Posted by News Express | 21 January 2015 | 5,194 times
The Nigerian Army, on Tuesday, declared that “neither the original copy, certified true copy (CTC) nor statement of result of Major General Muhammadu Buhari’s West African School Certificate (WASC) result is in his personal file.”
The outgoing Director of Army Public Relations, Brigadier-General Olajide Laleye, who disclosed this at a news briefing in Abuja, said the letter of recommendation by the then principal of Provincial Secondary School, Katsina, in 1961, was in the file.
The principal’s recommendation letter read: “I recommend Muhammadu Buhari for military commission and that he considers that he will pass his school certificate in Maths, English and three other subjects.”
The principal signed the letter without the names appearing on it.
According to Laleye, records available indicated “that Major-General Buhari applied to join the military as a form six student of Provincial Secondary School, Katsina, on October 18, 1961. His application was duly endorsed by the principal of the school, who also wrote a report on him and recommend him to be suitable for military commission.”
He said it was a practice in the Nigerian Army that before candidates are shortlisted for commissioning into the officers’ cadre, the selection board would verify the original copies of credentials presented.
He, however, said there was no available record to show that the process was followed in the 1960s.
Laleye said the entry made on the Nigerian Army Form 199A at the point of documentation after commission as an officer indicated that Buhari obtained WASC in 1961 with credits in relevant subjects.
He said the entry on Nigerian Army Form 199A, which he displayed, also indicated that the former head of state stated that he obtained credits in English Language, Geography, History, Health Science, Hausa and a pass in English Literature.
The army chief noted that the Nigerian Army holds the retired senior officer in high esteem and respect and would not be a party to any controversy surrounding his eligibility for any political office.
Laleye said the media hype on Buhari’s credentials, as well as the numerous requests made by individuals and corporate bodies to the Nigerian Army on the issue had necessitated that the authorities provided the facts as contained in the retired senior officer’s service record.
“I hope this explanation will put to rest the raging controversy surrounding the secondary school credentials of Major-General Mohammed Buhari as it affects the Nigerian Army,” he said.
Reacting to the development, the All Progressives Congress (APC) insisted that its presidential candidate, Buhari, would still be constitutionally-qualified to run for presidency, despite the military disclosing he had no secondary school certificate with it.
It, however, warned that those allegedly bent on destroying Buhari on the basis of his certificates might end up destroying the country’s military.
In a statement issued in Lagos on Tuesday by its national publicity secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party warned that the PDP and the President Goodluck Jonathan-led administration were allegedly playing a dangerous game by trying to compromise the military in order to satisfy selfish political objectives.
It urged the military, as a symbol of national unity, to beware of those who may be seeking to use it to achieve selfish and divisive ends.
It said the statement credited to Laleye, at a press conference in Abuja, was in direct conflict with what he said on January 4, 2015 on the same issue.
“In an interview with the Punch on January 4, Brigadier-General Laleye said: ‘Every serving and retired army officer has at least a copy of his certficates and credentials kept in the Nigerian Army, while that same serving and retired officer has copies of those same certificates and credentials’.
“Is Brigadier-General Laleye now saying that he did not make that statement? If he did, what has happened between then and now to make him to recant? It will be interesting to know what has transpired,” APC said.
But more worrisome, the party said, was the statement credited to Brigadier-General Laleye that there was no evidence that the certificates of all those who joined the army in the early 1960s were verified by the selection board.
“Is he now saying that all those who were commissioned into the officer cadres in the 1960s did not have their certificates verified? Does this not confirm what we said that in trying to destroy Buhari, the PDP and the Jonathan-led administration will end up destroying the army as an institution? Or is it only Buhari that was commissioned into the army in the 1960s?’’ it said.
The party also quoted Buhari as saying in an affidavit on November 24, 2014 that “all my academic qualifications documents, as filled in my presidential form, President APC/001/2015, are currently with the Secretary, Military Board as of the time of this affidavit.’’
APC said in any case, even if the army now denied having the certificates, Buhari was still qualified to run for the country’s highest office, as stipulated by the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The party quoted Section 131(d) of the constitution: “A person shall be qualified for election to the office of President if he has been educated up to at least school certificate level or its equivalent.”
APC said the meaning and interpretation of “school certificate level or its equivalent can be found in the constitution under part IV, Section 318.
In that section, a “school certificate or its equivalent’’ is defined quite succinctly thus:
(a) a secondary school certificate or its equivalent, Grade II Teacher’s certificate, City and Guilds certificate; or
(b) education up to secondary school certificate level; or
(c) Primary Six School Leaving Certificate or its equivalent.
The party said since Laleye had now confirmed that Buhari indeed applied to join the Army when he was in Form Six and that the principal of the school he attended even attested to his suitability, with the form he filled containing his Secondary School certificate results, there was no scintilla of doubt about his qualification to run for president as stipulated by the Constitution.
•Text courtesy of Nigerian Tribune. Photo shows Army Spokesman, Brig.-Gen. Laleye.
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