By Akanimo Sampson
The late night comedy show from The Presidency a.k.a Aso Rock, tends to be defining the 2019 political landscape in some way. The Presidency on Sunday night (October 28) said it has record of President Muhammadu Buhari’s West African School Certificate, and other higher qualifications obtained by the President.
A statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, in Abuja said, ‘’It is clear to all at this time that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), facing an imminent humiliating defeat wants to sow division and chaos by seeking the destruction of the institutional structures that support our young democracy. They are attacking the courts and the police, they are molesting INEC commissioners. They are theatrical in spreading falsehoods against persons including the President.’’
On the issue at stake, the President himself told the electoral authorities that his credentials were still with the military. He may be right.
But, the Buhari Certificate show tends to be compromising the most serious side of the 2019 politics. Integrity. The opposition PDP is busy making numerous appearances on the certificate comedy show. That does not seem to be going down well with President Buhari’s media handlers.
Yet, the seeming political merry-go-round still spins, and the Aso Rock clings on for 2019 sake. The unfolding comedy tends to trigger this question: is truth and conviction in Nigerian politics? Or put the other way round, is President Buhari a leader with moral integrity?
Analysts however, say it feels like the certificate saga represents a moral crisis in the 2019 politics. It is like Aso Rock is not equipped to respond to a tirade delivered with conviction. The PDP has been charging President Buhari to show proof of his vaunted integrity by presenting his academic documents, if he has any, to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and put to an end his certificate soap opera.
The opposition is also urging Buhari to fulfill his obligation like other Presidential candidates, instead of bugging the commission with affidavits.
PDP said while its Presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, has submitted his educational and other relevant documents to INEC, Buhari is rather seeking ways to short-circuit the system, instead of complying with set rules.
According to the PDP, ‘’a situation where Buhari has been dodging the certificate issue raises huge questions of integrity, which demands that he makes available his credentials, or apologise to Nigerians, if he has none, so that the nation can move ahead’’.
National Publicity Secretary of the party, Kola Ologbondiyan, Buhari knows 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.”
PDP maintains 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).
‘’That Buhari and the previous INEC succeeded in circumventing the law in 2015 does not make such acceptable in our current electoral process. Moreover, Buhari and the All Progressives Congress (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.
‘’This is particularly as the certificate scandal contributes to the erosion of Mr. President’s rectitude to check the humongous corruption, ineptitude and recklessness among his officials which has brought the nation to its knees under his administration.
‘’Furthermore, Buhari’s failure to tidy up such grey areas also contributes to his inability to cultivate and earn the productive followership of the youth and the respect of the international community, resulting in retardation in national productivity and dearth of international development partnership in the last three and half years’’, PDP said.
The seeming nasty situation is even being worsened by the allegation that Buhari’s ministers and aides parade forged certificates. Arguably, no country makes meaningful progress with persons with this educational pedigrees in it’s leadeership.
The opposition is therefore, urging President Buhari to do the needful so as not to cause any frictions that will put INEC under further pressure ahead of the 2019 general elections.