LAGOS— All Progressives Congress, APC, presidential candidate, General Muhammadu Buhari (retd), was scrutinised and found educationally qualified to be the party’s presidential flag bearer, Dr. Tunji Abayomi, a member of the party’s committee, who screened all five presidential aspirants, has said.
Abayomi’s assertion came as a senior Buhari aide affirmed that the campaign would not go into the mud with the candidate’s rivals on the issue. The senior campaign official said officials of the Buhari campaign were not in any way bothered on the issue given what he said was the uprightness of the General on the issue.
Abayomi in a statement yesterday affirmed he was a member of the presidential screening committee who scrutinised Buhari’s qualification for the presidency and found him fit and awarded him a certificate of clearance.
He further asserted that even without the production of the certificates that General Buhari was eminently qualified for the race and the presidency.
“As a member of the APC Screening Committee, I can affirm unequivocally that Gen. Buhari met the education qualification prescribed by the constitution,” he said as he went on to list the schools and courses attended by the former head of state.
He said: “Still the question remains, has General Buhari without presenting especially his school certificate or its equivalent met the education precondition set for presidential candidates in the constitution?”
“To begin with, the Constitution does not prescribe the presentation or show of any certificate to qualify for election to the office of President. Under section 131(d) of our military 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.’
“While a certificate may unequivocally show that a contestant has been educated up to at least School Certificate level, his education without a certificate may show, again unequivocally that he has been educated up to the equivalent of School Certificate level.
“For example, assuming A is the best student in Ajuwa Grammar School, Okeagbe, Akoko. Now on the very day before the commencement of the West African School Certificate Examination, he sexually harassed the daughter of the English teacher as a result of which he was dismissed, will A be said not to have met the education qualification of section 131(d) of the constitution?
“In my view A has not only been educated up to at least School Certificate level he would also be deemed to have been educated to its equivalent. This position finds support in section 131 (d) which neither prescribed a pass which is required for certification nor a fail which denies it. The interest of the constitution is with the level of the education of the candidate howsoever acquired, not the certificate he acquires ipso facto.
“The APC screening committee was made up of several eminent, highly educated and enlightened men and a woman. They came to the conclusion after putting APC presidential aspirants through a most rigorous test that all the APC aspirants met the constitutional qualifications including education qualification to contest for election to the office of President.
“They confirmed this by awarding them a certificate. The qualification set by the constitution for contest is the level of education not its certificate.”