The controversy surrounding the certificate of one of the foremost Presidential Candidate in the forthcoming general election has recently generated so much ‘unnecessary’ discourse. These are my thoughts on the issue.
First let me warn that I’m an ardent ‘Buharist’, as such it is not unlikely that my thoughts and probably conclusions may be influenced by my bias, but I’ll try to stay as impartial as I can be.
It is my opinion that there are three angles to the certificate scandal i.e. the moral, the legal and the political.
First is the legal angle. The requirement of the constitution is clear, anyone who wishes to contest for the office of President of Nigeria must have been educated upto at least School Certificate level or its equivalent.
General Muhammadu Buhari apparently not being able to produce proof of his educational qualification decided to depose to an affidavit stating the fact that he has attained the requisite educational status, but he is unable to produce proof because they are in the custody of the Nigerian Army ( The circumstances leading to this anomaly are subject of conjecture for now).
It is my opinion that Buhari by virtue of his deposition in the affidavit has fulfilled the requirement of the law. This informed the acceptance of the form and accompanying affidavit by INEC.
The efficacy of an affidavit is such that, once deposed to, it’s contents are accepted as the true state of affairs, unless and until those facts are challenged either by a counter-affidavit or by some proof of its falsity, in a court of law in Nigeria. In the absence of that, the General’s affidavit must be taken to have cured any defect therein.
Now I move to the moral plane. This is where we dispense with legal jargon and technicalities. General Muhammadu Buhari is a well loved and respected personality in Nigeria, and at the risk of sounding preposterous, I dare say, more than any other living politician in Nigeria.
Like I had said earlier, I am an ardent supporter of the former military ruler and like million others, I have decided that irrespective of presentation of a certificate or not, my vote in the 2015 elections would go to GMB.
It is to this group of teeming lovers, supporters, loyalists and admirers that the General owes the most, a moral duty to clear the air on the certificate scandal. Not because it would change our stance in the elections, but it would place us along with the General on a high moral pedestal to continue to sell his candidacy with pride and to face the opponents with boldness. This is a burden on General Muhammadu Buhari, he ought to clear it.
Finally, the political angle. Here the legal conclusion comes to play. Since the certificate saga started, I have sat down several times, convincing myself that it is not even a possibility that GMB does not possess the requisite qualifications. I however wonder whether this non-presentation of the certificate is not a deliberate ploy by GMB and APC to engage GEJ and PDP in a wild goose chase that will only lead to a cul-de-sac. One that will give them hope of finally removing the pain called Buhari from the political calculation, but which hope will only be dashed at a very last minute, because the certificate will just show up. Well then, I’d say to myself, well played. If this indeed is true, then can you blame the General? After all, it’s all politics.