President Muhammadu Buhari has claimed that he has more education and is better qualified in all ramifications, including constitutionally, to contest and occupy the office of President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria than the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar.
Buhari has therefore challenged Atiku, who is challenging his emergence as the winner of the February 23, 2019 presidential election in court, to produce his educational certificates, showing the schools he attended with dates before the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal.
Atiku and his party had accused the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) of manipulating the outcome of the presidential election in favour of Buhari and the governing All Progressives Congress (APC).
He and PDP had in a petition challenging the election outcome, which they filed before the election tribunal, prayed that Buhari’s victory be nullified. In another order, they asked the tribunal to declare them as the true winner of the election.
Part of their allegations against Buhari in their petition is that the school certificate in the Form CF001 he submitted to INEC was false. They claimed that Buhari lied about possessing secondary school certificate he claimed to possess in the form.
In his reaction to this claim, counsel to Buhari, Wole Olanipekun (SAN), on Wednesday explained that the President had more educational qualification than the constitution even required for one to contest presidential election in Nigeria.
“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 (Atiku); 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,” part of the response read.
Denying he submitted false information to INEC, Buhari listed part of his resume to read:
“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 went further to say, “He 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.”
Consequently, the President prayed the tribunal to sack Atiku’s petition on the grounds that it contained more of pre-election issues, which the Court of Appeal, sitting as a tribunal lacked jurisdiction to entertain.