APC candidate accuses FG of ineptitude, mischief
Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja and Ibrahim Shuaibu in Kano
The raging controversy over the academic credentials of the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Major-General Muhammadu Buhari, was finally laid to rest wednesday when the school he attended in Katsina issued a statement of result as well as a print out of the University of Cambridge/West African School Certificate (WASC) showing the subjects Buhari took and passed in 1961.
The statement of result as well as the Cambridge/WASC print out, which were provided by the APC Presidential Campaign Organisation, showed that the retired general obtained credits in History (B3), English Language (C5), Hausa Language (C5), Geography (C6) and Health Science (C6).
He also obtained a pass in Literature in English (P7), but failed his Mathematics (F9) and Wood Work (F9).
The statement of result and print out were signed by the current principal and examination officer of the school and dated yesterday, January 21, 2015.
Additional information provided by the Cambridge/WASC print out included the results of Buhari’s classmates who took the examination with him.
For instance, his classmate, the late General Shehu Musa Yar’Adua obtained five credits including English and Mathematics.
Buhari had wednesday debunked the impression given by the Nigerian Army that his academic credentials were not with the military, adding that the Peoples Democratic Party-led federal government had created a smoke screen to cover up its excesses in power.
In a statement he read to reporters at the Kano Government House, Buhari said the development was not worthy of any reply, but had decided to make the statement just to clear the air over the matter.
He said he had requested the authorities of his school, Government Secondary School, Katsina, formerly Provincial Secondary School, Katsina, to make his certificate/result public in order to lay the matter to rest.
Buhari, who was accompanied to the press briefing by his running mate, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, said: “I only consented to address you this morning because of the genuine concern expressed by many supporters and other well-meaning Nigerians that the issue be addressed.
“Otherwise, I would have dismissed it for what it is – sheer mischief and would not have considered it an issue worth the nation’s while.
“I had assumed all along that all my records were in the custody of the Military Secretary of the Nigerian Army. Much to my surprise, we are now told that although a record of the result is available, there are no copies of the certificates in my personal file.
“This is why I formally requested my old school the Provincial Secondary School, Katsina (which is now known as Government College, Katsina) to make available the school’s copy of the result of the Cambridge/West African School Certificate. This will be made available to the press the moment this is available.
“However, before we obtain that, let me state for the record that I attended Provincial Secondary School, Katsina. I graduated in 1961 with many prominent Nigerians, including General Shehu Yar’Adua, former Chief of Staff at the Supreme Headquarters, and Justice Umaru Abdullahi, a former President of the Court of Appeal.
We sat for the University of Cambridge/WASC Examination together in 1961, the year we graduated. My examination number was 8280002, and I passed the examination in the Second Division.
“And although the ruling party may want to wish this away, the issue in this campaign cannot be my certificate which I obtained 53 years ago.
“The issues are the scandalous level of unemployment of millions of our young people, the state of insecurity, the pervasive official corruption which has impoverished our people and the lack of concern of the government for anything other than the retention of power at all cost.”
Buhari, who declined to answer questions from reporters, who had waited for over three hours, asked reporters to direct further inquiries to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and other relevant bodies.
Also speaking on the issue, the head of the presidential screening committee of the APC, Chief Ogbonnaya Onu yesterday provided clarity on why Buhari was cleared to contest for the presidency in February election.
Onu, who spoke to reporters in Abuja on the certificate saga, said members of his panel adhered strictly to the provisions of the constitution to clear Buhari.
He said as far as the screening committee was concerned, Buhari met the stipulated requirement as provided by the Nigerian constitution.
“Really that issue should not create the kind of problem that we are seeing today in the polity. When this matter came before us in the presidential screening committee, we had to rely on the constitution of our great country to screen him,” he said.
Reeling out the constitutional requirements, Onu said for one to qualify to be Nigeria’s president, he said one has to be “a Nigerian by birth, has to be 40 years of age, be a member of a political party, and should have attained education up to secondary school level or its equivalent.
In the case of Buhari, he said the former head of state had attended military schools in Nigeria, India, the United Kingdom and the United States of America.
“So there isn’t any reason whatsoever to create this type of problems that we now have in the polity,” Onu said.
Asked if the committee actually demanded to see a copy of Buhari’s school certificate during the screening exercise, he said: “No, we demanded for that but there was an affidavit and you know once you swear to an affidavit, that definitely gives you whatever protection in any matter not just in this case.
“But the thing is that we were not doing this for the opposition, the PDP, we were doing it for Nigeria. This is a man who will be president of Nigeria and there is a supreme law, the constitution, that guides us and the issue of qualifications is at least a school certificate.
“So if there is evidence that somebody has attended military schools that are tertiary institutions up to the war college in the USA, I mean why should you really go into school certificate and so on?
“But the army has shown that he applied in Form 6. Many young people don’t know we used to have Form 6; I attended form 6, I attended higher school that is what called Form 6 and you spend 2 years at the lower and the upper level.
“Besides, you can’t get into Form 6 unless you had completed your Form 5 and he got all the credits in the relevant subjects. So all those are in his file.
“So I really don’t see why we should be thinking in this direction because the problems before the nation are enormous. We should be looking at how do we solve the problems of insecurity.
“A country that is the most populous black nation in the world, the largest economy in Africa and then you have unknown flags to the constitution flying in our territory, is a very serious challenge for this nation.
“Then we have unemployment, we have an economy that has not been managed properly, because come to look at it, I am a chemical engineer, so I consider it worrisome that for 16 years we abandoned our refineries and we import petroleum products.
“We are sixth or seventh largest exporter of crude oil in the world and then we import refined fuel when we have four refineries and we can’t keep them working.”