The outgoing Director of Army Public Relations, Brigadier-General Olajide Laleye, who addressed newsmen in Abuja, said: “The Nigerian Army does not have the original copy of his (Buhari’s Credentials) West African Examinations Council, WAEC result or a certified true copy.”
But the APC in a swift reaction has warned that those who are bent on destroying Buhari on the basis of his certificates may end up destroying the country’s military.
The army spokesman told newsmen that what the army had and which he displayed were the information contained in the forms Buhari filled at the point of his entry into the military and some letters of recommendation by Principal of Provincial Secondary School, Katsina.
Olajide 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 suitable for military commission.”
The report which was shown to newsmen, read: “I recommend Muhammadu Buhari fit for military commission.”
On Buhari’s result, the Principal also wrote, “I consider that he will pass Maths, English and three other subjects.”
Laleye said the briefing was necessitated by deluge of requests from civil society groups and the media among others, over General Buhari’s eligibility for any political office.
He said: “It is a practice in the Nigerian Army that before candidates are short-listed 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 60s. Nevertheless, the entry made on the Nigerian Army 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.
“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. What I have said here is what is contained in his service records’ personal file. We have not added or subtracted anything.”
Earlier, Brig-General Laleye, said: “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 it to state that Major General Buhari rose steadily to the enviable rank of Major General before becoming head of state of our dear country in December 1983.”
“It’s a dangerous game — APC”
The APC in a statement issued in Lagos, yesterday, by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, warned that the PDP and the Jonathan administration are playing a dangerous game by allegedly trying to compromise the military in order to satisfy selfish political objectives, and urged the military, as a symbol of national unity, to beware of those who may be seeking to use it to achieve selfish and divisive ends.
The APC said the statement credited to the Director, Army Public Relations, Brig-Gen. Olajide Olaleye, at a press conference in Abuja, yesterday, that the Army is not in possession of Gen. Buhari’s certificates, is in direct conflict with what he said on January 4, 2015 on the same issue.
“In an interview with the Punch on Jan. 4, 2015, Brig.-Gen. Olaleye had said: ‘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’.
“Is Brig.-Gen. Olaleye now saying that he did not make that statement? If he did, what has happened between then and now to make him to recant? It will be interesting to know what has transpired between then and now,” APC said.
The party also said that there was no evidence that the certificates of all those who joined the army in the early 1960s were verified by the selection board.
“Is he now saying that all those who were commissioned into the officer cadres in the 1960s did not have their certificates verified? Does this not confirm what we said that in trying to destroy Gen. Buhari, the PDP and the Jonathan administration will end up destroying the army as an institution? Or is it only Gen. Buhari that was commissioned into the army in the 1960s?”
The party also quoted Gen. Buhari as saying in an affidavit on November 24, 2014 that “All my academic qualification documents as filled in my presidential form, President APC/001/2015 are currently with the Secretary, Military Board as at the time of this affidavit.”
APC said: “Those who are behind the latest controversy should now tell Nigerians what happened to Gen. Buhari’s certificates between the time of his affidavit and now”.
APC said further that even if the Army now says it does not have the certificates of Gen. Buhari, he is still very qualified to run for the country’s highest office, as stipulated by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“What the constitution says— APC”
The party quoted Section 131 (d) of the Constitution: “A person shall be qualified for election to the office of President if he has been educated up to at least School Certificate level or its equivalent”.
APC said the meaning and interpretation of “School Certificate level or its equivalent can be found in the Constitution under part IV, Section 318. In that Section, a “School Certificate or its equivalent” is defined quite succinctly thus:
(a) A Secondary School Certificate or its equivalent, Grade II Teacher’s Certificate, the City and Guilds Certificate; or
(b) Education up to Secondary School Certificate Level; or a
(c) Primary Six School Leaving Certificate or its equivalent.
The party said since Brig.-Gen. Olaleye has confirmed that Gen. Buhari indeed applied to join the Army from form six, that the principal of the school he attended even attested to his suitability, and that the form he filled contained his Secondary School Certificate results, there is no scintilla of doubt about his qualification to run for president as stipulated by the Constitution.
“However, we know that the PDP and the Jonathan administration have constituted themselves into a court of law and will like nothing more than the disqualification of our candidate so they will face no challenge in next month’s election. This is wishful thinking,” it said.
APC said the PDP and the Jonathan administration should expend their energy on how to revive their floundering campaign instead of seeking the disqualification of its (APC) candidate.
On the contradictions in the statements credited to the Army spokesman, the party said: “It is true that our once globally-respected military has now been made comatose by the PDP-led Federal Government, but we believe things have not reached the level where the same military will be engaging in actions that amount to self destruction, just to satisfy some political interests.
“We believe things have not reached a level where we, as a nation, will now be giving the impression that a man who rose to become a Major-General in the Nigerian Army does not have requisite qualifications?
“What really is happening in our country if some politicians have now decided to engage in an action that will amount to dragging the military into politics, dividing an institution that is a symbol of national unity, trivializing the service of those who fought to keep Nigeria one and ridiculing the same country it is supposed to be ruling?
‘’We have said it before and will like to repeat: Enough is enough about this distraction”.