Controversy over the secondary school result of President Muhammadu Buhari was finally laid to rest on Friday as he was presented with an attestation certificate and confirmation of school certificate result by officials of the West African Examination Council.
The Registrar of the Council, Dr Iyi Uwadiae, made the presentation at the president’s mini conference hall at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Uwadiae, who was accompanied by senior staff of the council, performed the ceremony during a courtesy visit to the State House.
The presentation was witnessed by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Boss Mustapha, Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu and other presidential aides.
President Buhari’s certificate became a major political campaign issue in 2014 when the then ruling party, PDP, insisted he lack the basic educational requirement to contest the presidential election.
Buhari had told INEC that his certificate is in possession of the Nigerian Army.
The controversy was ignited again few weeks ago following the publication of his credentials for the February 2019 election.
According to INEC, the president said his school certificate result and other academic credentials were with the Nigerian military, which he served from 1961-1985, retiring as head of state and commander-in-chief of the armed forces.
The main opposition Peoples Democratic Party, expectedly on October 26 challenged Buhari to show proof of his integrity by presenting his academic credentials “if he has any,” to the INEC.
Apart from the PDP, a legal practitioner even went to court to challenge Buhari to produce the certificate, prompting several Senior Advocates of Nigerian, SANs, to appear in court in his defense.
However, many ‘Nigerians are of the view that the controversy was needless, considering that the president since 1961 after he finished his secondary education, had attained further education, leading to a Masters Degree in Strategic Studies at US War College.
Buhari was born on 17 December 1942 in Daura and began attending Central Primary School in the town at the age of six.
He spent three years in the primary school, from where he went to to Katsina Middle School. Following the abolition of the middle school system, he became one of the first students to be admitted to Kankia Primary School in 1954; he graduated in 1955.
In 1956 he proceeded to the Katsina Provincial Secondary School. There he became a School Monitor in Class II; a school prefect; a House Captain; and ultimately Head Boy of the school.
He was also at different times, a long distance runner (800 metres); a debater for his house; a player in the school’s hockey team, and the head of his unit in the school’s military cadet. He graduated in 1961 and joined the army immediately. In those days, the military recruited from the secondary schools and he and his peers were so attracted to the army.
In the army, the president also had further education. He attended the Nigerian Military Training College (NMTC) in 1962.
From 1962 to 1963, Buhari underwent officer cadet training at Mons Officer Cadet School in Aldershot in England.
In January 1963, at age 20, he was commissioned a second lieutenant and appointed Platoon Commander of the Second Infantry Battalion in Abeokuta, Nigeria.
From November 1963 to January 1964, Buhari attended the Platoon Commanders’ Course at the Nigerian Military Training College, Kaduna.
In 1964, he attended the Mechanical Transport Officer’s Course at the Army Mechanical Transport School in Borden, United Kingdom.
He also attended the Defence Services Staff College, Wellington, India, in 1973 and capped it with a masters degree at the US Army War College.
Reacting to the presentation of the WAEC to President Buhari, opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, dismissed the attestation certificate issued to President Buhari by the West Africa Examinations Council, WAEC.
PDP National publicity secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, said it is tragic that the president went low to prove he has secondary school result.
“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’s 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 emerging 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 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 the procured Martin Luther Award presented to our president which later was discovered to be fake? This is a similar award, a procured. We are waiting for the story of its declaration as another procured document.”