Wednesday, 21 January 2015

PDP lawyers to party: you can’t stop Buhari in court


LEGAL experts have advised the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) not to launch  a legal battle over Gen. Muhammadu Buhari’s certificates.
Gen. Buhari is the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the February 14 election.
The PDP’s plan, The Nation learnt, is to go to court in a bid to stop Gen. Buhari on the ground that his certificates are not with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The army said yesterday that Gen. Buhari obtained the West African School Certificate (WASC) in 1961. But, said the army, the original copies of his certificates could not be found in his file.
It was also learnt that apart from the court, INEC can also determine Gen. Buhari’s fate.
If in the opinion of INEC Gen. Buhari can contest, no one can stop the APC candidate, lawyers said.
The PDP leadership and some Presidency officials sought legal advice on how to get Gen. Buhari disqualified, a source told The Nation, pleading not to be named because of what he described as the “sensitivity” of the matter.
But they were shocked to learn that it was all a wild goose chase.
The legal advice made available to the party indicated that Gen. Buhari cannot be stopped because Section 318 of the 1999 says any candidate can contest for elective office with a minimum of school certificate or its equivalent.
The section also does not say a candidate must pass or fail the school certificate examination or its equivalent, which could be a primary school certificate or the ability to read or write in English.
Also, if a candidate has served in the public sector for up to 10 years, this could be the equivalent of a school certificate.
A highly-placed source said: “The legal advice sought by PDP has confirmed that even if the party goes to court, it cannot stop Buhari. The party is in a state of confusion because it has to face the electoral battle with APC.
The 1999 Constitution is explicit in its interpretation of Section 131 of the 1999 Constitution by Section 318.
Section 131 states: “A person shall be qualified for election to the office of President if (a) he is a citizen of Nigeria by birth; (b) he has attained the age of forty (40) years; (c )he is a member of a political party; and (d) he has been educated up to at least School Certificate level or its  equivalent.
“In  Section 318, School certificate or 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(INEC) for a minimum of  10 years; and
“(ii) attendance at courses and training in such institutions as may be acceptable to the Independent National Electoral Commission for periods totalling 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 (INEC); and
“(d) Any other qualification acceptable by INEC.”
Another source said the PDP has realized its folly because it did not seek legal opinion before raising false alarms that Gen. Buhari is unqualified to contest.
The source added: “The PDP leaders have realised that all their alarms over Gen. Buhari’s certificate amounted to nothing.
“Out of shame, they have decided to keep their findings under wraps.”
Another reliable source in PDP said: “We have been briefed that there is little we can do to stop Gen. Buhari.”
In Abuja, the Army on former Head of State Gen. Mohammadu Buhari’s academic records, saying the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate obtained the West African School certificate (WASC) in 1961.
The Army however added that the original copy, Certified True Copy, or statement of Buhari’s WASC result could not be found in his file.
Director of Army Public Relations, Brigadier-General Olajide Laleye who who addressed a press conference at the Army Headquarters said:
“Records available indicate that Major General Muhammadu Buhari applied to join the military as a Form Six student of the Provincial Secondary School, Katsina on October 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 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 in 1961 with credits in relevant subjects.”
He listed the subjects to include: English Language, Geography, History, Health Science, Hausa and English Literature.
“Neither the original copy, Certified True Copy (CTC) nor statement of result of Major General Buhari’s WASC result is in his personal file.
“I hope this explanation will put to rest the raging controversy surrounding the secondary school credentials of Major General Muhammadu Buhari as it affects the Nigerian Army”.
The Army spokesman said the military holds Gen. Buhari in high esteem and would not be party to any controversy surrounding his eligibility for any political office.
“Suffice to state that Major General Buhari rose steadily to the enviable rank of Major General before becoming the Head of State of our dear country in December 1983.
“The media hype on retired Major General Muhammadu Buhari’s credentials as well as the numerous requests made by individuals and corporate bodies to the Nigerian Army on this issue have necessitated that we provide the facts as contained in the retired senior officer’s service record,” Gen. Laleye stated.

Controversy on my certificate, a PDP mischief – Buhari

Gen. Buhari addressing journalists in Kano, Wednesday. Photo: Kolade Adeyemi
The presidential candidate of the All Progressive Congress (APC), Gen. Muhammad Buhari, Wednesday in Kano made clarifications on his West Africa School Certificate, describing the controversy generated by the matter as sheer mischief orchestrated by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Buhari, who spoke to reporters at Kano State Government House, explained that he initially presumed that the certificate was with the Nigeria Army, until the military high Command proved otherwise.
He, however, urged the PDP and President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan’s campaign team to give priority to issues like insecurity, official corruption, poverty and unemployment, instead of mischief and name-calling.
The former head of state also claimed that he sat for WASCE in 1961 with examination number 8200002, adding that he has formerly requested for the certificate from the Provincial Secondary School, Katsina, now Government College Katsina, which he attended.
He promised to present his certificate to the general public in due cause.
Buhari said, “I only will read the statement and I will encourage you and advise you to do what you know best. I consented to address you this morning because of the general concern of my many supporters and well-meaning Nigerians that the issue be addressed. Otherwise, I would have dismissed it for what it is—a sheer mischief, and will not have considered it an issue.
“ I assumed all along, all my records were in the custody of the Military Secretary of the Nigerian Army, a position I have been privileged to occupy myself, much to my surprise, we are now told that although, a record of the result is available, there are no copies of the certificate in my personal file. This is why I formerly requested my old school—the Provincial Secondary School, Katsina, which is now known as Government College, Katsina, to make available the school copy of the result of the Cambridge West African School Certificate. This will be made available to the press the moment this is available.
“However, let me say for the record that I attended Provincial Secondary School, Kaduna. I graduated in 1961, with many prominent Nigerians, including Shehu Musa Yar’Adua, former Chief of Staff in the Supreme Headquarters; and Justice Umar Abdullahi, former President of the Court of Appeal. We sat for the University of Cambridge WASCE examination together in 1961, the year we graduated.
“My examination number was 8200002 and I passed the examination in the Second Division, and although the ruling party may want to wish this away, the issue in this campaign may not be my certificate which I obtained 52 years ago. The issues are the scandalous level of unemployment of millions of our people, the state of the insecurity, the pervasive official corruption which has improvised our people and the lack of concern of the government to do anything order than deification of power at all cost.”

The Nation.

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Army speaks on Buhari’s certificate


The Nigerian Army on Tuesday responded to the controversy surrounding the educational certificate of the presidential candidate of the All Progressive Congress (APC), Gen. Mohammadu Buhari.
The Director of Army Public Relations, Brig. General Olajide Olaleye, at a press conference in Abuja, said neither the original copy, Certified True Copy (CTC) nor statement of result of Buhari’s WASC results is in his personal file.
Olaleye, however, said Buhari’s application was duly endorsed by the Principal of Provincial Secondary School, Katsina, who also wrote a report and recommended him as suitable for military commission.
Full text of Olaleye’s statement on the issue reads:
“I will begin with the Major General Muhammadu Buhari certificate controversy. Gentlemen, let me state clearly that the Nigerian Army holds the retired senior officer in very high esteem and respect and would not be a party to any controversy surrounding his eligibility for any political office. Suffice to state that Major General Buhari rose steadily to the enviable rank of Major General before becoming the Head of State of our dear country in December 1983.
“The media hype on retired Major General Muhammadu Buhari’s credentials as well as the numerous requests made by individuals and corporate bodies to the Nigerian Army on this issue have necessitated that we provide the facts as contained in the retired senior officer’s service record. 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 October 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 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. However, neither the original copy, Certified True Copy (CTC) nor statement of result of Major General Muhammadu Buhari’s WASC result is in his personal file.
“I hope this explanation will put to rest the raging controversy surrounding the secondary school credentials of Major General Mohammed Buhari as it affects the Nigerian Army.”

The Nation.

Count us out of Fayose’s death-wish advert – PDP

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential campaign organisation has distanced itself from the controversial death-wish advertorial authored by the Ekiti State Governor, Ayo Fayose.
In the said advertisement, published in two national newspapers, Fayose had listed a former military head of state, the late Gen. Murtala Mohammed who was assassinated in the failed military coup of February 13, 1976. Murtala hailed from Kano State.
He also listed the former military dictator, the late Gen. Sani Abacha who died in office on June 8, 1998.
Abacha also hailed from Kano. Fayose had followed it up with the late President Umaru Yar A’dua, who similarly died in office on May 9, 2010, two years after he was elected.
The Ekiti governor then warned Nigerians against voting for the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, predicting that if elected, Buhari too would die in office.
Reacting to the advertisement on Tuesday, the Director of Media and Publicity of the PDP presidential campaign organisation, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, said the views expressed in the publication were personal to Fayose.
According to him, the message in the said advertorial did not in any way reflect the views of the PDP presidential campaign organisation, adding that questions regarding the advertisement should be directed to the Ekiti State Governor.
Fani-Kayode said: “Governor Ayo Fayose is a distinguished leader of our party. A democratically elected governor and someone we have immense respect and affection for, but he released this advert in his own name.
“That represents his own personal opinion which he is entitled to. What I can tell you on our part as the presidential campaign organisation is that does not represent the opinion of the campaign organisation or indeed that of the President.
“It is his opinion which he is entitled to and he is somebody that we have immense respect for, he is a leading member of the party. I have spoken with him and we respect him, but for anybody to suggest that this is the position of the presidential campaign organisation or President Goodluck Jonathan that will be most unfair.
“If we wanted to say something like that we will say it without any kind of apology but of course we will never say that because we believe in the sanctity of life. Age is not a function of how long you will live. It is important that we recognize the fact that age is not an indication of how long somebody will live.
“We believe strongly that we must continue to show immense respect for the person of Gen. Buhari in terms of his person and his health, though we believe it is important to always raise questions about facts, you know what these questions are and we will continue to raise them.”

The Nation.

The Certificate Brouhaha

Although it’s been no less a distraction to the dingy campaigns, the certificate debacle of the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, General Muhammadu Buhari, should be addressed for the record, write Shola Oyeyipo and Ojo M. Maduekwe
Spare a thought and ponder this: does the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), General Muhammadu Buhari, possess the minimum requirement by law to be Nigeria’s president? More than any other discrediting allegation against Buhari by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in any election year, this particular question has generated the most controversy and indeed, bears both the moral and legal burden.
It began with a statement credited to the National Secretary of the PDP, Professor Wale Oladipo, describing Buhari as a “semi-literate jackboot”. Oladipo, who had compared Jonathan to Buhari as a case of light and darkness, said the February 14 presidential election was “between a cosmopolitan highly focused PhD holder and a semi-literate jackboot”.
Reacting to character, the APC had quickly refuted what it considered an insult to a man it holds in very high esteem. The barrage of claims and counter claims that later strewn the various news media and continue to do so, coupled with the PDP insistence on Buhari proving them wrong, is what has kept this controversy alive.
Until the controversy becomes a legal matter, it may continue to be regarded as a political tool by the PDP to discredit Buhari. Unlike the other allegations of Buhari being a sectional leader and the APC being the political wing of the terrorist group, Boko Haram, this particular certificate controversy does not look like it will fizzle out of public discourse any time soon.
A jittery PDP is clinging to it badly and has succeeded in sustaining the tempo. During some of their campaign rallies, they have continued to put it forward as a campaign subject. The Ondo State Governor, Olusegun Mimiko, at the recent PDP kick-off campaign in Lagos, said “We will not settle for a president with less than a university degree.”
When President Goodluck Jonathan campaigned in Ekiti, the State Governor, Ayodele Fayose, maintained the argument. “Anybody who wants to be the president of this country must have the necessary qualification… Let General Buhari flaunt his certificate if he has got them,” Fayose said.
In practically all his campaign rally, Buhari has not come out by himself to refute the PDP allegation. Rather, the defence he’s put up so far are from his aides, associates, party members and supporters. Failing to answer the question if Buhari has the required certificate or not, which allows him by law to aspire to the position of the president, they have argued that since the matter was not an issue in 2003, 2007 and 2011, why did the PDP bring it up now.
His media aide, Mr Rotimi Fashakin, believes it is not only political, but also a plot by the army to ridicule Buhari. “They are just looking for something to hold desperately to be able to prevent Buhari… Before now, General Buhari had contested elections for three occasions. Are you going to say that he didn’t present any certificate for those three times?”
Fashakin maintained that there was “no case” to be submitted since Buhari had risen to be a Major General in the army and also attained the position of a military Head of State. According to Fashakin, Buhari’s rise in the army could not have been possible without his credentials, which he said were “well documented by the Army in those days”.
Emanating from Fashakin’s argument, counter-arguments have been raised, questioning the position of the APC and Buhari. First is what the law says about eligibility to contest the presidency. Described as lacking in substance, many of the arguments made by supporters of the APC, rather than nip the controversy in the bud, have succeeded in creating in people the desire to see if Buhari is indeed one who respects the rule of law.
There are opinions that if Buhari indeed completed his secondary school education, and did not drop out midway to join the military, a predictable Buhari would have made his certificate public. Failing to do this, and personally answer questions regarding the issue, has aided PDP’s attack on Buhari. His continued silence is being construed as an acceptance of guilt, which has brought his much touted integrity to question.
To answer the question that has been thrown up by the controversy, a precedence would be set for how politicians regard the electoral laws pertaining to qualifications for participating in elections into public office. Nigerians are looking at an issue which could be used to argue the annulment of the February 14 presidential election should Buhari win.
According to a constitutional lawyer, Mike Ozekhome (SAN), how the controversy is handled “is very crucial to our democratic norms and values.” Many are already projecting that if Buhari wins the election, this will set a bad precedence. According to them, what moral right will his government have in asking others to present certificates before employment as civil servants or screening as ministerial appointees by the National Assembly?
From all indications, Buhari may have failed to complete his secondary school education before joining the army, where he rose to the position of a Major General and then later through a coup, became a military Head of State. His supporters are asking: “What is the need of a certificate to become president?” But the law requires that he must have one to lead Nigeria.
Chapter 6, Section 131 of the 1999 Constitution says 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.
Ozekhome, during an interview said Buhari was not qualified to contest the election. According to him, “I know that Nigerians would be curious about why this matter is just coming up for the first time and after all this man had contested the last three presidential elections”.
The problem, according to Ozekhome, is that past INEC forms simply provided that the candidates state their qualifications without providing proof. “But right now, the rules have changed. Form CF001 says apart from filling your qualifications, you must attach them; you must attach photocopies of your qualifications and to attach means to bind; it means to glue-to.”
Ozekhome, according to a THISDAY report, argued that “Section 131 of the Constitution was very clear that the certificate must have not below school certificate level, or its equivalent, and its equivalent means GCE, WASC, NECO, etc; those are the equivalents”.
To exonerate Buhari of any wrongdoing, some supporters of the APC have sought to compare his swearing to an affidavit as a replacement to having a certificate, to be similar to the action taken by the vice-president of the PDP, Namadi Sambo, who declared in a document that his Bachelors and Masters’ degree certificates were consumed by fire.
But Ozekhome argued that “If you do not have any of these qualifications, what you will do is to apply to WAEC or NECO, and say my certificates are lost, burnt or stolen by armed robbers; I want you to issue me a letter certifying that I have this qualification. That was what happened in the case of the vice-president, Namadi Sambo.”
Sambo, according to reports, filed a document which were received and stamped by INEC “between December 10 and 18 2014 and validated by two letters from the ABU”. Notwithstanding, Sambo is reported as possessing the minimum qualification, which Buhari has failed to provide, but insists in his affidavit to be with the Secretary of the Military Board.
In an interview with a national daily, the Army Public Relations Director, Brig-Gen. Olajide Laleye, was reported as saying, “Every serving and retired Army officer has at least a copy of his certificates and credentials kept in the Nigerian Army while that same serving and retired officer has copies of those same certificates and credentials.” According to Laleye, there is a laid down procedure for requesting for one’s certificates, which was well known to all serving and retired officer.
“If you want anything checked in your file, you simply follow the due process and it would be given to you because the credentials belong to you”. He said the Nigerian Army does not refuse to anybody his credentials if due process is followed. “Not only does the Nigerian Army keep these things, the individual officers, whether serving or retired, have copies”.
On that claim, Ozekhome said Buhari referring INEC to the Military Board for his certificate was like a job interviewee asking his interviewer to go to the last place where he worked and get his certificate.
“It is like, as an applicant, you want a job, you come before your interviewers; your interviewers say, we have looked at the form you filled for this job; we have not seen your certificates; and you say, the last place I worked, they have photocopy of my certificates, go and ask them. That is wrong”.
What is right is that by the 1999 Constitution, Buhari who is highly seen as a man of integrity and whose campaign thrust has been to put an end to official corruption is expected by law and moral certification to provide the required minimum certificate, or in a situation where that is not possible, the moral thing that is required of him would be to own up and save his integrity.
Although that is the moral thing to do, Buhari is not likely to do that because doing so can cost his party the presidential election. The other option is by going ahead with the election, and if he wins, the 2010 Electoral Act as amended, empowers the PDP to seek redress in court.
Section 31 subsection 5 of the Act states that “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”.
The certificate controversy is a tricky one for several reasons. According to the electoral guidelines by INEC, December 30 2014 marked the last day for withdrawal of candidates and replacement of withdrawn candidates by political parties. Any decision now is left with the court. Now, due to the proximity of the elections, getting a judgement from the court on the matter appears impossible.
Again, the issue is a tricky one for even the election management body, INEC. The PDP had accused INEC of cover up, preferring instead that Buhari be disqualified from contesting. In response and according to the law, INEC has asked the PDP to take their matter to court; that the law does not empower it to disqualify but accept candidates presented to it by political parties.
Speaking on the options available to the PDP penultimate Sunday, the Commissions Director for Voter Education and Publicity, Mr. Wale Uzzi, and its Director for Legal Services, Mr. Ibrahim Bawa, stressed that “In line with Section 31 of the Electoral Act, the commission has no powers to disqualify any candidate whose name has been submitted to INEC.
“This is the power of the law and it is expected that a political party in the calibre of the PDP should know this aspect of the provision of the law. If the PDP feels strongly about this matter, it knows what to do. It should take him to court and that is the only option”.
Left only with the court option, the PDP and APC have continued to relish in claims and counter-claims – both trying to amass support from the voters in a matter that can only be decided by the court. While the PDP is insistent that Buhari cannot contest the election, the APC has asked them to focus on issue-based campaigns and quit arguing about the certificate.
A statement by the Directorate of Media and Publicity of the APC presidential campaign and made available to THISDAY, asked Jonathan to address the country on the Baga killing, and stop being “insensitive” but “account to Nigerians” for the lives lost to the Boko Haram in Baga.
“The issue of certificate of General Buhari is a non-issue as everyone knows that Buhari is a product of Daura Primary School, Katsina, Provisional Secondary School (now Government College, Katsina), and the Nigerian Military Training College. This is in addition to several other courses he attended at home and abroad,” the statement claimed.
The media director of the PDP Presidential Campaign Organisation, Femi Fani-Kayode, on his part, said “The inability of the All Progressives Congress, General Muhammadu Buhari, to present even the minimum requirement of just a school leaving certificate questions his moral and other credentials for pursuing the position of the president of Nigeria”.
Director General of the PDP Presidential Campaign Organisation, Ahmadu Ali, in Ado-Ekiti last week, at a campaign rally organised for Jonathan, told the crowd that Ekiti had more than 60 per cent of all the professors in Nigeria, and so the people, “have no business voting for somebody whose schools’ certificates we have just been informed were not available”.
Former Kogi State Commissioner for Information and founder, The Broom Platform, an online platform for the promotion of Buhari candidacy, Dr. Tom Ohikere, said the PDP cannot question Buhari’s integrity.
“It is an absurdity and aberration for the PDP to claim that General Buhari has no school leaving certificate. It is an insult to our military authority for a political party to politicise that Buhari was admitted into the Army and has risen through all file and ranks without basic qualification and even to have risen to the position of the Head of State.
“The PDP has insulted the nation in the comity of nations. Gen Buhari, having passed through the same school and passed out same time with late General Musa Yar’ Adua, earned a school leaving certificate. If I may ask, when has a well deposed court affidavit become questionable? It behooves the receiving authority to investigate any doubtable claim in an affidavit for authentication.
“I’m sure that has been done by INEC and therefore the reason they are disregarding PDP barking dogs,” he said.
The National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, also expressed disgust and described the claim that the party’s presidential flag bearer does not possess primary school certificate, as a smear campaign with its attendance consequences on the image of Nigeria and the military in particular.
“It is disgusting. These are clearly people who have no issue to campaign about and who have resorted to smear campaign. But does it make sense to say that a man that rose to the position of a general in the military does not have a primary school certificate? I can assure you that in a short while we will bring the issue to a close.
“They think are bringing down the person of Buhari; but what they are saying is that the Nigeria military is made up of illiterates. They are belittling our Army before the international world. Don’t be surprised in the near future, if a Nigerian general is to lead an international contingent and the people refuse on the grounds that Nigerian generals are illiterates.
“How can they say a man who attended the Nigeria War College does not have primary school certificate? Interestingly, despite their efforts to discredit the man, the general is getting more popular. Was it not one of Nigerian footballers that said ‘if it was just the NEPA bill that the general possesses,’ he would vote for him? You see, it is ridiculous!” he lamented.
Lagos lawyer and human right activist, Mr. Festus Keyamo believes that the ruling PDP is only chasing after the shadow when it is getting the signal that the coming election may not be in its favour, stressing that the argument lacks substance.
“There is nothing in it. They are just blowing the issue out of proportion. Everywhere, you can use any affidavit in lieu of a certificate you cannot lay your hands on, so far you stated the school you attended and it would be the discretion of the commission to accept it or not.
“The PDP appears that they are losing an argument and are resorting to personal attack. I’m coming out with a bombshell. I’m writing a full piece about the qualities of leadership.
“Leadership is not a function or consequence of academic qualification. If it were so, then we should go to the ivory tower and pick the best qualified professor and make him the president. There would be no need for election. But leadership is always a divine gift that is noticeable even at primary school level or infantry level.
“You will notice leadership at that level in some people by the way they mobilise their classmates,” Keyamo said, arguing that the certificate issue be put aside for some more fundamental issues.
Similarly, a Lagos-based constitution lawyer, Mr. Fred Agbaje, who examined the issue from both legal and political perspectives, said the allegation being cropped up against Buhari is a “non-issue.” While he insisted that having risen to the rank of Major General in the military, he could not be said to be an illiterate, he also contended that what should matter at this point is who is most suitable to get the country out of its economic crisis.
Agbaje also maintained that for as long as it is the PDP that is bringing up the issue, Buhari has no need to bother about it, since the burden of prove lies absolutely with those accusing him of not possessing the certificate.
“To me, that topic is a no-issue. Blame your constitution not Buhari. It is too late to blame Buhari. If there is any defect, it is the constitution that should be blamed. The constitution says ‘school certificate attempt,’ not that you should pass it.
“The man said he attended elementary school and the military school and by the way, the Nigerian Defense Academy (NDA) is an equivalent of primary school certificate. Are you saying a man who went through the rank to get to the rank of a Major General is not qualified to rule Nigeria? As far as I’m concerned, it is not an issue. The question of who can fix the economy should rather be what we are asking now,” he said.
As far as the law is concerned, he said Buhari has nothing to worry about because “It is those making the allegation that must prove it. Buhari has no work to do in respect of the allegation.”
Also, a Lagos-based paint manufacturer, Mr. Akinusi Isaac, shares Mohammed’s view, when he expressed the position that the campaign against Buhari is simply an attempt to get him off the race because of his popularity and the determination of Nigerians to elect him as a replacement to the incumbent government of President Jonathan.
“It is too late for the PDP to bring up such issue. It would have been easier for them to use such claim to disqualify him if he had not been a past Head of State – in such situation, they could be saying that.
“Now, it is obvious that they are just finding one way or the other to disqualify him because they are afraid of him. But as far as I’m concerned, either he has certificate or not, he is the most matured and experienced leader that Nigeria needs as at now. We could judge from what he had done. They should go and check the records to see the goods he has done to this country in the past.
“Then apart from that, what is the value of an educated leader whose impact is not felt by the people. In fact, some of the so-called educated persons seem to have gone to school to learn how to steal our commonwealth,” he said.
But former House of Representatives member, who represented Kabba/Bunu/Jjumu Federal Constituency, Hon. Duro Meseko, felt the APC presidential candidate could be suspected for not having approached the Army to request for the certificate.
“Of course, there is genuine reason to suspect General Buhari for the fact that he has refused to apply to the Army Council for the release of photocopies of his certificates.  It’s gravely suspect that despite the outrage this has generated, the APC candidate has continued to keep an undignifying silence. There must be some cover-up somewhere,” he claimed.
A source in the presidency, who in fact is a member of the presidential campaign committee of President Jonathan, also took a similar stand as Meseko. He suspected that two things must have happened – that it is either that he attended the school but was drafted into the military without completing his education, or that he attended the school but failed woefully and could not present the certificate of failures to Nigerians.
“Let me tell you, some of the likely scenarios that may have played up in the Buhari matter. Being a Northerner myself, even me that I graduated in 1980, work was waiting for me. Then considering the time people like General Buhari attended school, it was a time of low man power in the North.
“Remember that the Nigerian independence was delayed because the North complained of low man power. So it is likely that he didn’t graduate from the school before he was drafted into the Army, or that he didn’t pass and he didn’t want Nigerians to see his failures.
“He is supposed to show proof of attendance and that is the result. If you don’t have the result you couldn’t be claiming to have attended a school. It is either you never attended the school or you are hiding it from the people so that they do not see your F9s,” the source argued.
There is no doubting the fact that the matter has assumed an annoyingly distracting twist, this however does not change the fact that the APC and its candidate must address the matter, particularly on the grounds of morality and integrity if all it appears to be doing is undermine the legal angle to it.
Understandably, some have called this controversy a distraction; others insist that the law must be followed to the letter. It is therefore left to be seen how this would be resolved without scathing the integrity of Buhari, the only credibility the general seems to be taking to the battle.

Monday, 19 January 2015

I’m fit, PDP is desperate, says Buhari


Maj.-Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (retd)
The Presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Maj. General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), has denied media reports that he is terminally ill.
But shortly after he made the denial   in   Abuja on Sunday, the Peoples Democratic Party challenged him to take a brisk walk or jog round a stadium if, indeed, he was hale and hearty.
Some newspapers and on-line publications (The Punch not inclusive) had in their Sunday editions, published that the former military ruler was to be flown out of the country for medical attention.
Buhari told journalists   that the report on   his state of health was orchestrated by some individuals not only to gain undue political advantage but to divert public attention from corruption which had assumed the front burner of national discourse.
He said, “There were reports that I was to jet out for medical check-up yesterday (Saturday) but here I am. I was in Nasarawa and Benue states yesterday (Saturday) and   tomorrow (today), I will be in two states.
“The day after tomorrow (Tuesday), I will be in two more states. I sincerely don’t know how they got the impression that I was sick.     I had a cold but it did   not stop me from going through my schedule.”
Buhari added that a medical document purportedly confirming his alleged poor state of health was fake.
The APC presidential candidate said, “The     Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital said the documents are forged.
“This desperation is beyond my comprehension. The issue we are letting Nigerians know is that there has been   much corruption in this country in the   last 16 years. The Peoples Democratic Party   has literally destroyed this country.”
When asked to make a categorical statement on his health, Buhari jokingly asked the reporter, “How old are you, 50 years?   I can tell you that   if we go to the field, you will not stay as long as I would.”
The APC candidate also used the occasion to debunk allegations that his tenure at the defunct Petroleum Trust Fund was riddled with corruption.
He said that the PTF was   investigated and the report presented to the then President Olusegun Obasanjo, who recently confirmed it.
Buhari said, “That one has been cleared. There was no fraud in the PTF.   Gen. Obasanjo recently answered that question; he confirmed that there was an investigation and the report was brought to him and there was nothing on the ground as far as my management and chairmanship of the PTF were concerned.
“The person who did the investigation as President cleared me.”
The former military ruler also spoke on the controversy surrounding   his educational qualification, saying he was surprised that it was coming up now.
He said, “I have contested three times under the same rules set by INEC (Independent National Electoral Commission) where there is a basic educational qualification you must have.
“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 they were published in the newspapers.
“So, I really don’t understand this desperation or misinformation that is being passed around. They will do nobody any good because our minds are being taken away from the serious issues of corruption and incompetence by the PDP.”
Commenting on the state of the   economy, the APC candidate said despite repeated denials by the Federal Government, “the truth remains that   Nigeria is   broke.”
Buhari said, “How many states could   pay their workers’ salaries? In December, many families went hungry during Christmas because states did not pay the salaries of their workers. So why should they   be   talking about an individual’s health instead of paying salaries.”
Also, the APC in a statement by the Directorate of Media and Publicity of its Presidential Campaign Organisation accused the PDP of   circulating a fake medical report on   Buhari’s health.
It said it was ludicrous for the PDP to throw caution to the wind in its “shameless” effort to the pull wool over the eyes of Nigerians who are yearning for a change of guard at the federal level.
The directorate called on   Nigerians to the   errors on the letterhead conveying the medical report, which wrongly identifies the institution as Ahmadu Bello Teaching Hospital instead of Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital.
The statement partly read, “The attention of the APC Presidential Campaign Organisation has been brought to the circulation of a fake medical record of Gen, Buhari.
“We are able to track the circulation of the post on a social media platform and we know that the information emanated from the Facebook handle of one of Governor Ayo Fayose’s aides.
“It is noteworthy that the authorities at ABUTH have given a clean bill on Gen. Buhari’s health status.
“It is also noteworthy for Nigerians to understand that the PDP will stop at nothing to cast aspersion on the person of Gen. Buhari.
“We knew that the PDP would become unbridled at a point in its desperation to avert the defeat coming its way in the countdown to the February 14 presidential election, but to anticipate that the PDP would go as dirty as spreading falsehood on an individual’s state of health could not have been imaginable.
“What is important is that Nigerians know today that our country is not healthy. They know that the PDP has driven the country to a near state of comatose.”
But the PDP said instead of denying the report, Buhari should   jog round a stadium to prove to Nigerians that he was healthy enough to rule the country.
The   party, at a news conference in Abuja by the Director of Media and Publicity of its   Presidential Campaign Organisation Femi Fani-Kayode, said the rumour that the former Head of State was suffering from prostrate cancer was worrisome.
The PCO   said that it was incumbent on everyone to pray for Buhari if the rumour was indeed true.
It   added, “The rumour that he is suffering from prostrate cancer is exceptionally worrying and it is incumbent upon each and everyone of us to pray for him if this rumour is true.
“We are constrained to urge him to prove to the Nigerian people that he really is as fit as a fiddle, as the spokesman of his PCO has said, by taking a brisk walk or even jogging around the perimeter of the stadium before any of his rallies.
“If he can do that, it will go a long way to allay the fears of many.”
Asked if the PDP was in possession of any medical report indicating that Buhari was suffering from any terminal ailment, Fani-Kayode said no.
He said that the days of hiding things like a presidential candidate’s health status from the public were long over.
Copyright PUNCH.


Thursday, 15 January 2015

INEC dismisses staff over PVC theft, absenteetism

The Independent National Electoral Commission  has dismissed two of its officers for alleged burglary and theft of Permanent Voter Cards in its Patani Local Government Area office of Delta state.
This information was contained in the commission’s bulletin released in Abuja on Thursday.
The dismissed officers are: Mr. Collins Omofoma (SGL 09 Officer) and Mr. Onome Avbunudiogba (SGL 07 Officer).
Also, the Commission said it has terminated the appointment of Mrs Obi Chinwoke Ugochi, an Administrative Officer II (SGL 08) for alleged absence from duty without leave. Mrs Ugochi is of the Commission’s Anambra State office.
According to two Decision Extracts dated January 8, 2015 and signed by the Director (Commission’s Secretariat), Ishiaku Gali, the dismissal and termination of the three staff followed the commission’s meeting held on Thursday, January 8, 2015.

Jonathan, Buhari disagree on 2011 post-poll crisis, sign pact

All Progressives Congress presidential candidate, Maj. Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), in a warm embrace with his Peoples Democratic Party opponent, President Goodluck Jonathan, at the general elections sensitisation workshop on non-violence in Abuja... on Wednesday.
President Goodluck Jonathan said on Wednesday that the post- election violence that erupted in some northern states in 2011 was not caused by electoral malpractices.
Many including 10 members of the National Youth Service Corps died in the violence that erupted after the 2011 presidential poll.
The President, who spoke in Abuja at an election sensitisation workshop on non-violence ahead of the 2015 general elections, said the fear to accept defeat was responsible for the violence.
A former Head of State and the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, who also spoke at the event, reiterated the need for the Independent National Electoral Commission to conduct credible poll as a panacea to post-election violence this year.

He recounted his experience of having to resort to court to challenge the outcome of the presidential elections in which he was a candidate in 2003, 2007 and 2011.
But Jonathan disagreed with Buhari on the cause of the post-election violence, insisting that election malpractices were not necessarily the cause of post-election violence.
He, therefore, charged the next National Assembly to look into the nation’s laws with a view to amending them in order to give room to parties with substantial popularity to be part of government formed by the party which polled the highest votes.
He said, “If you look at the 2011 election, we approached it better and I’m quite pleased that a number of civil society activists are here; a lot of observers are here and they did mention that the 2011 election was much better any election conducted by the country . We thank Prof. Attahiru Jega and his team.
“But even then at the end of the election there was violence in some parts of the country. In Kano, properties were destroyed, residential homes were burnt down, and business premises were burnt down. In Bauchi State, 10 young corpers that were involved in the election were slaughtered. Then we asked what led to this level of violence? The violence came when election result was being announced.
“INEC had announced results at every polling unit. The violence didn’t come up in the middle of the election. The results collated had already been announced. But as we are approaching towards the end, it was clear that maybe a candidate was likely to win and violence erupted in Kano and in Bauchi.
“We cannot say there were malpractices to favour the candidate that won because in Kano we got 16 per cent, in Bauchi I got 15 per cent of the votes – those were the least. Even in states where we got 80 per cent or more than 50 per cent, even in opposition states, there was no violence.
“So you see what leads to violence sometimes is not necessarily electoral malpractices but some other causes of violence.”
The President, who said a total of about N10bn had been paid to compensate victims of the 2011 post-election violence, again charged INEC to ensure that no eligible Nigerian was disenfranchised in the forthcoming elections.
He said failure to ensure that every Nigeria voted in the forthcoming polls was a recipe for violence.
The President said, “A number of Nigerians are complaining that they don’t have permanent voter card, what INEC calls the PVC.
“If some people don’t have permanent voter card, the assumption is that, from the beginning, INEC wants to rig election and there is the tendency for those kinds of people to go violent.
“I have been mentioning this to the INEC chairman that you must make sure that every Nigerian votes. If INEC is unable to make sure that every Nigerian votes, that is a recipe for violence.”
At the workshop where a former Secretary-General of the United Nation, Kofi Annan, was a special guest of honour and chaired by a former Secretary-General of Commonwealth, Chief Emeka Anyaoku, the presidential candidates in the forthcoming poll signed a five-point accord for peace ahead of the general elections.
Buhari said when Nigeria returned to democracy “16 years ago, we hoped that the developed countries which went through the painful processes of stabilising their system, should learn from them rather than insisting to make the same mistake.”
He said the speeches by speakers at the event were only anchored on hope as his past experience about elections in the country had been nasty.
He recounted how his party competent agents were able to show how he was programmed to lose 40 per cent and 26 per cent respectively in two northern states in 2011.
He said, “They (the agents) compared the results against the INEC register and they put it in the computer garbage in garbage out. What came out is that the presidential candidate of that party was programmed to lose 40 per cent of its scores and when it was done in another state it was 26 per cent.”
Recalling that the cases he filed to challenge the outcome of the three presidential elections all ended at the Supreme Court, he said he spent 13 months in court in 2003, 18 months in 2007 and nine months in 2011.
The INEC Chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega, also gave an undertaking that it would not be partisan in conducting the general elections, adding that all candidates would be given a level playing field.
Anan said that Nigeria faced a critical test in the 2015 elections, apart from the barbaric Boko Haram insurgency and the falling oil price and its impact on the economy.
He stated that the success of the elections was crucial to the future of the nation and Africa, noting that chaotic elections would send a bad signal out at this crucial time.
Anan therefore challenged the stakeholders to ensure fair, free and peaceful elections, stressing that the success of the polls was not the sole responsibility of INEC.
According to him, political parties, their candidates and supporters all share responsibilities for ensuring free, fair and peaceful elections.
Copyright PUNCH.

Disappointing presidential campaigns by Wale Sokunbi


The campaigns of the two leading presidential candidates in the coming February 14 polls have taken off in earnest, and what a huge disappointment they have been so far! From the campaigns, it seems both the incumbent president, Goodluck Jonathan of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Gen. Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (CPC) are neither aware of the great despair of many Nigerians and their desperation for better times in the country, nor have a convincing and properly articulated template on how to move the nation to the next level.
In the main, the two parties and candidates appear irredeemably bound to the outdated campaign tactic of disproportionately focusing on their opponents’ real and cooked up shortcomings, instead of the country’s many problems and exactly how they hope to solve them. They are more interested in attacking their opponents and digging up what they perceive to be the “skeletons” in their cupboards, instead of the matters that are of the greatest importance to Nigerians and the future of the country.
This is why, for instance, the presidential campaign flag off of President Goodluck Jonathan focused more on debunking and deriding Buhari’s campaign promises, than the articulation of his own. The flag off, indeed, was a personal disappointment. The occasion offered the president a good opportunity to sincerely address Nigerians on the severe problems facing the country, his spirited efforts to address them, the challenge from a virulent opposition that had not given him a moment of respite since he got into office and the need for Nigerians to back him up in the best interest of our beloved country and give him the necessary support to do all that he has in mind to do for the country but which he had been severely constrained from doing. He should then have gone ahead to mention some concrete things he had done and intends to do, as well as appeal to the opposition leaders to let the campaigns be focused on real issues in the best interest of beleaguered Nigerians. He should have, in all sobriety, promised Nigerians that he would continue to do his best and retool his strategies to end insecurity and move the nation forward.
Had Jonathan spoken like this, (and I consider this a free advisory for the   president and his media team!), he would probably have won the sympathy of many people like me who admit that he has, virtually throughout his tenure, been a victim of distractive attacks from Goliathic opposition leaders, whose debilitating potshots could almost make any weak leader forget his name!
Jonathan could have so easily turned the tables against the opposition leaders at his campaign flag off. He could have solemnly urged Nigerians to cooperate with the saintly but allegedly clueless “devil” that they know, rather than the “confam Devil” seeking to replace him in office. But, instead of an appeal for calm, patience and reason from the people, the president chose to ignore his own admonition on issues-based campaigns and lambasted Buhari no end.
I think it would be more expedient for the  PDP to clean up its campaign and focus on issues. For example, the matter of Buhari’s military certificates, whatever they are, not being up to the level of an SSCE certificate, after studying in many military institutions across the world, is a no-header! It is, indeed, a disservice to the military in Nigeria and all over the country to say that all the certificates obtained in prestigious military schools all over the world are not the equivalent of Nigeria’s SSCE! Is that not what we used to call infra dignitete! Or, were we not all in this country when a certain top military officer told the nation that a sergeant in the Nigerian military is better than the graduate of any university? The PDP must be careful not draw the ire of the entire Nigerian military on this matter. This is even more so when it is considered that the matter of SSCE could not have been a qualification to join the military several decades ago when Buhari joined the institution.
But, that is not say that Buhari’s campaign flag off has, itself, been anything to write home about. He has, for instance, told us he would end the Boko Haram insurgency within two months in office. How? Is that to suggest that he knows, or has the ears, of the insurgency leaders, and has not stepped in to help solve the problem because he is not the current president? That would be very bad! It would mean that he is sitting on the fence while thousands of Nigerians are being killed because he does not want to help the president solve the problem, even though he knows what to do to solve it!
Secondly, his reference to jailing anyone found stealing Nigeria’s money may not be the best line for one who has been accused of unjustly jailing many politicians during his regime, (even though the jail sentences were handed out by military tribunals that tried the politicians at the time!) As they say, someone that his opponent’s campaign team is trying to portray as a maximum ruler who does not respect democratic ethos should not be talking of putting anyone in Kirikiri, on the campaign rostrum. In the same vein, any candidate who makes the jailing of the corrupt ruling class the arrowhead of his campaigns already has an array of sworn enemies among the country’s corrupt elite who will ensure that he realises his ambition only “over their dead bodies!”Again, having become a serial candidate, one would have expected a glaringly well thought out and clearly articulated programme of action to solve the nation’s most pressing problems from Buhari!
Some other free advice to both the PDP and APC: Let your campaigns be issues-based and pragmatic. Enough of generalisations  from the two leading candidates. I believe any Nigerian can list the nation’s problems and promise to solve them. The cutting edge we expect from the two contenders is a credible and believable programme for resolving the problems. Give the electorate concrete ideas of what you want to do, not wild accusations and dimwitted rhetoric. These will not put food on Nigerians’ tables, or provide jobs for the unemployed graduates.  Let the people know your vision for Nigeria and how you intend to take the nation to the Promised Land. Let the choice of a new president be different from that between six and half a dozen. Let us see evidence of careful research and diligent analyses of issues, not competitions on mud-raking and the use of foul language! Let the people see that the contestants clearly understand the nation’s challenges, and have a credible plan to resolve them.
The continuing unconscionable killings by Boko Haram in the North-East of the country should be enough to make any aspirant to the office of president sober and serious about how to tackle the problem. But, it is like the matter is just like another pawn on a chessboard that could be played with for political advantage by presidential candidates! The insecurity in the country is not something that should be toyed with, or glossed over, for any reason. The matter of the management of the economy is another serious issue that is not being properly articulated. Yet, the fall in the price of crude oil and the devaluation of the naira are serious challenges that the nation will be grappling with this year.
Please, an assignment for the two candidates: Read Chapter 2 of the Nigerian Constitution on the Fundamental Objectives and Directive Principles of State Policy, and tell us how you intend to achieve them. Indeed, all Nigerians should strive to read this particular section of the Constitution. It will go a long way in educating the electorate on the reasons why governments exist, the responsibilities of our leaders and the need to elect persons who can bring them to reality. I wish the two candidates a rewarding campaign season. May the best candidate win.

Who is afraid of Buhari? By Yomi Obaditan

We cannot trample upon the humanity of others without devaluing our own.The Igbo, always practical, put this concretely in their proverb, Onye ji onye n’ani ji onwe ya:He who will hold another down in the mud must stay in the mud to keep him down”
The name of General Muhammadu Buhari has always generated controversies from the day he became military head of state in 1983. The short period he was in charge of the nation was a period noted for drastic change in terms of national discipline,  moral re- birth and draconian application of rules.
The National Party of Nigeria ( NPN) was a political party that was powerful and corrupt beyond redemption. At the time the Buhari /Idiagbon came to power, three of the then NPN  members were alleged to have embezzled over six billion dollars.
Twenty three years later, the echoes of the Buhari era that cleared up the rubbish that the shameless politicians perpetrated in our land is sending fear into the spine of the “ jegudu-jera” (embezzlers). Buhari has contested presidential  election  about three times and failed. He even lamented that the 2011 election would be the last election he would be participating in. But the merger of some political parties to form All Progressives Congress (APC) made him to change his mind and gave him courage to give  the race for the office of the President a last trial. The Peoples Democratic Party ( PDP) has been enraged by the outcome of the APC presidential primary election that was open, transparent and free from acrimony. Their thought was that the APC’s primary election would mark the end of the party.
But now that they realised that Buhari’s massive followers from the North and the neglected South-West  people under Jonathan will nail the political coffin of the PDP  and its candidate, they resorted to shenanigans.
When Buhari became Head of state and government,  nobody ever mentioned that a Nigerian Army General has no certificate. Not even the journalists! When he contested three times in diffferent political parties namely All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) and Congress of Progressive Change (CPC), all these period, nobody raised any issue about Buhari’s certificate. But now that the ruling party realises that the Buhari is leading a formidable political party like that of the APC against it, it appears to be using blackmail.
Did Buhari have the INEC basic credential for the coming election? Buhari possesses the basic school certificate. In 1956, Buhari attended Katsina Provisional Secondary School (now Government College, Katsina). It was after this school that he joined the  Nigerian Army and was trained in many military institutions within and in various military institutions across the globe. Some of the schools he attended include: Mons Officers Cadet School, Aldershot,  in the United Kingdom before he was commissioned with the rank of Second Lieutenant. Buhari also attended Army Mechanical Transport Officer’s Course in Bordon, United Kingdom from May 1965 to June of the same year. He was sent to Defence Services Staff College, Wellington, India, in 1973 and Army War College, United States from 1979 to 1980. Can a general who had attended all these institutions be called an illitrate?
The minimum qualification required by the Electoral Act Section 106 (d) is school certificate or its equivalent. That is why wise Nigerians are asking politicians to discuss issues; issues that will move the nation forward,  issues that will revive our economy,  issues that will provide job for the jobless, issues that will give hope to the hopeless and cause Nigerians irrespective of social status,  tribe and tongue to live in any part of Nigeria in harmony. Akin Osuntokun’s reference to the cancellation of Jakande’s transport project in Lagos by Buhari after the army took over power in 1984, is no longer relevant to the present challenge.
Raising such issue against Buhari shows how hypocritical politicians could be while trying to destroy political opponents. Osuntokun spent a large part of his life in Lagos and attended University of Lagos, yet he never advised Chief Olusegun Obasanjo against the withholding of Local government allocation for Lagos. In Osun, when Governor Rauf Aregbesola joyfully approached the president with the free offer of train coaches to the state from the Chinese government. The offer was given to the governor shorly after he came into office. Till date, the president failed to even acknowledge the application. Secondly, the Lagos state government under Raji Fashola was working on the revival of rail transport system.
The government of Lagos approached President Jonathan over the approval, the President bluntly refused to grant the necessary right-of-way approval to the Lagos Metropolitan Transport Authority (LAMATA) for the construction of its redline light rail project from Iddo to Ifo in Ogun State with a capacity  to carry one million passengers per day. The investors were turned back by the refusal of the president, making Lagos and the nation to lose one billion dollars in the project
President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan’s  advice that the politicians should watch their utterances is mere lip service. The president spent hours in each time during his campaign to castigate Buhari, Obasanjo or any other political opponents. If he is not accusing Buhari of not buying a single gun while in office, he is busy calling Obasanjo a motor park tout and not qualified to be called a statesman. The allegation against Buhari has since been proved to be false. Evidence has been provided that guns, arms and military aircraft were purchased under Buhari’s administration.
The same PDP accused Buhari for being too old at 72 to rule Nigeria, but they have forgotten that in 1983, Chief Obafemi Awolowo contested at the age of 74 while Chief Nnamdi Azikwe contested in 1979 at the age of 75. The former American President Ronald Reagan became president at the age of 70 and served two terms. Here in Africa, Tunisian newly- elected President Beiji Caid Essebsi is 88 years. Our oldest African President in Zimbabwe is 93 before he handed over to his wife. It is not age that matters but wisdom and from human history old age is associated with wisdom.
If age and academic qualification is the magic for good governance,  Nigeria would have been one of the best today. This is because for the first time in our history as a nation,  we have a doctorate degree holder at the helm of affairs. But the big question is how far has it been of an advantage to the nation?  Whatever it is, let’s discuss issues, and live personality out of the debate.