The Presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in next month's polls, General Muhammadu Buhari, has promised to address the press on January 21, 2015, Wednesday, in Kano to clear the air over the controversy generated over his academic qualifications.
According to a statement released on Tuesday by Buhari's campaign team, the former Head of State will use the forum in Kano to clear the air over the controversy generated over his academic qualifications, in the wake of the disclosure by the Nigerian army spokesman that the army does not have a copy of his school certificate in his military record.
It would be recalled that Brig-. Gen. Olajide Laleye, the army spokesman, at a press conference in Abuja on Tuesday, said the Nigerian Army does not have the original, certified true copy or statement of results of retired Major General Buhari.
Laleye said that the entry made on the Nigerian Army Form 199A at the point of documentation after Buhari was commissioned as an officer, indicated that the former Head of State obtained the West African School Certificate (WASC) in 1961, “With credits in relevant subjects: English Language, Geography, History, Health Science, Hausa and a pass in English Literature.
“Neither the original copy, certified true copy (CTC) nor statement of result of Major-.Gen. Mohammadu Buhari ‘s WASC result is in his personal file."
The army spokesman added that the 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.
He said that suffice to state that Buhari rose steadily to the enviable rank of Major General before becoming the Head of State of the country in December 1983.
“The media hype on the retired Buhari’s credentials as well as numerous requests made by individuals and cooperate bodies to the Nigerian Army on this issue have necessitated that we provide the facts as contained in the retired senior officer’s service records.
“Records available indicate that Buhari applied to join the military as a form six student of the Provincial Secondary School, Katsina, on Oct. 18, 1961.
“His application was duly endorsed by the principal of the school, who also wrote a report on him and recommended him to be suitable for military commission.
“It is a practice in the Nigerian Army that before candidates are shortlisted for commissioning into the officers’ cadre of the service, the selection board verifies the original copies of credentials as presented.
“There is no available record to show that this process was followed in the 1960s,” Laleye said.
Since the Nigerian Army came out with the disclosure, many supporters of incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan are making a capital out of the press statement, saying that Buhari should be disqualified from contesting the election.
Recalled that the Nigerian constitution prescribes a minimum academic qualification of senior school certificate or its equivalent to candidates for the Nigerian presidency.
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A group called Northern Youth Forum (NYF) had last week called on Buhari to submit his educational certificates to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
According to a press statement released and signed by the National President of the group, Bello Gambo Bichi, in Kano on Saturday, the group stated that Buhari’s failure to provide his certificates to the INEC would automatically put his supporters to shame and ridicule.
The group, while dismissing Buhari’s statement that the original copies of his certificates were in the custody of the military authorities, reminded him that such a claim was not enough to fulfill the constitutional requirement.
Also, Buhari had at a press conference held in Abuja at the weekend wondered where his accusers were when INEC cleared him to contest elections in 2003, 2007 and 2011.
“I have contested three times under the same rules set by the INEC. I was allowed to contest all these elections because my certificate was in order and there were individuals that wrote to the United States War College and the college answered them and it was published by some of your papers. So really this desperation of misinformation that is being passed around will do nobody any good because our minds are being taken away from the serious issues of corruption and incompetence by the PDP.”