24th January, 2015
National leaders of the Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) are believed to upset with the party’s Presidential Campaign Council over the controversy surrounding the secondary school certificate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential candidate, General Muhammadu Buhari.
The Nation reports that northern leaders are unhappy with the campaign council for ‘ridiculing’ Buhari over the school certificate issue when the facts are obvious. The Nation stated further that the campaign has backfired on President Goodluck Jonathan and may affect his chances at the polls.
“I am aware that most PDP leaders and members from the North are just unhappy because the little goodwill for the party in the region may be completely lost,” an unnamed northern leader said.
“Already, the PDP is fast losing ground in the North since the attacks on Buhari’s personality and credentials started. Some of those who have been sympathetic to PDP are now having a rethink. Some PDP leaders are already calling for a ceasefire on this certificate matter because it is portraying the party and its candidate, President Goodluck Jonathan, as desperate,” the PDP leader claimed.
Another respected PDP leader said: “Some of our leaders and members in the north are angry. They are trying to use the certificate saga to reopen old prejudices by the South that Northerners are largely uneducated or without certificates. In 1979, they did it to ex-President Shehu Shagari by deriding him as a mere Grade II teacher. This type of politics will certainly not help our party at all. We have been making representation to the PDP leadership to halt this hate campaign,” he asserted.
The PDP may also have breached Section 31(3-5) of the Electoral Act for joining issues with Buhari on the certificate matter.
Sources at the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) said the PDP should have laid its complaints between December 25, 2014 and January 1, 2015.The commission, in its timetable for the general elections fixed December 25, 2014 to January 1, 2015 for claims and objections. It was learnt that the PDP has failed to comply with three issues in Section 31 of the Electoral Act.
These are: Refusal to comply with the seven-day period for claims and objections; Failure to apply to the INEC for a copy of Buhari’s nomination form.
With the PDP yet to file any application before a High Court on Buhari’s credentials, Section 31(3-6) says: “The commission shall within seven days of the receipt of the personal particulars of the candidate publish same in the constituency where the candidate intends to contest the election.“A person may apply to the commission for a copy of the nomination form affidavit and any other document submitted by a candidate at an election and the commission shall, upon the payment of a prescribed fee, issue person with a certified copy of the documents within 14 days.
“Any person who has reasonable grounds to believe that any information given by a candidate in the affidavit or any document submitted by that candidate is false may file a suit at the Federal High Court, High Court of a state or FCT against such person seeking a declaration that the information contained in the affidavit is false.“If the court determines that any of the information contained in the affidavit of any document submitted by that candidate is false, the court shall issue an order disqualifying the candidate from contesting the election.”
A highly-placed source said: “The PDP is confused because there is no record showing that either the party or any of its leaders has applied for a copy of the nomination form of Buhari from the INEC. Instead, the party is just playing to the gallery in the media to heat up the polity. This is unfortunate for the nation’s political environment.
“As I am talking to you, the PDP is yet to comply with Section 31 of the Electoral Act on issues against Buhari. Meanwhile, the United States Army War College has opened up on how Gen. Buhari earned a Diploma from the elite institution.The testimony by the college also confirmed that Buhari obtained a higher certificate beyond the minimum requirement of the West African School Certificate (WASC) required to be the nation’s President.