A NUMBER of Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) leaders from the North are at loggerheads with the party’s Presidential Campaign Council over the controversy surrounding the secondary school certificate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential candidate,General Muhammadu Buhari.
The Northern PDP leaders are upset with the presidential campaign council for ‘ridiculing’ Buhari over the school certificate issue when the facts are obvious,multiple party sources told The Nation yesterday.
over the school certificate issue when the facts are obvious, multiple party sources told The Nation yesterday.
Information yesterday from the United States of America (USA) where Buhari attended one of the most prestigious military institutions also shed light on his training there.
Sources said that the certificate saga which the campaign council had obviously planned to use to rubbish Buhari’s integrity has now backfired in the North and the immediate worry is that the dust raised by the controversy could cost the PDP more sympathy in the region.
“Most PDP leaders are worried that the issues being raised on Buhari’s eligibility may backfire on the party’s electoral fortunes,” one source said.
“I am aware that most PDP leaders and members from the North are just unhappy because the little goodwill for the party in the region may be completely lost.
“Already, the PDP is fast losing ground in the North since the attacks on Buhari’s personality and credentials started. Some of those who had been sympathetic to PDP are now having a rethink.
“Some PDP leaders are already calling for a ceasefire on this certificate matter because it is portraying the party and its candidate, President Goodluck Jonathan, as desperate.”
Another respected PDP leader said: “Some of our leaders and members in the North are angry. They are trying to use the certificate saga to reopen old prejudices by the South that Northerners are largely uneducated or without certificates. In 1979, they did it to ex-President Shehu Shagari by deriding him as a mere Grade II teacher.
“This type of politics will certainly not help our party at all. We have been making representation to the PDP leadership to halt this hate campaign.”
The PDP may also have breached Section 31(3-5) of the Electoral Act for joining issues with Buhari on the certificate matter.
Sources at the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) said the PDP should have laid its complaints between December 25, 2014 and January 1, 2015.
The commission, in its timetable for the general elections fixed December 25, 2014 to January 1, 2015 for claims and objections.
It was learnt that the PDP has failed to comply with three issues in Section 31 of the Electoral Act.
• Refusal to comply with the seven-day period for claims and objections
• Failure to apply to the INEC for a copy of Buhari’s nomination form
• Ruling party yet to file any application before a High Court on Buhari’s credentials
Section 31(3-6) says: “The commission shall within seven days of the receipt of the personal particulars of the candidate publish same in the constituency where the candidate intends to contest the election.
“A person may apply to the commission for a copy of the nomination form affidavit and any other document submitted by a candidate at an election and the commission shall, upon the payment of a prescribed fee, issue person with a certified copy of the documents within 14 days.
“Any person who has reasonable grounds to believe that any information given by a candidate in the affidavit or any document submitted by that candidate is false may file a suit at the Federal High Court, High Court of a state or FCT against such person seeking a declaration that the information contained in the affidavit is false.
“If the court determines that any of the information contained in the affidavit of any document submitted by that candidate is false, the court shall issue an order disqualifying the candidate from contesting the election.”
A highly-placed source said: “The PDP is confused because there is no record showing that either the party or any of its leaders has applied for a copy of the nomination form of Buhari from the INEC.
“Instead, the party is just playing to the gallery in the media to heat up the polity. This is unfortunate for the nation’s political environment.
“As I am talking to you, the PDP is yet to comply with Section 31 of the Electoral Act on issues against Buhari.”
Meanwhile, the United States Army War College has opened up on how Gen. Buhari earned a Diploma from the elite institution.
The testimony by the college also confirmed that Buhari obtained a higher certificate beyond the minimum requirement of the West African School Certificate (WASC) required to be the nation’s President.
The college said the focus of the course was on Army professional education requirements.
The Public Affairs Officer, U.S. Army War College, Carol Kerr, made the disclosure in a January 23, 2015 response to an enquiry sent to the college by The Nation.
Kerr said : “The following is offered in response to questions you’ve forwarded to the Army War College. I am sending a single email so that you will all have the same information about the value of the 1980 diploma earned by Col. Buhari, and the role of international officers at the Army War College.
“Retired Maj-Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, of Nigeria, is a 1980 graduate of the 10-month Army War College resident education program, at Carlisle Barracks, Pa.
“Col. Buhari was a member of the third Army War College class to have included International Fellows. The Class of 1980 was the first student body to have a large enough number of International Fellows to sit one in every student seminar. The International Fellows Program was part of a major initiative to strengthen the Army War College curriculum by bringing broader perspectives of international partners into the War College experience.
“The Chief of Staff of the Army invites International Fellows from select countries to attend the Resident Education Program and Distance Education Program each year. These programs offer an opportunity for International Fellows to participate with U.S. students in seminar and to study, research, and write on subjects of significance to the security interests of their own and allied nations.
“The International Fellows establish mutual understanding and rapport with senior
U.S. officers and foreign officers and enrich the educational environment of USAWC.
“Since the International Fellows are immersed in U.S. culture, they have an opportunity to acquire firsthand knowledge of the United States and its institutions through study and travel.
“Since 1980, the International Fellows Program has expanded broadly. The Class of 2015 includes 79 international officers, representing 73 countries.
“Each student seminar group in the resident education program includes three to four International Fellows studying alongside US military officers of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force, with representation from the US Coast Guard and selected civilians of several federal agencies.
“All US Army War College students are competitively selected for attendance – by their Service if a US military officer, or by their country’s armed forces when the country receives an invitation.
“In general terms, the Army War College resident education program still has the same major themes, albeit in 1980 there was more focus on operations. The college was, and remains, focused on professional education for national security professionals to serve society.
“Overwhelmingly the focus was and is on Army professional education requirements.”
The revelation by the college put paid to any agitation by the PDP.
Section 131 says: “A person shall be qualified for election to the office of President if (a) he is a citizen of Nigeria by birth; (b) he has attained the age of forty (40) years; (c) he is a member of a political party; and (d) he has been educated up to at least School Certificate level or its equivalent.”