CER­TIFI­CATE SCAN­DALS THREATEN 2019 DREAMS

Weekly Trust - - Front Page - P.4

The muddy wa­ters of power has al­ready made ca­su­alty of some politi­cians as pol­i­tics, law and moral­ity come to play ahead of the 2019 elec­tions over the is­sue of aca­demic and other qual­i­fi­ca­tions with many politi­cians who have tasted the sweet­ness of of­fice hav­ing sleep­less nights to re­main in the cor­ri­dors of power amidst re­sis­tance by their op­po­nents and ‘whis­tle blow­ers’.

The re­cent pub­li­ca­tion of par­tic­u­lars of can­di­dates for var­i­ous of­fices by the In­de­pen­dent Na­tional Elec­toral Com­mis­sion (INEC) showed a kind of “hu­mil­ity” by many as­pi­rants who sim­ply show­cased the min­i­mum aca­demic qual­i­fi­ca­tions re­quired by law which is their sec­ondary school re­sults in or­der to shut out those try­ing to un­der­mine them.

Find­ings by Daily Trust re­vealed that this is un­like what ob­tained in pre­vi­ous elec­tions when as­pi­rants looked for ad­di­tional pa­pers to fill in all sorts of cer­tifi­cates in the CF001 as re­quired by INEC in line with Sec­tion 31 (3) of the Elec­toral Act, 2010 (as amended), which man­dated the elec­toral em­pire to pub­lish par­tic­u­lars of all can­di­dates for pub­lic scru­tiny.

Shortly af­ter the lat­est pub­li­ca­tion by INEC, the de­bate on cer­tifi­cates, rather than is­sues re­lat­ing to devel­op­ment, took the cen­tre stage of po­lit­i­cal dis­cuss. Pres­i­dent Buhari

On Novem­ber 2, the West African Ex­am­i­na­tions Coun­cil (WAEC) is­sued an “at­tes­ta­tion cer­tifi­cate” to Pres­i­dent Muham­madu Buhari af­ter much furore.

Be­fore the pre­sen­ta­tion, Buhari had been severely crit­i­cised by op­po­si­tion politi­cians and ac­tivists soon af­ter they scru­ti­nized his par­tic­u­lars and dis­cov­ered that he said his school cer­tifi­cate was still with the mil­i­tary au­thor­i­ties.

To a cer­tain ex­tent, the an­nounce­ment by spokesper­son, Femi Adesina, in a tweet from his ver­i­fied han­dle that WAEC pre­sented an at­tes­ta­tion cer­tifi­cate and con­fir­ma­tion of school cer­tifi­cate re­sult to Pres­i­dent Buhari “softly” laid to rest, the de­bate over the mat­ter though some peo­ple are still ask­ing WAEC to in­di­cate the exam num­ber of the pres­i­dent, and even ques­tion­ing the pho­to­graph used in the doc­u­ment.

Buhari was ac­tu­ally in the eye of the storm de­spite the fact that there are over 70 pres­i­den­tial as­pi­rants in the race who have all show­cased var­i­ous kinds of cer­tifi­cates.

“What will the naysay­ers say next?” Adesina queried.

Buhari had ex­pe­ri­enced sim­i­lar crit­i­cism ahead of the 2015 gen­eral elec­tions when he was an op­po­si­tion pres­i­den­tial can­di­date. Bin­dow’s WAEC con­tro­versy The cer­tifi­cate con­tro­versy sur­round­ing the can­di­dacy of Adamawa State gov­er­nor, Muham­madu Jib­rilla Bin­dow, came to pub­lic knowl­edge when the Abuja Divi­sion of the Fed­eral High Court or­dered an ac­cel­er­ated hear­ing of a case of cer­tifi­cate forgery filed by a nongovern­men­tal group, In­cor­po­rated Trustees of Global In­tegrity Cru­sade Net­work, against the gov­er­nor.

There are fears that un­less Gov­er­nor Bin­dow es­capes mirac­u­lously, he might likely be re­placed by the APC ahead of next year’s elec­tion to avoid los­ing the gov­er­nor­ship seat to the op­po­si­tion if the court es­tab­lishes that he ac­tu­ally forged the re­sult he is claim­ing.

It is al­leged that the gov­er­nor who at­tended Gov­ern­ment Sec­ondary School Miango in Plateau State, did not sit for the fi­nal sec­ondary school ex­am­i­na­tion con­ducted by WAEC and there­fore sub­mit­ted a fake re­sult to INEC in 2015 be­fore he be­came gov­er­nor. Those who took him to court had al­ready ob­tained and pub­lished a re­sult with the se­rial num­ber the gov­er­nor is claim­ing but a dif­fer­ent name. Rul­ing on the ap­pli­ca­tion for a mo­tion ex­perte brought be­fore him on Oc­to­ber 22, Jus­tice B.O. Quadri granted the prayers of the plain­tiff for ac­cel­er­ated hear­ing as well as leave to serve the orig­i­nat­ing sum­mons on Gov­er­nor Jib­rilla and WAEC at their re­spec­tive ad­dresses in Adamawa and La­gos. Those joined as de­fen­dants are WAEC, INEC, APC and the Nige­ria Po­lice. Back in Yola, an APC youth group loyal to Nuhu Ribadu, the Black Cap Rev­o­lu­tion, staged a pub­lic protest to the state House of Assem­bly, de­mand­ing a probe of the gov­er­nor over the al­leged cer­tifi­cate scan­dal.

The group leader, Mustapha Atiku Ribadu, urged the leg­is­la­tors to in­ves­ti­gate the forgery al­le­ga­tions against the state’s chief ex­ec­u­tive to as­cer­tain the truth and do jus­tice to all par­ties in­volved.

“We are not say­ing the gov­er­nor is guilty, we are sim­ply de­mand­ing an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the mat­ter. We’re law abid­ing cit­i­zens who nur­ture trans­parency, in­tegrity and good gov­er­nance. There is an al­le­ga­tion against our gov­er­nor that the cer­tifi­cate he pre­sented which earned him the lead­er­ship is a syn­di­cated forgery, which is syn­ony­mous with cor­rup­tion,” Mustapha said.

“We want Gov­er­nor Bin­dow to come out clean and clear. We want him to ap­pear be­fore the state law­mak­ers to de­fend the al­le­ga­tion.

“How­ever, should the al­le­ga­tion hold wa­ter, Bin­dow should hon­ourably re­sign in ad­di­tion to with­draw­ing from the 2019 gu­ber­na­to­rial race and face le­gal case, lest our state be re­duced to the repub­lic of cer­tifi­cate forgery for­ever,” he said. Re­ceiv­ing a let­ter from the group, the Clerk of the Assem­bly, Fran­cis Ngangso promised to de­liver it to the House lead­er­ship for con­sid­er­a­tion.

How­ever, the Speaker of the House, Kabiru Mi­jinyawa, dis­missed the de­mand at a ple­nary, say­ing the House could not in­ves­ti­gate a mat­ter that was al­ready be­fore a court of law.

Mean­while, an ag­grieved APC gov­er­nor­ship as­pi­rant, Mah­mud Halilu who is younger brother to the wife of the pres­i­dent, Aisha Buhari, has threat­ened to drag Jib­rilla to court for us­ing a fake WAEC cer­tifi­cate.

Be­sides the court threats, the con­tro­versy be­came more in­ter­est­ing when INEC re­leased names and cre­den­tials of 28 gov­er­nor­ship as­pi­rants in the state as vot­ers and crit­ics dis­cov­ered that Jib­rilla who emerged the APC can­di­date at­tached a school tes­ti­mo­nial to his nom­i­na­tion form rather than a WAEC cer­tifi­cate.

The in­clu­sion of “a mere tes­ti­mo­nial” seems to have con­fused some of his sup­port­ers

The con­tro­versy led to the pre­sen­ta­tion of WAEC at­tes­ta­tion to Pres­i­dent Muham­madu Buhari re­cently.

Al­haji Ade­bayo Shittu

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