The main opposition, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has asked President Muhammadu Buhari to present his academic credentials like other presidential candidates and stop bugging the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) with affidavits.
But the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in a swift reaction said the certificate issue was a dead one, and that the party was focused on salvaging Nigeria destroyed by the PDP.
The INEC, last Thursday published a list of candidates, who are participating in the 2019 presidential elections and their credentials.
But President Buhari, who is seeking a re-election, failed to provide his academic credentials, which is part of the requirements to qualify to contest elective positions in Nigeria.
The President had informed INEC that all his academic credentials, including his General Certificate of Education, were in the custody of the military.
The National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan reacting to the president’s failure to make available his credentials challenged Buhari to show proof of his ‘vaunted integrity’ by presenting his academic documents, if he has any to INEC and put an end to the certificate saga.
PDP in a statement yesterday in Abuja, said that a situation where Buhari has been dodging the certificate issue, raises huge questions of integrity, which demands that he provides his credentials, or apologise to Nigerians if he has none.
The opposition party said whereas its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, had submitted his educational and other relevant documents to INEC, Buhari was seeking ways to short-circuit the system, instead of complying with set rules.
Ologbondiyan pointed that Buhari should know by now that Nigerians are no longer interested in his claims in an affidavit wherein he stated: “I am the above-named person and the deponent of this affidavit herein. All my academic qualification documents as filled in my Presidential form, APC/001/2015 are currently with the Secretary of the Military Board as of the time of this affidavit.”
The party said that integrity strictly demands that Buhari, particularly as the Commander-in-Chief, “writes to the military authorities directing them to forward his claimed credentials to INEC, as requisite evidence of compliance with a key requirement for election into the office of the President, under section 131 (d) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).”
Ologbondiyan added: “President Buhari and the previous INEC succeeded in circumventing the law in 2015, and that does not make such acceptable in our current electoral process.
“Moreover, President Buhari and the APC must realise that even their followers that were beguiled in 2015, are currently not prepared to accept ‘NEPA bill’ as WAEC certificate in the 2019 elections.”
The PDP urged Buhari to do the needful so as not to cause any frictions that would put INEC under further pressure ahead of the 2019 general elections.
APC’s National Publicity Secretary, Lanre Issa-Onilu told THISDAY last night that the party was more concerned about how to salvage the country, instead of engaging in an unnecessary debate with the PDP.
“The PDP has not been able to come up with facts and figures to contradict Buhari’s educational qualifications. They should focus on vital issues affecting the country,” he said.