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Still on Buhari's controversial certificate

Published by Daily Times on Wed, 11 Feb 2015

by Chijama OgbuT he controversy over the certificates of the Presidential candidate of All Progressives Congress (APC), General Muhammadu Buhari, has aroused more questions than answers. Is it that the retired army general joined the army without the prerequisite qualifications' If he indeed went to a secondary school and obtained the certificate that was bandied around in the media, why is he not in custody of the originals'Why did he say it was with the military, when he indeed knew all along that it was not so' What is the veracity of the certificate ' There are many questions that Buhari needs to answer to put the matter to rest.This is not a matter that can be dismissed with the wave of the hand as the APC and its supporters may wish. This is because it goes beyond the veracity or otherwise of the certificate. At the core is whether the general, whose major selling point is his claim to integrity, lied in his INEC form'The certificate and accompanying documents tendered by Buhari still left many questions unanswered because his details were hardly discernible from the copies shown to the media.Besides, as the director of Publicity, Jonathan Campaign Organisation, has said while rejecting the certificate, that some of the lettering of the document appeared superimposed.Buhari had originally claimed under oath that his certificate was with the military. The military later came out to say that they were not in possession of such certificate.This back-and-forth and barefaced equivocations smack of misalignment of facts and this is under oath.Three scenarios are possible here. One, that General Buhari never really obtained a school certificate as claimed and is trying to cover up. Two, the certificate that was released by his former school was doctored to suit his political objectives. Three, he had obtained a certificate but is not willing to tender it because of poor results.Notwithstanding the above possibilities, political pundits believe that what is playing out is the consequence of some special concessions discreetly given to persons of northern extraction to enable them catch up with their southern counterparts. To achieve this, the entry requirements were gratuitously waived.So while the likes of Emeka Odimegwu Ojukwu joined the army with his Oxford Cambridge Masters degree, his northern counterpart was being admitted without even a WASC certificate.Many were admitted based on recommendation from a school principal.This was corroborated by Colonel Ben Gbulie (retd) in his book, Nigerian Five Majors.He wrote, In an attempt to catch up militarily with the South, the northern politicians had thrown out all discretion. They had lowered standards of admission drastically, settling for the minimum.For as I recalled, all the Northerners in my intake had been trained at the Mons Officer Cadet School in Aldershot. And they had become officers after barely six months of military training, whereas those of us who had been sent to Sandhurst had had to do two long years to earn the Queens Commission.The implications were quite clear - and most disturbing. Not only had these Northerners become commissioned officers before we were half-way through our first year at Sandhurst, they had all risen to the enviable rank of Captain before we could even appear at the sovereigns parade which served essentially as a prerequisite for our passing out as Second Lieutenants.Granting that Buhari actually obtained the certificate he presented, what is glaring is that he failed mathematics, which is a primary requirement for admission into the officer cadre. Persons who are well-informed on military matters said that there was no way the APC flag bearer would have risen legitimately to be a general in the army without meeting the entry requirements of credit in English, Mathematics and three other subjects.With the yoking together of divergent and disparate entities by the colonial powers, so much compromise was fostered on primordial sentiment.The social malaise dates back to the period when the likes of Buhari were recruited into the military on compromised standard and pushed up the ladder, over and above their counterparts from the South.Buhari is a product of that warped past. He is used to seeing other peoples rights and privileges frozen for him to forge ahead of them.And the unfortunate thing is that the beneficiaries of that old order believe it must continue.That is why they are uncomfortable whenever power is domiciled elsewhere. Nigeria craves for a new order where equity and justice form the fulcrum of our national aspirations and relationships.
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