In the last one week, Nigeria has had to hold its breath, waiting for the other shoe to drop, waiting for the man at the center of the certificate scandal to speak up. General Muhammad Buhari has rather chosen to be quite. May be wishing the scandal will go away. There is no doubt there is a problem, an issue with his certificates if any, relative to the public office he is seeking.
A perennial presidential candidate since 2003, General Buhari obviously possesses only the Standard 7 first leaving certificate issued in the then Northern province of Nigeria . Several have wondered how he got in the Army at the officer level and how and why he did not bother to improve his education, move up, all these years like others.
General Buhari is a beneficiary of that evil system called QUOTA SYSTEM IN NIGERIA . HE WAS ONE OF THE AHMADU BELLO BOYS who were admitted into the Army at a time the British were building our institutions as a newly independent Nation. Sardauna Bello did not care if his boys had the minimum qualification or not. What Sardauna Bello wanted, the British gave, out of mischief and contempt for the highly educated South!!
Well, the chicken has come back to roost. General Buhari does not have the barest minimum of educational qualification for the public office he is seeking. The Constitution of Nigeria , the 1999 military imposed Constitution is very clear about the minimum qualification required for a candidate seeking the office of the President of Nigeria . Chapter V1 Part 1, clause 131 (d) is quite clear on this issue. It says… “HE HAS BEEN EDUCATED UP TO AT LEAST SCHOOL CERTIFICATE LEVEL OR ITS EQUIVALENT”.
Beyond any iota of doubt, Standard 7 is not the equivalent of high school diploma. A two month course in England is not the equivalent of high school diploma neither is a 5 months course in the United States war college the equivalent of a Master’s degree as some will try to argue. We are not all stupid. Unfortunately, General Buhari did not see anything wrong, or corrupt about this illegality. I now appreciate what someone once called COMPENSATION IN PSYCHIATRY. General Buhari executed people for corruption; he jailed innocent people for life for corruption while he was the master of lies and distortions.
Now that the Army has denied it was in possession of his certificates which we knew all along, it is obvious then that General Buhari perjured himself while declaring on oath he had the minimum required to seek the office of president in Nigeria . No matter how much spin his supporters may want to put on it, General Buhari has failed to meet the minimum constitutional requirement for the office he is seeking and therefore must do the right thing which is to WITHRDAW HIS CANDIDATURE AND PUBLICLY APOLOGIZE TO NIGERIANS FOR LYING TO THEM ALL THESE YEARS.
He should not have attended all those courses he attended during his fictitious military career. He has not only lied to Nigerians, he lied to the war college in the USA and the other schools he attended in Britain and India . Hopefully, those schools will strip him of those certificates. Besides, the War College he attended in the USA was a 5 month course. Even then, the grape vine has it that the man never passed any of his exams. He was issued only a certificate of attendance. The same thing in Britain and India . Reason for his poor performance is very easy to figure out. He was way above his education level.
This is a glaring and sad example of the effect of the quota system in Nigeria . It is wrong; it encouraged mediocrity and breeds people with sense of entitlement like Mallam Buhari. I actually do not feel the man ought to be addressed as a General any longer. He failed Staff school, he failed all is classes in all the schools he attended overseas, therefore he does not qualify in the real sense of it to be addressed as one. The best thing, the decent thing to do now and again is to withdraw his candidature, refund the monies he collected illegally and then apologize to Nigerians for selling us a dummy. The fact that General Buhari knew he was not qualified for the post of president, yet defiantly sought this office is quite troubling. It betrays his sense of entitlement. It betrays his BORN TO RULE MENTALITY.
The courts must do the right thing now by dismissing this man from seeking a public office. The famous Toronto certificate saga of Salisu Buhari is still fresh in our memories. Even then, he had the minimum; he just failed in his attempt to sex up his resume. He was dismissed from the National Assembly. There had been a few cases of elected public officials losing their seats for falsification of records. General Buhari should not be an exception. He must not be allowed to cherry pick the part of the Constitution he wants.
In the event that this man wants to be considered for a waiver, then there must be a total Constitutional amendment which requires a two thirds vote of 240 out of the 360 members of the National Assembly. Since the election is just about two months away, we do not have time for an amendment. All what we should therefore do is to dismiss the candidature of this man. That will probably get political parties to be more stringent in the screening of their candidates.
Technically for now, he is no longer a candidate because he perjured himself in the affidavit he deposed to, and then he does not meet the minimum requirement for the office he is seeking. Enough is enough of quota candidate. The man is a classic fraud who should not be allowed to get away with his brazen act of fraud and forgery.
By VICTORIA PETERSIDE.
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