President Muhammadu Buhari has responded to allegations in the petition by Atiku Abubakar and his party, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), before the Presidential Election Tribunal of not possessing the statutory educational qualification to contest the February 23, 2019 election.
In a preliminary objection, Buhari dared Atiku to present his “educational certificates, indicating the schools attended by him, with dates,” before the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal.
Buhari said he was “head and shoulder above” Atiku in terms of educational qualifications, training and courses attended, both within and outside Nigeria.
He also said he surpassed Atiku in terms of acquisition of knowledge, certificates, laurels, medals and experience.
The reply filed on Wednesday by Buhari’s lawyer, Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), partly reads:
“The respondent (Buhari) avers that he is far more qualified, both constitutionally and educationally, to contest and occupy the office of President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria than the 1st petitioner; and that in terms of educational qualifications, training and courses attended, both within and outside Nigeria, he is head and shoulder above the 1st petitioner in terms of acquisition of knowledge, certificates, laurels, medals and experience.
“Respondent states further that it is the 1st petitioner who is not qualified to contest the office of President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and challenges the educational credentials and certificates of the 1st petitioner.
“The 1st petitioner is hereby given notice to produce and tender his educational certificates, indicating the schools attended by him, with dates.”
Buhari also denied submitting false information to Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in respect of his educational qualification. He quoted his resume as reading, in part:
“Elementary School Daura and Maid’adua – 1948 to 1952;
“Middle School, Katsina – 1953 to 1956;
“Katsina Provincial Secondary School (now Daura Government College, Katsina) – 1956 to 1961.”
The reply added, “He (Buhari) did not, at any time, provide any false information in the Form CF001 submitted to the 1st respondent, either in 2014 or 2018.
“The affidavit of compliance to the 2019 Form CF001 was correct in every material particular.
“In filling Form CF001 in 2014 and 2019, the respondent was not oblivious of the constitutional qualifications stipulated in Section 131 of the Constitution and interpreted in Section 318 of the same Constitution.
“Petitioners themselves are also not oblivious of the fact that the respondent possesses far more than the constitutional threshold expected of a candidate contesting for the office of President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
Buhari asked the tribunal to dismiss the petition, saying that it contained more of pre-election issues, which the Court of Appeal, sitting as a tribunal lacked jurisdiction to entertain.