A prominent Lawyer and Human Rights advocate, Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN), has said that the candidate of the All Progressives Congress, General Muhammadu Buhari, is not qualified to contest the February 14 presidential election.
Ozekhome, who spoke on an Africa Independent Television programme, Kakaaki, on Friday, said the retired General failed to comply with provisions of the electoral law while making entries into the nomination form he submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission.
Ozekhome said, “I know that Nigerians would be curious why this matter is just coming up for the first time and that after all this man had contested the last three Presidential elections.
“I wish to state that I have done, by God’s grace, a lot of election petition matters and I know that up till 2011, INEC form provides that candidates should state their qualifications. In other words, just say that you have O’level; you have B.Sc; you have BL etc; then, you go and sit down.
“But right now, the rule has changed. Form CF001 says apart from filling your qualifications, you must attach them; you must attach photocopies of your qualifications; and to attach means to bind; it means to glue-to. As we look at the form that you have filled, we have to see all your certificates attached to your form.
“So, if you do not attach them, you have not satisfied the minimum requirements; it is therefore not proper to refer INEC to go on a wild goose chase by saying they should look elsewhere for my qualifications.”
The legal practitioner observed that Buhari’s decision to refer INEC to the Secretary of the Military Board for his credentials was like an applicant referring the interviewer to the last place he or she worked.
“That is wrong; the military board we are talking about will also be in possession of the document of the respected general,” he added.
Ozekhome said section 131 of the constitution is clear that the candidate must have not below school certificate level, or its equivalent, and its equivalent means GCE, WASC, NECO, etc; those are its equivalents.
In response, former national publicity secretary of the defunct Congress for Progressive Change, Rotimi Fashakin dismissed Ozekhome’s arguments.
He said it was begging the question for members of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party and their supporters to begin to make a mountain out of a molehill.
Fashakin , who is a close associate of Buhari, said, “The truth is that a drowning man will hold on to any straw that comes his way.
“This administration is coming to an end and the PDP and its candidate have nothing new to tell the people so they are trying to create a scandal where none exists. They know the general is eminently qualified to contest and he is contesting.
“You and I know that if Buhari was not qualified, he would not have joined the army and risen to the position of general and Head-of-State of this great nation. They should look for another thing.”
Written For http://www.globalruns.com