ABUJA — Chairman of the defunct Presidential Screening Committee of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu has said that the party’s presidential candidate, General Mohammadu Buhari was cleared for primary election strictly on the provisions of the 1999 Constitution as amended.
Besides, he said that the affidavit produced by Buhari during the screening exercise provided every conviction needed to clear him.
Onu also added that the person of Buhari who had hitherto attended many military institutions both at home and abroad before rising to the pinnacle of his career in the Nigeria Army could not have done so without passing his examinations at primary and secondary school levels.
He wondered why the certificate has suddenly been made an issue even when Buhari had contested previous elections without hitches.
He said: “Really that issue shouldn’t create the kind of problem that we are seeing today in the polity. When this matter came before us in the presidential screening committee, we had to rely on the constitution of our great country to qualify anybody to be president of Nigeria.
“You have to be a Nigerian by birth. He has to be 40 years of age. He has to be a member of a political party and that political party must sponsor you and finally should obtain education at least up to secondary school level or equivalent.
“And our presidential candidate had attended military schools, in Nigeria, in India, in the United Kingdom, UK, and in the United states of America, USA. He attended the US army war college. So, there isn’t any reason whatsoever to create this type of problems that we now have in the polity.”
Asked if the committee demanded a copy of the school certificate during the screening, Onu said the affidavit gave them the needed proof.
“No, we demanded for that, but there was an affidavit and you know once you swear to an affidavit, that definitely gives you whatever protection in any matter not just in this case.
“But the thing is that we were not doing this for the PDP, we were doing it for Nigeria. This is a man who will be president of Nigeria and there is a supreme law, the constitution that guides us and the issue of qualifications is at least a school certificate.
“So if there is evidence that somebody has attended military schools that are tertiary institutions up to the war college of the USA, I mean why should you really go into school certificate and so on?
“But the Army has shown that he applied in Form 6. Many young people don’t know we used to have Form 6. I attended Form 6. I attended higher school that is what it is called then and you spend 2 years at the lower and the upper. You can’t go to Form 6 unless you completed your Form 5 and he got all the credits in the relevant subjects. So all those are in his file.”
The APC chieftain while dismissing the issue however said that Nigeria had other issues such as insecurity and unemployment yearning for urgent attention now than Buhari’s certificate