The military has denied being in possession of the certificates of Muhammadu Buhari, presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The subject of Buhari’s certificate has been one of the most topical issues ahead of the February 14 presidential election.
On December 30, it was discovered that rather than tender his certificates to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Buhari had tendered an affidavit, saying the military board was in possession of his certificates.
“I am the above-named person and deponent to this affidavit therein,” his document read.
“All my academic qualifications documents, as filled in my presidential form, president APC/001/2015, are currently with the secretary, military board, as of the time of presenting this affidavit.”
Both the People Democratic Party (PDP) and its presidential campaign organisation have since been kicking, saying Buhari is unfit to contest without certificates.
But at a press conference on Tuesday, Olajide Laleye, a brigadier-general and director of army public relations, clarified the controversy.
“Let me state clearly that the Nigerian army holds the retired senior officer in very high esteem and respect and would not be a party to any controversy surrounding his eligibility for any political office,” Laleye said.
“Suffice to state that Major-General Buhari rose steadily to the enviable rank of Major-General before becoming the Head of State of our dear country in December 1983.
“The media hype on retired Major General Muhammadu Buhari’s credentials as well as the numerous requests made by individuals and corporate bodies to the Nigerian Army on this issue have necessitated that we provide the facts as contained in the retired senior officer’s service record.
“Records available indicate that Major General M Buhari applied to join the military as a Form Six student of the Provincial Secondary School, Katsina on 18 Oct 61.
“His application was duly endorsed by the Principal of the school, who also wrote a report on him and recommended him to be suitable for military commission. It is a practice in the NA that before candidates are shortlisted for commissioning into the officers’ cadre of the Service, the Selection Board verifies the original copies of credentials that are presented. However, there is no available record to show that this process was followed in the 1960s.
“Nevertheless, the entry made on the NA Form 199A at the point of documentation after commission as an officer indicated that the former Head of State obtained the West African School Certificate (WASC) in 1961 with credits in relevant subjects: English Language, Geography, History, Health Science, Hausa and a pass in English Literature. Neither the original copy, Certified True Copy (CTC) nor statement of result of Major General M Buhari’s WASC result is in his personal file.
“I hope this explanation will put to rest the raging controversy surrounding the secondary school credentials of Major General Mohammed Buhari as it affects the Nigerian Army.”