New Telegraph

December 11, 2023

Tinubu, Masari’s missing certificates: Law, not sentiments, should prevail –Lawyers

Lawyers yesterday said that the law provisions of the country should be allowed to take its full course in the matter of the missing certificates of the Presidential Candidate of the All Progressive Congress (APC) Ahmed Bola Tinubu and his running mate, Kabiru Masari. The lawyers who said that the court of law should be allowed to decide on the matter one way or the other added that such development is not good for Nigeria’s democracy.

Both Tinubu and Masari have claimed that they do not have their academic certificates with them. Tinubu had reportedly told the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) that his certificates were looted by unknown persons while he was on self-exile. The candidate skipped information regarding his primary and secondary education, but said he attended University of Chicago between 1972 and 1976 where he obtained B.Sc in Economics.

He also said he had B.Sc in Business and Administration, as well as a certificate in Public Account. However, the Form EC9 bearing Masari’s particulars revealed that he did not attach any certificate in support of his educational qualifications. Masari, rather, attached a sworn affidavit claiming the loss of vital documents, including his school certificates. The lawyers argued that the court should be allowed to decide the issue one way or the other. Chief Iheke Solomon while reacting said that, “the issue of red flags on the qualifications and certificates of Tinubu and his running mate, Massari, should be tested in court, litigated by those who have locus on the matter. “That’s perhaps the one sure way to lay to rest this longstanding controversy, especially concerning Ahmed Tinubu. Even INEC has no power to determine the matter.

Someone with sufficient interest should approach the appropriate court on the matter, and armed with all the facts and evidence to establish the baseness of Tinubu’s claims.” For Timileyin Ojo, “The issue of certificates is not as complex as we have made it to be. It is unfortunate that an issue as simple as this is made to become so contentious.

The constitution is clear, as part of the qualification to run for the office of the President, a presidential aspirant is qualified to contest for president if he/she has at least a secondary school certificate. “Nobody should be above the law, this is the starting point of the Nigeria we should build. On the current issue, it is only INEC that can make clear statements on tion of things, it is unwise to argue on speculations, but the law is settled and unambiguous and should be interpreted in that light for all candidates.” Another lawyer, Livinus Onuike called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), to urgently disqualify both Tinubu and his running mate.

“It has become necessary for Tinubu to be disqualified from the 2023 Presidential election and prompt replacement by APC following controversial educational qualification claims made by him as contained in his presidential nomination forms recently published by the INEC.

“The issue about Tinubu’s basic education certificates or lack of it represents a test case for the electoral umpire as it would form one of the yardsticks to determine its partisanship or non-partisanship as the 2023 general elections draw near. “By not presenting his basic certificates as required by law for those running for political offices in the country, Tinubu stands automatically disqualified from partaking in the presidential race.” Another lawyer, Dr. Nusa Abraham, noted that for every action guided by law or provided for by law, such action must be carried out strictly by the law regulating it. “The issue is that certificates which ought to be submitted were not submitted. The owners claimed that their certificates were looted and missing respectively. This claim is not a substitute for showing that they actually possess the said certificates.

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