Being the concluding part published last Wednesday
Section 131(d) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended, qualifies any Nigerian for election to the office of the President, if he/she has been educated up to at least school certificate level, or its equivalent.
School certificate 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.
With Buhari’s military experience, the term, “or its equivalent” exonerated him, according to the argument of those who declared him qualified, based on his military trainings that saw him rise up to the rank of a General.
But the snag in all of these is the various razzmatazz associated with the entire certificate saga, both in 2015 and recently, up to the point at which the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) handed him an attestation.
When the Buhari’s certificate issue started initially, the explanation was that the University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate, now known as Cambridge Assessment had the certificate, it later became that the military was in possession of it, and finally the WAEC attestation.
The question that readily comes to mind is why somebody of the President’s caliber found it difficult to state categorically, and hence resolve the mystery surrounding his certificate as soon as it came up? Who leaves originals of a certificate with any institution? Does this not amount to dishonesty, and hence corruption of sort?
Again, following the APC primaries in Imo State ahead of the 2019 Governorship election, the Governor of the State, Rochas Okorocha, has openly accused the APC National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, of haven received a bribe of #400,000,000.00 million to make his (Okorocha’s) son-in-law as the party’s gubernatorial candidate, but failed to do so.
For all the attention it attracted, the issue was not considered to be significant to the Presidency.
This leads to the second key question, which is that given the fore-going, who between the two key contestants for the 2019 Presidency, in the fold of Atiku and Buhari possess the most testable credentials to lead Nigeria out of the abyss it currently is?
For very empirical reasons, the pendulum strikes towards Atiku. The reasons are numerous. For one, both Atiku and Buhari are Fulanies, understandably being the tribe fingered to produce the President, but Atiku is closest to all sections of the country, if for nothing else, through his businesses which are across the country. He therefore not only mixes freely, but also understands and appreciates the multi-ethnic nature of the country.
Another advantage Atiku has, going by the standard set in 2015, is that any government unable to better the lives of the populace in its first tenure should not be given a second chance. Nigerians believe that it is for the same reason Goodluck Jonathan was voted out in 2015. So, why should the goal post be adjusted to suit some persons?
Consequently, if the Buhari-led Federal Government has made life more unbearable than it was in 2015, after promising to make it easier for the populace from three months of coming on board, another person should rightly be tested. Atiku is only fortunate to be the best contender, in the same way Buhari was in 2015.
Again, even as Atiku has been unjustly painted to be “so corrupt”, he has never been found guilty. Many express the belief that putting the country in his hand could be the best thing that could happen to Nigeria. This, they say, is because with such corruption toga unjustly placed on him, he is more likely to do everything possible to disprove his accusers by turning the tide for a better Nigeria, especially with his business acumen and contacts as an international businessman.
The reasoning is that if Atiku can be so successful in business across the country and abroad, he is in a better position to apply the same dexterity and principles that earned him success in business in building Nigeria’s chequered economy.
There is also the esoteric belief acceptance of the “Atiku personality”, unarguably based on the belief that he is an achiever. This explains why even when they know him the way they say they do, those who want to succeed in politics still want him on their side. The only time they relate him with any negative toga is when he refuses to work with them.
On the other hand, if Atiku also fails to make any reasonable difference in the lives of the people, Nigerians still have the opportunity to remove him after four years, that is if the leaders will continue to be comfortable with a leader doing whatever he likes under the protection of the immunity clause, and he cannot be removed before his tenure expires.
The important thing is that it will be morally very wrong and suicidal to let a leader who has proven to have nothing better to offer the citizenry order than complains over the previous government, and words of deceit, to the point of telling Nigerians that the Government spends as much as #3.5 million to feed a prisoner, who is an acclaimed terrorist, in a month, when a worker who makes sacrifice for the growth of the country is paid #18, 000. 00 per month.
If for nothing else, it will begin to instill a feeling of true democracy in the polity: that the citizenry can after all still remove from power a leader who proves to be unsatisfactory in governance. Unless this is not the essence of democracy.
A’Ibom Rerun: PDP, Ekpeyong Dare Akpabio
Following the ruling by the Appeal Court in Calabar Cross River State, ordering a rerun of the National Assembly elections in Essien Udim Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State, the Peoples’ Democratic Party as well as the Senator representing Akwa Ibom North-West Senatorial District, Senator Chris Ekpenyong have expressed optimism to come out victorious in the rerun.
Ekpenyong and the PDP who said they were never daunted with the ruling of the Appeal court challenged Godswill Akpabio to, first of all, resign his position as the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs and face a rerun, adding that they would defeat him in the polls as they ‘did before.’
The Appeal Court in Calabar on Saturday cancelled the National Assembly elections in Essien Udim Local Government Area, one out of the ten local government areas that constitute the Akwa Ibom North-West Federal constituency due to reported cases of irregularities and violence.
The court added that election results in the other nine local governments remained valid, leaving Akpabio to scout for 38,056 votes in that local government to upturn the victory of his opponent, Senator Ekpenyong.
Results obtained from the other nine local government, excluding Essien Udim Local Government Area showed that Senator Chris Ekpenyong leads with 114, 973 votes while Akpabio has 76,917.
The Independent National Electoral Commission had said that only 19,455 voters were accredited in Essien Udim local government area.
Meanwhile, the PDP State Publicity Secretary, Ini Ememobong in a statement on Saturday described the Appeal court judgement as an opportunity to widen the margin of victory for the PDP.
According to him, “We welcome the judgement of the Court and hereby indicate our preparedness for elections, as this will provide an opportunity for us to widen the margin of victory against Rt. Hon. Emman Akpan, Senator Akpabio and the APC. We are expectant that the Senator will very soon tender his resignation from his ministerial office to meet us in the campaign field, as the law demands.
“Our party urges the general public to ignore the false stories being peddled by members of the opposition, APC, about the judgement- which specifically ordered a rerun in Essien Udim Local Government Area alone. It is on record that the margin of victory currently outstanding is in tens of thousands of votes, which has not been affected by the judgement of the court.”
Dogara Harps On Patriotic Leadership
Former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, has stated that only patriotic citizens at the helm of affairs can save the nation from its series of challenges.
He stated this on Saturday at the 8th and 9th convocation ceremonies of Achievers University, Owo, Ondo State where he was honoured with PhD and subsequently installed as the second Chancellor of the private university succeeding Senator Bode Olajumoke who was installed January 28, 2012.
The federal lawmaker noted that those who are not preoccupied with their parochial ambitions could rescue the nation from the socio-political and economic challenges.
Dogara said: “Nigeria needs true patriots -those who will place premium on the pursuit of freedom rather than the pursuit of personal happiness. This is true if Nigeria would be a great country, especially now that demagogues who are immune to the norms of established society litter the political landscape.”
Meanwhile, the best graduating students in the 2017/2018 and 2018/2019 are Sofowora Erioluwa and Jolapamo Titilayo respectively.
Out of the 400 graduates who graduated from 15 departments, 22 of them had First Class, 217 got second class upper division, 130 second class lower division and 31 had third class.
Other personalities honoured with PhD are Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State, Mrs Olusola Momoh, vice chairman of Channels Television and Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah.
The Vice-Chancellor of the university, Prof. Samuel Ibiyemi charged the Federal Government to give the private universities access to research grants like their public counterparts.
Bayelsa Poll: INEC Boss, NYSC DG Warn Corps Members
The Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Mahmood Yakubu and Director-General, National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), Brigadier General Shuaibu Ibrahim, have warned corps members looking to serve as INEC ad hoc personnel at the November 16 Bayelsa State gubernatorial election to play by the electoral laws.
Yakubu urged them to avoid actions that may undermine the integrity of the election.
He stated this yesterday in Yenagoa while addressing corps members during a sensitization forum.
The INEC boss also disclosed that adequate security has been provided for all Corps members and Corps lodges in the state during and after the election.
Mahmood, who described Corps members as the most reliable, dedicated and committed electoral officers promised prompt payment of all Corps members’ entitlements through their bank accounts.
NYSC DG, Brigadier General Shuaibu Ibrahim said the involvement of Corps members in the country’s electoral system has added more credibility to previous elections.
He described Corps members, as patriotic Nigerians on national assignment that deserve proper welfare from every Nigerian.
‘Be neutral and non-partisan because NYSC would not tolerate any Corps member that violates the Electoral Act’, he said.
General Ibrahim also advised them to be security conscious and look for escape routes in case of emergency.
“Be courteous when dealing with the electorates, caution yourself when provoked and ensure that your phone is fully charged with enough call cards during the election.
‘Run for your dear lives in case of any emergency and don’t endanger your safety’, the DG added.
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