As the 2019 general elections draw nearer, there has been a renewed controversy over President Muhammadu Buhari’s academic credentials, especially after the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) disclosed that the president submitted an affidavit in place of his credentials.
He said the credentials are in possession of the military. This has elicited heated reactions from the main opposition party, the PDP, and other Nigerians questioning the veracity of the president’s claim.
This is not the first time President Buhari’s academic qualification is being brought to public scrutiny and questions.A similar scenario had also occurred in the buildup of the 2015 elections, with the president saying the military board has the credentials.
In 2016, perhaps lending credence to the president’s claim, Alex Ajayi, a former registrar, West African Examination Council (WAEC), had told The Punch newspaper in an interview that he issued Buhari’s certificate, alongside that of Sani Abacha and Ibrahim Babangida.
The newspaper had quoted Ajayi to have said: “…I joined the West African Examination Council as a pioneer staff. I was the first substantive Nigerian Assistant Registrar. I took over the control of the examination from the University of Cambridge. I took examiners to Cambridge for training across 10 years and trained them in Nigeria. I had the opportunity of issuing WAEC certificates to three former Heads of State: Buhari, Abacha and Babangida in the 60s.”
Meanwhile, the presidency has said the decision of the Peoples Democratic Party to go to court over President Buhari’s certificate saga is a waste of time.
This was stated on Monday, October 29, in a statement by Garba Shehu, the senior special assistant on media publicity to President Buhari.
Akahi News gathers that Shehu said the issue of the president’s certificate was settled. He said the presidency has the record of Buhari’s West African School Certificate and higher qualifications.
The statement read: “We have read that the failed Peoples Democratic Party is going to court to challenge the president’s West African School Certificate. This is a waste of time because we have the record of this and of higher qualifications obtained by hard work and truly merited by Mr President.
“This certificate story is an old one. As Femi Adesina stated clearly, it is a settled issue in the courts. To approach the court to pursue a matter long settled by the temple of justice is an abuse of the judicial system. It is shameful, disgusting and disgraceful.
“It is clear to all at this time that the PDP, facing an imminent humiliating defeat; wants to sow division and chaos by seeking the destruction of the institutional structures that support our young democracy.
“They are attacking the courts and the police; they are molesting INEC commissioners. They are theatrical in spreading falsehoods against persons including the president.
“By doing these, they assume that they can take away attention from the discussions on issues gaining momentum in the country; the issue of internal security which has been jeopardised by years of near-zero investment under 16 years of the PDP; the provision of long-delayed infrastructure which the president is pioneering; corruption to which the PDP is incurably tied and the sustenance of the prevailing good days in the economy, a business-friendly government working day and night, creating more jobs and affordable life for the poor.
“Their evil record can never be washed away. The PDP set a record of murdering opponents of government and corruption on a scale never seen anywhere before.”