The presidency has said the military had admitted losing President Muhammadu Buhari’s certificate.
“The military already said they lost the certificates. But does it mean that it did not exist that the president went to school, sat for examinations and passed; attended military courses and War College?,” Femi Adesina, Buhari’s spokesman, said in an interview with The Nation.
Buhari failed to provide his academic credentials to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) last Thursday as one of the requirements to contest elective positions in the country.
The president claimed that they are in the custody of the military.
“I am the above-named person and the deponent of this affidavit herein. All my academic qualification documents as filled in my Presidential form, APC/001/2015 are currently with the Secretary of the Military Board as of the time of this affidavit,” Buhari said in an affidavit submitted to INEC.
The president’s claim had triggered a controversy on the matter, with the major opposition Peoples Democratic Party insisting he must present his credentials to be eligible for the post.
“INEC is invited to note that Nigerians are aware that by Buhari’s declaration, that his said certificates are with the military, his nomination documentation is therefore constitutionally incomplete, making him ineligible to contest the 2019 Presidential elections,” PDP said.
However, Adesina, said the issue is dead and those still discussing it were “idle”.
“The certificate saga is a dead issue, only idle people will consider it. It is something that had been laid to rest before the 2015 general elections,” Adesina said.
“Those raising the issue are idle and they have run out of ideas. They see defeat staring them in the face and they are desperate to cling to any straw. This issue was resolved before the 2015 election.”
He said when Buhari and some of his colleagues joined the military, their original certificates were taken from them.
“The military knew where they kept the original certificates of the president. In fact, a former chief of defence Staff, Gen. Alani Akinrinade, corroborated that the military collected the original certificates of all its officers,” he added.
According to the constitution, to run for president a candidate must show that they at least have a school-leaving certificate that must be submitted to the electoral commission.
In 2015, Buhari, a former military head of state, failed to present the same document.
At the time, he said that if the electoral authorities needed the documentation, they should contact the military, where he had spent most of his career.