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A Problem with the Truth: Of Certificates and No Certificates, By Akintokunbo A. Adejumo

Gen. Mohammadu Buhari (rtd)

I am a bit lost, in fact more than lost. I am aghast at the inanity and lack of decorum being spread around by the supposedly “educated” Nigerians, just because of political opportunism and expediency. Do we have a problem with “academic certificates”, especially of our leaders and political aspirants?

Why do we always elude the Truth and Honesty in all we do? Why is it difficult for us to tell and accept at the Truth as a people? We see the Truth/Fact right in our face, yet we turn away our eyes and deny it exists, and instead resort to outright insincerity, fabrications and lies.

Gen. Mohammadu Buhari (rtd)

Gen. Mohammadu Buhari (rtd)

That is why the Truth will continue to elude us and this country will never ever realise its potential to be a great nation.

It is very easy to verify whether a person achieved a level of schooling/education or not. Even assuming our record-keeping is poor, that person couldn’t have gone to school in isolation. There must be hundreds of people who knew him/her throughout their schooling – head teachers, principals, teachers, schoolmates, classmates, even the school bus driver. In my case, I can count the villagers, the school cooks, the school gardener and watchman, suppliers and the administrative staff.

Or, alternatively, the person can just come out and produce his/her certificate as demanded, and put us all to shame. Or if none, admit they don’t have any. And that will be the end of it.

But Nigerians like to dilly-dally about with the Truth, and try and cut corners to reach a straightforward destination. That is why we are still what we are today – deprived, impoverished, corrupted, and illiterate despite being educated

Then forged certificates start surfacing; all kinds of depositions rear their heads; obscure and probably unrecognised US institutions start springing up to deny or confirm the authenticity of their often worthless certificates. In the end, nothing is achieved, and the controversy continues. Nobody is sure whether this politician indeed has a degree or not or whether he/she even attended any university, or if he used a fake name to obtain his/her certificate.

I say I am a bit lost. One thing for sure, and I am proud of it, my academic achievements can NEVER EVER be questioned by anybody in this world. NEVER!!

But then, does that transmute to good leadership or governance? Does that mean I will be a good manager of people or resources or a nation? Do my academic achievements give me any edge or advantage in running a country or a state or local government in Nigeria?

A CAPITAL NO! As we have seen and experienced to our detriment. Education is no longer a guarantee of good leadership or governance. Examples abound in our country today. In fact it is the most educated Nigerians that have ruined the country the most. They are selfish, greedy and corrupt and have used their education to impoverish, oppress and steal from their own people.

Now can we try and look at this issue of “Buhari ba certificate” as dispassionately and non-partisanship as we can? I don’t mind those who are opposed to Buhari’s credentials using logical and real political issues of concern to Nigerians to discredit him, but I think this little matter of academic qualifications has no merit, and is grotesquely mischievous.

The Constitution of Nigeria stipulates that for a Nigerian to contest for and occupy any political position, from the lowest Local Government Councillor to the ultimate President of the Federal Republic, the minimum academic standard or achievement is a “primary school leaving certificate or equivalent”. (Someone told me it is “secondary school”, okay, even that) Please note the word “EQUIVALENT”.

Now, let us have a cursory look at Muhammadu Buhari, retired General of the Nigerian Army (this is not in doubt); former military Head of State of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (again not in doubt, even if he forced himself on us then – although some people said Babangida was the real planner and executor of the coup that brought Buhari into power) and at various times, former state Military governor, former Federal minister, Head of Petroleum Trust Fund, etc

Are we now saying that a man who was trained from recruit and rose to be a General in our army would not have a certificate – and yes, a military certificate gained during military courses at military schools all over the world are academic certificates recognised all over the world – that is either equivalent to a minimum “primary or secondary school leaving certificate” or even many times superior?

Are we saying that with the millions of Naira that must have been invested on Buhari by the Government of Nigeria, to make him a General and after attending all these training and courses do not meet minimum or EQUIVALENT academic requirement to contest an election in the same Nigeria? Are military training certificates, be it national and/or international, below “primary school leaving certificates” or even “secondary school leaving certificates” in Nigeria?

Or that those certificates and awards of Buhari’s training in the military are not worth more than the prescribed minimum “primary or secondary school leaving certificate”?

Compatriots, please let us use other manoeuvres, political weaknesses or issues to attempt to disqualify, demean or discredit Mr Buhari. Base your arguments for his disqualification on cogent and real political and national issues.

Not of “Buhari has no Certificate”. That is inane and is borne out of small, spiteful minds. I know a lot of mud-slinging is bound to happen in most Nigerian elections and Buhari’s detractors are bound to be prone to mischief, but this is a mischief too far that does not warrant any merit and does not portray even the PDP in good light.

If INEC, following the Constitution to the letter, is not satisfied with his academic/military training qualifications, so be it, disqualify him, and let them tell us that the training of a General in the Nigerian Army is below a primary school leaving certificate.

On the other hand, his party, APC should not be reticent and close-mouthed as they seem to be right now. The above is the way out. INEC does not have any problem with the certificate of Buhari. It is the ruling PDP, who are using this saga to reduce the credibility of Buhari as a credible candidate to contest the election. Unfortunately the so call advisers or mouth piece of the inept opposition, Buhari’s own party, APC , are short of adequate response to counter the negative propaganda against their candidate.

To me the certificate of Buhari matter is a non-issue. There are more apposite things that are germane to the stability, better welfare of my people and good governance in Nigeria than this. This is total baloney.

Tell the Truth always, as far as I know it.


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