The Government College, Katsina (formerly Provincial Secondary School) on Wednesday released the credentials of the All Progressives Congress presidential candidate, Maj. Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (retd.).
Copies of the credentials from the college were made available to The PUNCH by the Director of Media and Publicity, APC Presidential Campaign Organisation, Garba Shehu, shortly after Buhari told journalists in Kano that he had formally requested the institution to make his documents available.
The credentials were a statement of results issued by the state Ministry of Education and a confidential result sheet by the University of Cambridge.
They were both dated January 21, stamped and signed by the Principal and Examination Officer of the college whose names did not show.
In the confidential result sheet, Buhari’s name was the second among the 17 candidates that sat the Cambridge/ West African School Certificate Examination in 1961.
When one of our correspondents informed the principal on the telephone that no signature or name of a Cambridge university official was sighted on the confidential result sheet, he replied, “As far as we concerned, we only issued the General(Buhari) what we have here.”
The PUNCH however sent an email to the Cambridge University concerning the APC candidate’s result but had yet to receive a response as of 10pm on Wednesday.
Buhari had at a news conference at the Kano State Government House, dismissed the controversy over his school certificate as a mischief orchestrated by the Peoples Democratic Party.
He explained that but for concerns being raised by his numerous supporters, he would have ignored the matter because he considered it a non-issue.
The APC candidate said that the fact that he sat for and obtained the Cambridge/ West Africa Examination Council Certificate was not in doubt because his examination number, 8280002, was verifiable.
Buhari also named some of his classmates who sat for the same examination as the late Maj. Gen. Shehu Yar’Adua and a former President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Umaru Abdullahi.
He said he had assumed that copies of his certificate were in his personal file with the Military Board but that he was surprised to hear the Army claiming on Tuesday that they did not have them.
The Katsina born former Head of State and politician said, “I had assumed all along that all my records were in the custody of the Military Secretary of the Nigerian Army. Much to my surprise, we are now told that although a record of the result is available, there are no copies of the certificate in my personal file.
“This is why I formally requested my old school, the Provincial Secondary School, Katsina (which is now known as Government College) to make available the school’s copy of the result of the Cambridge/West African School Certificate. This will be made available to the press the moment this is available.
“I attended Provincial Secondary School, Katsina. I graduated in 1961 with many prominent Nigerians, including Gen Shehu Yar’Adua, former chief of staff at the Supreme Headquarters, and Justice Umaru Abdullahi, a former President of the Court of Appeal.
“We sat for the University of Cambridge/WASC Examination together in 1961, the year we graduated. My examination number was 8280002, and I passed the examination in the Second Division.”
Buhari noted that although the pdp would want to wish it away, the issue in the 2015 presidential election could not be about his school certificate which he obtained 53 years ago.
He argued that the issues in the campaign remained the scandalous level of unemployment of millions of young Nigerians, insecurity, corruption and the lack of concern of the government for anything other than the retention of power at all costs.
When contacted, WAEC’s Public Affairs Officer, National Office, Demianus Ojijeogu, said the council had no right to disclose any person’s result to the public.
According to him, even if the Council has Buhari’s result or that of any other person, it is a personal document kept in trust.
Ojijeogu said, “Only the court of law can mandate us to release such information. It is not something that we will easily divulge to the public unless there is a directive from the court.
“Again, the general’s result is a personal document. It is akin to going to the bank with somebody’s account number to seek clarification of the person’s account. No responsible bank will respond to that enquiry.”
But the Director of Media and Publicity of the PDP Presidential Campaign Organisation, Femi Fani-Kayode, said Buhari’s statement at the news conference contrasted with his deposition in a sworn affidavit submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission.
He told journalists in Abuja that the Army should withdraw the APC candidate’s rank for perjury since he claimed earlier in the affidavit that his certificate was with the military.
Fani-Kayode said, “The implication of the action of this so-called ‘Mr. Clean’ is nothing but perjury and we all know that this is a grave criminal offence under our laws and constitution.”
He said the implication of this was that without the availability of the certificate, Buhari ought not to have been a commissioned officer in the Army in the first place.
The Presidential campaign organisation spokesperson also called on Buhari to tender an apology to Nigerians and withdraw from the presidential race.
He said, “We urge Buhari and his party to do the right thing and tender an unreserved apology to the Nigerian people, throw in the towel and report to the nearest police station for interrogation and prosecution.
“Anything less than that would be an insult to the collective intelligence and integrity of Nigerians .
“We also urge the Nigerian Armed Forces to consider the possibility of stripping him of his rank and privileges given the fact that he was never qualified to join the Army as a commissioned officer in the first place because he never had the prerequisite qualifications which was a school certificate.
“Given this, at best Buhari should never have been anything more than a non-commissioned officer.”
Fani-Kayode called on Nigerians to disregard anyone claiming that the PDP was behind the brouhaha that had followed the non-presentation of Buhari’s certificate.