The controversy trailing President Muhammadu Buhari’s West African School Certificate (WASC) has taken a new dimension with a fresh war of words between the Presidency and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Garba Shehu, issued a statement on Monday in which he accused the opposition party of sowing division among the people.
He described the suit challenging the President’s certificate as a waste of time, stressing that there were records of higher qualifications obtained by hard work and truly merited by Mr President.
“This certificate story is an old one,” Shehu said. “As Femi Adesina stated clearly, it is a settled issue in the courts.”
He added, “To approach the court to pursue a matter long settled by the temple of justice is an abuse of the judicial system. It is shameful, disgusting and disgraceful.
“It is clear to all at this time that the PDP, facing an imminent humiliating defeat wants to sow division and chaos by seeking the destruction of the institutional structures that support our young democracy.”
The presidential aide accused the PDP of attacking the courts and the police, as well as molesting commissioners of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Ahead of the general elections in 2019, he alleged that the party was spreading falsehoods against persons perceived as their opponents, including the President.
“By doing these, they assume that they can take away attention from the discussions on issues gaining momentum in the country; the issue of internal security which has been jeopardised by years of near-zero investment under 16 years of the PDP; the provision of long-delayed infrastructure which the President is pioneering; corruption to which the PDP is incurably tied and the sustenance of the prevailing good days in the economy, a business-friendly government working day and night, creating more jobs and affordable living for the poor,” said Shehu.
He believes the elections should not be about the settled issues of certification, adding that Nigerians should not believe them.
The President’s spokesman also claimed that the party put the national security at stake by diverting huge budgetary allocations “to service their greed”
These allegations later got a response from the PDP through its National Publicity Secretary, Mr Kola Ologbodiyan, who issued a statement on Tuesday.
Ologbodiyan purported that the fretting and jittering in the Presidency, whenever the issue of President Buhari’s academic certificate was mentioned, confirmed assertions that the President was ostensibly hiding something from Nigerians.
He, therefore, challenged President Buhari’s handlers to do the needful by placing the certificate in the public domain.
“The Buhari Presidency should know that their threats and confrontation cannot take away the fact that their principal’s certificate issue requires a personal responsibility and Mr President cannot wish away this responsibility as he had always done on official matters,” said the PDP spokesman.
He stated further, “If Mr President has nothing to hide; he should end the confrontations by his presidency and show integrity by writing the military authorities to make public the said certificate.
“In failing to do so, Mr President is opening himself to public opprobrium, particularly as millions of Nigerian youths see such as grossly undesirable of a leader, expected to set examples.”
Ologbodiyan advised the Presidency to note that Nigerians were aware that President Buhari was not the only retired military officer to aspire for elective office in the country, and none of them said their certificates were being held by the military.
“The PDP, therefore, holds that Mr President must show Nigerians his claimed school certificate upon which his nomination as a candidate is based,” he stressed.
“If he does not have this credential, he should make such declaration and stop the nebulous claim that his credentials are with the military.”