As a presidential candidate it is important that I weigh in on the recent controversy surrounding a fellow presidential hopeful, Muhammadu Buhari. I realize that section 131 (d) of the constitution says that a person shall be qualified to run for president if he has been educated up to at least School Certificate level or its equivalent. Now some may argue that the words “at least” imply that you do not need a WAEC result if you have something higher than it. Just like a woman who says she will not sleep with her husband if he does not get her at least an iPhone 4 – if he gets her an iPhone 6, she will not insist on the iPhone 4 abi? But Presidential elections is not marital politics. People have said Buhari, who attended many post graduate military courses in Nigeria and abroad, including the US War College, must produce a School Certificate, or whatever certificate they had in the last century when he was in school. I am no expert. But if the constitution mentions School Certificate, then so be it.
Some of Buhari’s supporters have expressed annoyance that Buhari had to disturb the Principal of his old secondary school for a re-issue of his 1961 certificate. Me, I understand. Buhari needs to show us his certificate. There are at least two reasons why:
1. A certificate shows that you were not smoking Indian hemp with your school fees when your parents thought you were going to school. I still sometimes run into one of my school mates who never graduated from school because he thought it was smart to spend his school fees. Whenever we meet, he asks me for 50 or 100 naira for “transport”. But I know he only wants to transport some marijuana into his system. Imagine that somehow a guy like that becomes our president because our laws failed to ask for the proper documents. Imagine a junkie going for an international meeting and selling our oil wells so he can buy drugs. People do strange things under the influence of drugs. Section 131 makes sure this kind of thing will never happen to our country. God bless Section 131.
2. Whenever I enter a local drug store I always look for the certificate hanging on the wall to be sure that the proprietor is a registered drug retailer. I know that it is usually a photocopy but as long as the words and signature are legible, I am fine. Then I know that the Benylin with Codeine or Postinor 2 I am buying is less likely to be fake or expired. And I know that if, worst case scenario, the drugs don’t work because they are fake I can report him to the body with which he is registered. In life it is good to have certainties like that. Imagine not knowing if the guy selling you Postinor 2 is registered or not. Just imagine. Certificates are really useful.
My advice is that as soon as Buhari receives a hard copy of his certificate from his alma mater in Katsina (or Cambridge), he should quickly make an A3 copy, frame it, and hang it in his office together with a class photo of his secondary school showing other persons who are capable of attesting to the fact that he did finish secondary school.
No one has asked me to produce a certificate, but I know my political enemies. They can spring up and embarrass me. So I am going to tell you all about my Secondary School certificate. Almost 20 years ago, before I finished secondary school, I wrote my first GCE exam. Of course I failed woefully. I passed only English, Hausa and Foods and Nutrition. Don’t ask me why I registered for Foods and Nutrition in GCE.
In my second School Certificate exam I still couldn’t pass mathematics. I got a P7. But Nigerians shouldn’t despair. It is not by passing mathematics that one becomes a great leader. Sir Winston Churchill did very poorly in school and had to apply to the Royal Military College many times, finally opting for cavalry instead of infantry because in cavalry you didn’t need mathematics to apply. Today, 50 years after his death, he is one of the most quoted world leaders. So you see, you have nothing to fear in my case. In fact, I went on to write a third exam where I narrowly passed mathematics with a C6. This alone is enough to show you that I never give up, even when I fail mathematics. If you are in doubt, send me a message and I will email you a scanned copy of all three certificates. It would be nice if you could come out en masse on February 14 with your PVCs to vote for me as the only candidate who really, truly cares.