President Muhammadu Buhari in a recent statement said that he is more qualified to contest the February 23, 2019 presidential election than former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, the President Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Buhari further challenged Atiku to produce his educational certificates showing the schools he attended with dates before the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal.
Buhari’s eligibility to contest the presidential poll was among the many petitions Atiku submitted against the president at the Tribunal.
Atiku who vehemently rejected the results announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), which was in favour of President Buhari and the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), wants the tribunal to nullify Buhari’s victory and declare him (Atiku) winner.
Atiku alleged that according to INEC server results, he won the election with over 1.6million votes. He further said he would call Microsoft, Oracle and IBM experts to prove his case.
INEC however denied any server result, saying that there was no server used for the election because result collation was done manually and not electronically.
In his petition, Atiku alleged that Buhari did not possess the secondary school certificate he claim he had, adding that the school he said he obtained the qualification from was not in existence as of when he claimed he sat for the exams.
President Buhari however in his reply through his lawyer, Chief Wole Olanipekun, said that Buhari possessed more than the constitutionally required educational qualifications to contest the election.
He further noted that he was above Atiku in terms of acquisition of knowledge, certificates, medals and experience.
“The respondent (Buhari) avers that he is far more qualified, both constitutionally and educationally, to contest and occupy the office of President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria than the 1st petitioner; and that in terms of educational qualifications, training and courses attended, both within and outside Nigeria, he is head and shoulder above the 1st petitioner in terms of acquisition of knowledge, certificates, laurels, medals and experience.
“Respondent states further that it is the 1st petitioner who is not qualified to contest the office of President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and challenges the educational credentials and certificates of the 1st petitioner.
“The 1st petitioner is hereby given notice to produce and tender his educational certificates, indicating the schools attended by him, with dates.”
Buhari further quoted the schools he attended with dates;
“Elementary School Daura and Maid’adua – 1948 to 1952;
“Middle School, Katsina – 1953 to 1956;
“Katsina Provincial Secondary School (now Daura Government College, Katsina) – 1956 to 1961.”
“He (Buhari) did not, at any time, provide any false information in the Form CF001 submitted to the 1st respondent, either in 2014 or 2018.
“The affidavit of compliance to the 2019 Form CF001 was correct in every material particular.
“In filling Form CF001 in 2014 and 2019, the respondent was not oblivious of the constitutional qualifications stipulated in Section 131 of the Constitution and interpreted in Section 318 of the same Constitution.
“Petitioners themselves are also not oblivious of the fact that the respondent possesses far more than the constitutional threshold expected of a candidate contesting for the office of President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
Buhari’s lawyer further urged the court to dismiss Atiku’s petition, saying that it was self-defeating.
According to Buhari’s lawyer, Atiku claimed to have won the election, but also urged the court to nullify the poll and order a fresh presidential election again.
The president further denied Atiku’s accusation that the TraderMoni programme was vote buying, saying that the policy was one of the many social intervention policies of the Federal Government aimed at alleviating poverty.
Ibrahim Kenneth Suleiman is the Chief Political Editor at Naija Buzz News Network. He is a graduate of political science from the prestigious Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, Kaduna State. He specializes in preparing/approving of political news contents before publication. He currently heads Naija Buzz News team of political correspondents. From Nasarawa State, North-Central Nigeria, Ibrahim is a strong supporter of Manchester United Football Club England.