Monday, January 26, 2015

On Buharis Certificate……..


I follow the campaigns of President Goodluck Jonathan and Gen Muhamadu Buhari and they have been interesting.  Parties and their spokesmen have thrown caution to the winds in their bid to promote their candidate as the best thing Nigeria deserves. They have done this without regards for the potential effects their hate speech and adverts may have. Rather than engage in issue- based campaigns, they have embarked on mudslinging and smear campaigns. This has shown that the major actors- PDP and APC are scared and desperate!
I do not support or believe in any of the candidates. It is highly disappointing that President Jonathan’s incompetence and non-performance has made Gen Buhari “the best”. I still wonder how APC delegates and the Party itself can claim they cannot provide a better candidate.

Sadly, the campaigns of both candidates have ignored salient issues that affect ordinary Nigerians. President Jonathan’s "best achievements" are agriculture and provision of trains! He has no manifesto for the next four years,  whilst APC is campaigning on the promise of cash transfers, providing security and revamping the economy without stating how it will be done. Issues that border on the falling economy, the dropping oil prices, declining reserves, reliance on petrodollars, infrastructure development and the first duty of government which is the protection of lives and property is not being addressed. Rather the campaigns especially that of PDP, has focused on mundane issues, bashing and tarnishing the image of the other party.
One of such is the allegation against Buhari on his eligibility to contest “as he seem not to have gone through primary and secondary school”. This allegation is interesting and amusing because whoever conceived this allegation as a smear campaign did not think of the ripple effect – if we were a country that asked questions and followed through- on Nigeria system as a whole. This begs questions like: what has this government been doing? The rot and impunity (the impunity that is so rife that the government tolerates any and everything).Nigeria is suffering its own version of the broken window theory. The rot that has eaten into the system is so deep that I don’t see a way any human being can clean this up in the nearest future.
I digress. Back to Buharis certificate my thoughts are as follows:
Buhari is contesting for the office of the president of Nigeria for the 4th time (2nd time against President Jonathan) how come the issue of eligibility is just coming up?
If the allegation is true, are the sponsors of this campaign telling us that INEC is not credible enough to do its job of verifying candidate eligibility and conducting elections? This calls into the question the eligibility of all those who are contesting and have contested and won elections from the Councilors and Local government chairmen to the National Assembly and Presidency as we are unsure INEC followed  due process.  Would we be able to trust the outcome of this election? Isn't this an indication of gross incompetency and failure in keeping proper records?
If the allegation is true, is the Nigerian government telling us that the Nigerian Army has also failed due process in Army recruitment and verification of records?

An army spokesman today in a press conference said:
“Records available indicate that Major General M Buhari applied to join the military as a Form Six student of the Provincial Secondary School, Katsina on 18 Oct 61. 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 NA that before candidates are shortlisted for commissioning into the officers’ cadre of the Service, the Selection Board verifies the original copies of credentials that are presented.
However, there is no available record to show that this process was followed in the 1960s.

Nevertheless, the entry made on the NA Form 199A at the point of documentation after commission 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 General M Buhari's WASC result is in his personal file” (read here). 
How can one explain that a man can rise up to the prestigious level of a Major General and at no point was any verification done on his records and eligibility to hold the position he did?
In another vein, Chapter 6, Section 131 of the 1999 constitution states:
131. A person shall be qualified for election to the office of the President if -
(a) he is a citizen of Nigeria by birth;
(b) he has attained the age of forty years;
(c) he is a member of a political party and is sponsored by that political party; and
(d) he has been educated up to at least School Certificate level or its equivalent.
The Constitution in section 318 clarifies what school certificate means as:
"School Certificate or its equivalent" means
(a) a Secondary School Certificate or its equivalent, or 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 totaling 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;

I conclude that public institutions are being politicized (que- Department of State Security and Nigerian Army) and this is a dangerous trend.  I suspect there is a certificate eating rat in the Army’s records office.Where do we go from here?  Who will tow the path of clean campaigns?

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