Buhari clears the air on certificate saga today •APC lambasts Nigerian Army over controversy

Posted by News Express | 21 January 2015 | 4,779 times

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All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential candidate, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (rtd.), will today clear the air on the controversy surrounding his West African School Certificate (WASC).

Director of Media and Publicity of the APC Presidential Campaign Organisation, Garba Shehu, disclosed this in a statement he issued last night in Abuja. Garba said that Buhari will address a press conference on the issue today in Abuja.

This comes on the heels of the categorical declaration, yesterday by the Nigerian Army, that Buhari’s certificate is not in its custody.

The APC flagbearer had in an affidavit he deposed to at the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, on November 24, 2014 and submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on December 18, said that his certificates were with the military.

Buhari had written: “I am the above-named person and deponent to this affidavit therein. 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 presenting this affidavit. The affidavit is made in good faith and for record purposes.”

APC has, meanwhile, lambasted the army as well as the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and President Goodluck Jonathan over the issue. The party in a statement issued yesterday by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, APC accused PDP and Jonathan of attempting to compromise the army, describing the move as “a dangerous game” that could destroy the military.

APC 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.

Berating the army, Mohammed noted that its spokesman, Brig.-Gen. Olajide Olaleye, said in an interview published by The PUNCH on Jan. 4, 2015: “Every serving and retired Army officer has at least a copy of his certificates and credentials kept in the Nigerian Army while that same serving and retired officer has copies of those same certificates and credentials.”

APC asked: “Is Brig.-Gen. Olaleye 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 between then and now.”

More worrisome, according to the party, is Brig.-Gen. Olaleye statement 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 Gen. Buhari, the PDP and the Jonathan Administration will end up destroying the army as an institution? Or is it only Gen. Buhari that was commissioned into the army in the 1960s,” APC said.

According to the party, “What really is happening in our country if some politicians have now decided to engage in an action that will amount to dragging the military into politics, dividing an institution that is a symbol of national unity, trivialising the service of those who fought to keep Nigeria one and ridiculing the same country it is supposed to be ruling?

“We have said it before and will like to repeat: Enough is enough about this distraction orchestrated by the PDP and the Jonathan Administration whose electioneering campaign for next month’s polls has suffered a train wreck.”

Vigorously defending Buhari’s academic qualification, APC pointed out that the Nigerian Constitution requires a minimum of secondary school certificate or its equivalent for election to the office of the president.

The party quoted part IV, Section 318 of the Constitution which interprets “School Certificate level or its equivalent” as follows:

(a) A Secondary School Certificate or its equivalent, Grade II Teacher’s Certificate, the City and Guilds Certificate; or

(b) Education up to Secondary School Certificate Level; or

(c) Primary Six School Leaving Certificate or its equivalent and –

(i) service in the public or private sector in the Federation in any capacity acceptable to the Independent National Electoral Commission for a minimum of ten years, and

(ii) attendance at courses and training in such institutions as may be acceptable to the Independent National Electoral Commission for periods totalling up to a minimum of one year, and

(iii) The ability to read, write, understand and communicate in the English language to the satisfaction of the Independent National Electoral Commission, and

(d) Any other qualification acceptable by the Independent National Electoral Commission;

•Photo shows Buhari.

Source: News Express

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