest something fishy is under cover.

To my mind, it is either Major General Muhammadu Buhari did not attend formal education or he had very poor results that are not fit for public consumption, especially such that may not be in synch with the perfectionist picture that revolves around his person.  

Nevertheless, my grouse borders around the embarrassment Buhari and the APC have caused themselves and this country in the international community. It compels the thinking electorates to hold in profound doubt the quality in the notion of change the APC is seen to tout. In truth, the assertion by the late Chinua Achebe in his 1984 booklet, which reads unequivocally that ‘the trouble with Nigeria is the failure of leadership…’  still holds water.