The 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended states in very clear terms in Section 131(d) that a person shall be qualified for election to the office of the President of Nigeria if he/she has been educated up to at least School Certificate level or its equivalent.
By the school certificate, it implies Ordinary Level. This therefore renders anyone that has attained or acquired education leading to a certification by the West African Examination Council (WAEC) or its equivalent eligible to contest for the Office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
However, by the above constitutional provision, it is pertinent to note that WAEC certificate is not absolute for the election of a president in the subsection. It unambiguously utilises the word “at least” which destroys the absoluteness of WASC as a requirement. By this position, must O’ Level; that is, WAEC certificate, be presented as academic requirement? The answer is emphatically NO. Any aspirant with superior certificates needs not present WAEC certificate to the electoral umpire.
Thus, aspirants with diploma, bachelors, masters or doctorate degrees or their equivalent in the military need not present WAEC certificate which is simply the least academic requirement to participate in the race.
The Nigerian media influencers have taken over the cyber space with the conversation and, indeed, controversy about the educational qualification of the All Progressives Congress, APC, presidential candidate in the 2023 election, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu; this is not new. It was a major issue during the 2015 elections that trailed President Muhammadu Buhari’s WAEC certificate, which was later found when he eventually won overwhelmingly the presidential election.
No doubt, there was widespread disenchantment around the media, especially those who narrowed their thoughts that certificates will led to President Buhari’s disqualification and failed to build their campaigns on issue base, ending up as narrators.
As for the populace, particularly the electorate, national interests and welfare of the people should always be the decisive factors. The unending dirges over minimum academic requirement are uncalled for and symptomatic of misplaced priorities and values.The masses’ concern should be on the way forward, essentially, with a judicious comparative assessment on the system under watch of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, for nearly two decades and the present APC administration. The person in question was a Nigerian governor and legislator who had a fortune of making and implementing laws on different occasions.
Holistic appraisals will give astute directions whether to go for Tinubu’s APC, Atiku Abubakar’s PDP, Peter Obi’s Labour Party, LP, or Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso’s New Nigeria People’s Party, NNPP. Tinubu was a Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the highest law making body in the country, and was an executive governor for two consecutive terms overseeing the implementation of sound laws, policies and programmes that spring up Lagos state today as a destination of business in Africa and nerve centre of the Nigerian economy. Is this a basis for conversation today? NO,
The discussion has been completely shifted to him not having primary and secondary certificates even with his BSc in Accountancy from Chicago University that is second to none in Nigeria.
Nigerians have been busy for nothing since 2015, 2019 and heading towards 2023 general elections which is akin to indolence. At this point, campaigns should be extensive, policy and issue based on national interest and not on frivolities. The fundamental issue that should dominate the polity at this critical juncture is the resuscitation of the economy, promotion of candidates who can bring to an end the insurgency in the North-east, farmers-herders clashes, kidnapping for ransom, wealth and job creation through diversification, and, above all, restore the unity and harmony of Nigeria as a single entity alongside the Nigerian people where tribes and religion are not an identity.
Therefore, issues should shift to competence, credibility and ideology for service delivery. The question that mostly dominates our minds is the baseless issues that help no one in the end. Tinubu, Atiku, Obi and Kwankwaso as frontrunners in the 2023 presidential election should be engaged in debate like former President of USA Donald Trump and the incumbent President Joe Biden instead of the name swinging and name calling on media platforms anchored by politicians of likeminds.
For example, by APC’s scorecard, has the country been realistically, economically secured, restructured, and significantly making progress to necessitate its reelection for consolidation and progression?
On the other hand, does the leading opposition PDP now have what it takes to lead the country distinct from its 16 years administration? Does it now have significant blueprints or reviewed policies for the people different from the typical rhythm with no economic foresight? What policies or strategies can it guarantee to put in place towards ensuring that the nation does not revert to the era of a ‘leading consuming-nation, fantastically-corrupt state and colossally looting dispensation’? The above questions should dominate the squabbles in the political terrain rather than spending our precious time questioning what is not questionable.
According Wikipedia, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Adekunle Tinubu was born on March 29, 1952. He attended St. John’s Primary School, Aroloya, Lagos and Children’s Home School in Ibadan, Oyo state, South-west Nigeria. He proceeded to the United States in 1975, where he studied first at Richard J. Daley College in Chicago, Illinois, and then at Chicago State University. He graduated in 1979 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting.
Tinubu worked for years with the American companies Arthur Andersen, Deloitte, Haskins, & Sells, and GTE Services Corporation. On returning to Nigeria in 1983, Tinubu joined Mobil Oil Nigeria, and later became an executive of the company. He was elected Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in 1992 on the platform of the Social Democratic Party, SDP, and later governor in 1999 and re-elected for the second term in 2007.
The media pundits should have focused more on how he assembled the best brains in his cabinet that fashioned out a 24-year development blueprint for Lagos state. In five years,Tinubu had awarded contracts for 422 road projects, and 308 were completed. He repositioned the health sector through heavy financial and human capital investment by building more general hospitals and introduced free healthcare policy for children below 18 and adults above 65 years.
He changed the face of Lagos from being the dirties city in the world to the cleanest one. He made Lagos a home for all Nigerians where both the rich and the poor roll for a living. As a mentor, Tinubu built an empire and political dynasty of leaders across the length and breadth of Nigeria.
Tinubu has been a subject of attacks long before he declared his intention to run for president of Nigeria. He survived the military juntas for fighting for the cause of democracy. He survived former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s political face off. Tinubu led a revolution with the merger of the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, and APC to unseat an incumbent federal government.
He overwhelmingly and convincingly won the APC presidential primaries amidst betrayals plots. He won the campaign of calumny against his health and he won the campaign of calumny concerning his running mate. It seems the media cannot frustrate Tinubu’s ambition to become the president of Nigeria in 2023.
Tinubu’s pedigree and track records of achievements in service to humanity cannot be sacrificed to please the power brokers who have failed to groom warriors other than media influencers.
A Nigerian whose name has these dossier of success stories requires only a typical ignorant to believes that he has no primary or decondary school certificate.
He has proved himself to be a fountain of economic, political and educational knowledge and this should not be debated unless one is on the other side of the coin. Chicago University only accepts the best brains which is why Jagaban is a master of the game and stands for the best to compete.
Get your permanent voter card, PVC.
Danaudi, National President of Arewa Youths Advocate for Peace and Unity Initiative, writes from Bauchi via [email protected].