20th January, 2015
The All Progressives Congress (APC) has warned that those who are bent on destroying its Presidential Candidate, Maj.-Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, on the basis of his certificates may 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 Jonathan Administration are playing a dangerous game by trying to compromise the military in order to satisfy selfish political objectives, and urged the military, as a symbol of national unity, to beware of those who may be seeking to use it to achieve selfish and divise ends.
It said the statement credited to the Nigerian Army Director, Army Public Relations, Brig-Gen. Olajide Olaleye, at a press conference in Abuja on Tuesday, that the Army is not in possession of Gen. Buhari’s certificates, is in direct conflict with what he said on Jan. 4th 2015 on the same issue.
”In an interview with the Punch on Jan. 4th 2015, Brig.-Gen. Olaleye 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 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,” APC said.
But more worrisome, the party said, is the statement credited to Brig.-Gen. Olaleye 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,” it said.
The party also quoted Gen. Buhari as saying in an affidavit on 24/11/2014 that ”All my academic qualifications documents as filled in my presidential form, President APC/001/2015 are currently with the Secretary Military Board as at the time of this affidavit.”
”Those who are behind the latest controversy should now tell Nigerians what happened to Gen. Buhari’s certificates between the time of his affidavit and now,” it said.
APC said in any case, even if the Army now says it does not have the certificates of Gen. Buhari, he is still very 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 ot equivalent” is defined quite succinctly thus:
(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.
The party said since Brig.-Gen. Olaleye has now confirmed that Gen. Buhari indeed applied to join the Army from form six, that the principal of the school he attended even attested to his suitability, and that the form he filled contained his Secondary School Certificate results, there is no scintilla of doubt about his qualification to run for president as stipulated by the Constitution.
”However, we know that the PDP and the Jonathan Administration have constituted themselves into a court of law and will like nothing more than the disqualification of our candidate so they will face no challenge in next month’s election. This is wishful thinking,” it said.
APC said the PDP and the Jonathan Administration should expend their energy on how to revive their floundering campaign instead of seeking the disqualification of its (APC) candidate.
On the contradictions in the statements credited to the Army spokesman, the party said: ”It is true that our once globally-respected military has now been made comatose by the PDP-led Federal Government, but we believe things have not reached the level where the same military will be engaging in actions that amount to self destruction, just to satisfy some political interests.
”We believe things have not reached a level where we, as a nation, will now be giving the impression that a man who rose to become a Major-General in the Nigerian Army does not have requisite qualifications?
”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, trivializing 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,” the party said