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Is Buhari qualified to run for office, and did he graduate from secondary school?

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    YES!

    Section 131 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) sets out qualification for election to the office of President. It provides as follows:

    131. A person shall be qualified for election to the office of the President if –
    (a) he is a citizen of Nigeria by birth;
    (b) he has attained the age of forty years;
    (c) he is a member of a political party and is sponsored by that political party; and
    (d) he has been educated up to at least School Certificate level or its equivalent.

    Section 318 (1) of the Constitution interprets “School Certificate or its equivalent” in sub (d) above to mean:

    (a) a Secondary School Certificate or its equivalent, or Grade II Teacher’s Certificate, the City and Guilds Certificate; or
    (b) education up to Secondary School Certificate level; or
    (c) Primary Six School Leaving Certificate or its equivalent and –
    (i) service in the public or private sector in the Federation in any capacity acceptable to the Independent National Electoral Commission for a minimum of ten years, and
    (ii) attendance at courses and training in such institutions as may be acceptable to the Independent National Electoral Commission for periods totalling up to a minimum of one year, and
    (iii) the ability to read, write, understand and communicate in the English language to the satisfaction of the Independent National Electoral Commission, and
    (d) any other qualification acceptable by the Independent National Electoral Commission;

    The Court of Appeal Ibadan recently decided in ACN Vs. ADELOWO & ORS (2012) LPELR-19718 (CA) that a candidate or aspirant need not pass, possess, or produce a certificate to meet requirements of the Constitution. These are the precise words of the Court:

    “From the clear words of the constitutional provision, it did not require or state that an aspirant or candidate… must pass or possess a certificate. The most important thing is to have been educated up to secondary school level or the equivalent, passing the senior secondary school certificate examination and obtaining a certificate cannot be read into… the 1999 constitution as amended. What is required under the law is that there must be evidence that a candidate is educated up to the required level and not that he must or should produce a certificate to prove the level of education attained…’. PER UWA, J.C.A (Pp. 52-53, para.D-C)

    General Buhari submitted his particulars to INEC on oath, which is what the law requires him to do. In addition to this, he has demonstrated that he completed secondary school education by asking his school to release his results. As seen below, not only has the school released the result, a University of Cambridge photocopy of the results of 18 students who wrote the West African School Certificate examinations in 1961, including Buhari and Shehu Musa Yar’Adua, is also available.

    University of Cambridge - West African School Certificate (1961)
    Muhammadu Buhari - WASC Result

    In the spirit of openness, Buhari also requested documents showing details of his application to the military – an institution he had relied on to produce his documents when they were called for.

    Documents requested by Buhari from the Military

    Buhari's application to sit for military exams

    Principal's recommendation

    Principal's recommendation and signature

    As new propaganda starts around a Wikipedia entry that claims Yar’Adua’s entry into the army was in 1959, two years before the year stated as their joint year of entry by Buhari, the following entry from page 27 of “Shehu Musa Yar’Adua: A Life of Service” shows that they were classmates and graduated together in 1961:

    “So it was that at the end of 1961, Yar’Adua, Buhari, and several other classmates joined in sitting for the army recruitment exam. To their mutual delight, celebrated with telexes from Lagos to Katsina, they passed. In 1962 they were admitted to the Nigerian Military Training College (NMTC) in Kaduna.”

    Page 27 from Shehu Musa Yar'Adua: A Life of Service

    Picture from opposite page 92 of

    In his own words:

    “I had assumed all along that all my records were in the custody of the Military Secretary of the Nigerian Army. Much to my surprise, we are now told that although a record of the result is available, there are no copies of the certificates in my personal file. This is why I formally requested my old school the Provincial Secondary School, Katsina to make available the school’s copy of the result of the Cambridge/West African School Certificate… let me say for the record that I attended Provincial Secondary School, Katsina. I graduated in 1961 with many prominent Nigerians, including General Shehu Yar’Adua, former chief of staff at the Supreme Headquarters, and Justice Umaru Abdullahi, a former President of the Court of Appeal. We sat for the University of Cambridge/WASC Examination together in 1961, the year we graduated. My examination number was 8280002, and I passed the examination in the Second Division.”

    References:
    1. Vanguard Newspaper, January 21, 2015, http://www.vanguardngr.com/2015/01/buhari-met-constitutional-requirements-contest-president-constitutional-lawyer
    2. Premium Times, January 21, 2015, http://www.premiumtimesng.com/news/headlines/175384-breaking-katsina-college-releases-buharis-%E2%80%8Bwasc-results.html
    3. Premium Times, January 21, 2015 (b), http://www.premiumtimesng.com/news/headlines/175352-exclusive-nigerian-army-releases-academic-records-buhari.html
    4. Shehu Musa Yar’Adua Foundation, “Shehu Musa Yar’Adua: A Life of Service”, pp 27, 92 (opposite)

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