Pesident Buhari while submitting his presidential nomination form to INEC ahead of the February 2019 elections, presented a sworn affidavit instead of his certificates.
Independent National Electoral Commission Chairman Mahmood Yakubu said on Friday that Nigerians who have an issue with the credentials submitted by candidates contesting next year’s elections are free to challenge such claims in court.
This has since draw widespread criticism, and in reaction,the Presidency says it is an indication of idleness on the part of PDP and other Nigerians, to make a fuss about President Buhari not presenting his certificates to INEC.
Reacting to the backlash that has followed the development, Femi Adesina who is the Special Adviser to President Buhari on Media and Publicity, told the Nation, that the certificate saga is a dead issue.
“The certificate saga is a dead issue, only idle people will consider it. It is something that had been laid to rest before the 2015 general elections. Those raising the issue (PDP and others) are idle and they have run out of ideas.
They see defeat staring them in the face and they are desperate to cling to any straw. This issue was resolved before the 2015 election. It is a matter of fact that when President Buhari and others joined the military, they took their original certificates from them.
The military knew where they kept the original certificates of the President. In fact, a former Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Alani Akinrinade corroborated that the military collected the original certificates of all its officers. The PDP believes it is going to lose the elections, and they will lose, and it is raising dust over a dead issue.
“The military already said they lost the certificates. But does it mean that it did not exist that the President went to school, sat for examinations and passed; attended military courses and War College. It does not change the fact that the President rose through the ranks to become a Major-General in the Nigerian Army and a Military Head of State.
Didn’t those opposed to President Buhari go to court over his certificate and lost before? They will still lose this time around. It is a dead issue.”
Sections 130 and 131 of the 1999 Constitution provides eligibility guidelines for a presidential candidate.
Section 130 of the 1999 Constitution says: “There shall be for the Federation, a President” and such “President shall be the Head of State, the Chief Executive of the Federation and Commander- In –Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federation”.
“Section 131 states: “A person shall be qualified for election to the office of President if –
*He is a citizen of Nigeria by birth;
*He has attained the age of forty – years.
*He is a member of a political party and is sponsored by that political party; and
*He has been educated up to at least School Certificate level or its equivalent.