Opposition political parties under the aegis of the Coalition of United Political Parties have described as suspicious the Friday’s presentation of the attestation of result to President Muhammadu Buhari by the West African Examinations Council at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The CUPP, which comprises about 42 political parties including the Peoples Democratic Party and the African Democratic Congress, alleged that there were indications that the result was hurriedly released to stall the commencement of the suit seeking to disqualify the President from contesting the 2019 presidential election.
The Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the President, Mr. Femi Adesina, had in a statement on Friday said the attestation of results was presented to the President during a courtesy visit by a delegation of WAEC led by its Registrar, Dr. Iyi Uwadiae.
He said the registrar was accompanied by the Head, National Office, WAEC, Mr. Olutise Adenipekun; the council’s Head of Public Affairs, Abiodun Aduloju; and the council’s Zonal Coordinator, Abuja, Olufemi Oke.
The President had come under heavy criticism when he once again submitted affidavit to the Independent National Electoral Commission in place of his credentials, stating that his credentials were with the military.
This prompted Saturday PUNCH to approach WAEC to find out if the President could apply for another certificate.
The body said it was possible but that the candidate must apply for it.
There are strong indications that WAEC may have issued the results to Buhari following Saturday Punch’s enquiries to the council in Lagos during the week.
The body had expressly said that the President had yet to apply for his statement of results. It however said, Buhari, like any other candidate, had a right to do so.
To further confirm that WAEC probably took the decision to issue the statement of results after Saturday Punch’s investigations, the Channels TV, which was one of the three media allowed to cover the presentation ceremony, quoted one of the Presidential aides as saying, “WAEC said the controversy surrounding President Muhammadu Buhari’s school certificate was embarrassing and felt a sense of duty to produce and deliver to him a confirmation and attestation of his results in form of a duplicate certificate,” thus implying that the President didn’t apply for the results.
Saturday PUNCH had on Tuesday contacted the headquarters of WAEC in Nigeria, located in Yaba, Lagos, to know if the President could apply for another certificate to replace the missing one to enable him to clear the air over the matter.
In response, a WAEC spokesperson, Mr. Demianus Ojijeogu, said, “Yes, he can apply. We have had instances of people who lost their certificates, some were attacked on the road by armed robbers and they lost their certificates in the process and some lost theirs to fire incident.
“If it’s the transcript, which is the confirmation of results, that he wants, he can also apply for it; we would send it to any institution or agency that he wants us to.”
He further explained that in the case of the President, who took the school examination as a pupil of Provincial Secondary School, now Government College, Katsina, the President could apply directly to WAEC or through the principal of the school.
Ojijeogu said, “If anybody sits our exam, and from what I have deciphered, his (Buhari) was a school examination, every candidate that sat the examination that year has his or her certificate printed and sent to school to be given to the candidates.”
It, however, appears the Council later chose to deliver the result to the President, following Saturday PUNCH’s enquiries.
Speaking later, Ojijeogu said the Council chose to deliver the results to Buhari as a mark of respect to him as the Council could not expect the President to come and collect the results.
He pointed out that while a candidate could collect the attestation in person, the transcript would be sent to the agency or institution that needs it.
“We have a record of all the certificates that we have issued since WAEC was founded. If by any chance the certificate is burnt or lost, such a person can apply for their result and we will issue an attestation of result,” Ojijeogu stated.
When later asked why the President’s attestation of result bore his picture, he explained that this was the normal practice as the body was issuing the document afresh.
Results presentation laughable – Opposition
The opposition parties had challenged the President to produce his results, saying Buhari had something to hide for insisting that his certificates were with the military when he could have applied for attestation or confirmation of his results since 2003 when he started contesting for the office of the president.
But following the presentation of the attestation of results to the President, the CUPP described the action as “laughable, unbelievable and a desperate effort to mislead the court and shield the President from disqualification from participating in the election.”
In a statement issued in Abuja by its National Spokesperson, Ikenga Ugochinyere, the CUPP called on WAEC to produce the official ledger and booklet containing the scores and records of names of students of the Provincial Secondary School, Katsina, now called Government Secondary School, Katsina.
The booklet, he said, must contain the names of those that sat the exam in 1961 and not a “manufactured result which is not backed with any evidence to show President Buhari participated in the 1961 exams.”
The CUPP spokesperson alleged that WAEC succumbed to what he called “high level pressure to issue the document” which he said was aimed at misleading Nigerians and the court to believe that Buhari sat the WASSCE.
The coalition added, “Let Nigerians be reminded that few days ago, the opposition raised the alarm that there was ongoing move to tamper with the records of WAEC and pressure the leadership into manufacturing a result for President Buhari.
“Today’s (Friday) action of WAEC has vindicated our earlier fears and confirmed our stand that WAEC is now competing with Oluwole Market in manufacturing documents.
“WAEC should either present the original 1961 ledger and booklet containing the names of the 1961 candidates who sat the exam from the school in Kastina to back up their confirmation of result issued to President Buhari or apologise to Nigerians for attempting to mislead them with the booklet and destroy the credibility of the once-respected examination body.”
Ugochinyere noted that no amount of desperation could change the mind of Nigerian voters from voting out the “incompetent regime of President Buhari that has destroyed the Nigerian economy, divided our people and made our nation insecure.”
The political certificate is tragicomedy –PDP
Meanwhile, reacting to the development, the PDP, which is the main opposition party, described the presentation of the results to the President as tragicomedy.
It said there were many things that suggested that the action of the examination body was suspicious.
The PDP National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Kola Ologbodiyan, told journalists in Abuja that the PDP did not expect the president to descend to such a level.
He said, “It is a tragicomedy. We never expected Mr. President to dramatically come this low because you cannot have a certificate and be calling it an attestation. What are they attesting to? We stand by our position that Mr. President has no school certificate.
“It is simply a political certificate. We have said that the Buhari presidency and his handlers are always fretting at the mention of a certificate. So, they want to mislead Nigerians to say that Mr. President has a school certificate.
“If Mr. President has a certificate, why did he not use it in 2015 election? Why is the certificate suddenly coming out few months to the election? And have you checked the photograph that was attached to the certificate? In 1961, was it the requirement of WAEC to have a passport attached to school certificate?
“Even in our own generation, was it a condition in WAEC that you must submit your passport to be attached to your certificate? They should come off it. It’s too low. You remember they procured Martin Luther King Award presented to our president which later was discovered to be fake? This is a similar award, a procured one. We are waiting for the story of its declaration as another procured document.”
The whereabouts of the secondary school certificate of Buhari, who is the presidential candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress for the 2019 election, has been enmeshed in controversy following the President’s claim that his credentials were with the military board.
However, the military had in 2015 said none of the President’s original copy, Certified True Copy or statement of result was in its archive.
Buhari’s spokesperson, Mr. Femi Adesina, had last Sunday said the military said it had lost the certificate.
Following the presentation of the credentials to the President on Friday, Adesina in the statement quoted the President as thanking the examination body for upholding its integrity over the years.
Buhari, who said he did not expect anything less from the Council, noted that it would have been impossible for him to have attended the Defence Services Staff College, India in 1973 and thereafter, United States Army War College, as a Nigerian military officer, if he did not sit the WASSCE in 1961.
The President said, “My colleagues and I who spent close to nine years in boarding school both in primary and secondary, including Gen. Musa Yar’Adua, when we intended to join the military we had to take military examination.
“We were examined in three subjects, English, Mathematics and General Knowledge because English is the language for general instruction throughout the country because of our colonial heritage.
“Mathematics in the military was necessary, coupled with Geography. We were trained how to be dropped off in the bush, given only a pair of compass and since we were not astronomers, you have to learn to find your way, calculate, using the Pythagoras Theorem, and others to work out your position.”
The statement quoted the registrar as saying it was possible for candidates to lose their examination certificates through fire and any other unfortunate incident but that the council does not issue certificates twice.
He was quoted as saying, “We don’t issue certificates twice but we can issue attestations or duplicate copy of the certificate. We also have what we refer to as confirmation. Usually, universities were using this in those days when Information Technology was not in vogue.
“Whoever sat WASC exams in whatever year, we have the records in our database, and Mr. President, we have the records of the examinations you sat in 1961. We have the attestation of results which we issue to candidates who lost their certificates and confirmation of results.”
Discrepancies in Buhari’s WAEC results
According to the attestation of results, the President made C5 in English Language, P7 in English Literature, A3 in History, C6 in Geography, C5 in Hausa and C6 in Health Science, making a total of six subjects recorded.
But, in the result released and signed by the then Principal of Provincial Secondary School, Katsina, dated January 21, 2015, the President took eight subjects, and he made F9 in both Mathematics and Woodwork.
No comment on Buhari’s certificate, says INEC
Meanwhile, the Independent National Electoral Commission says the issue of President Muhammadu Buhari’s certificate is between him and Nigerians and would therefore not comment on the matter.
INEC’s Director of Voter Education and Publicity, Oluwole Osaze-Uzzi, said this during an interview with one of our correspondents on Friday.
Osaze-Uzzi said the commission does not comment on the credentials of candidates.
When asked if the President would be allowed to substitute his WAEC certificate with the affidavit he swore to wherein he claimed that his credentials were with the military, Osaze-Uzzi said he could not say for sure.
He said, “We have posted the particulars of every Presidential candidate and I cannot comment on any candidate and what they intend to do.”