Festus Keyamo, spokesman for President Buhari 2019 Presidential Campaign, has stated that an aspirant does not need a WAEC certificate to become a president or governor in Nigeria based on the provisions of the Constitution.
Keyamo, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), made the statement on his verified Twitter handle.
He said: “There are other levels of qualifications to run for the office of president. In fact, if you have occupied the public office for a reasonable length of time, by the provisions of the Constitution, you do not even need a WAEC certificate to become president of Nigeria.”
Keyamo had tweeted his responses at a television interview earlier held on Sunday.
In an apparent reply to the Peoples Democratic Party, which had argued that Muhammadu Buhari didn’t deserve to run for presidency given the controversies surrounding his WAEC certificate, the Buhari campaign spokesperson alluded to the 2018 Osun governorship election scenario.
In the Osun case, the PDP candidate, Ademola Adeleke, was sued in separate instances by the opposition and also by members of his party concerning the status of his SSCE certificate.
Keyamo argues, “Yes. Section 318 of the 1999 Constitution defines ‘School Certificate or its equivalent’ to mean Primary 6 School Leaving Certificate plus the ability to just speak, write, understand and communicate in English language to the satisfaction of INEC. No WAEC certificate is needed.
“By the definition of ‘School Certificate or its equivalent’ in Section 318 of the 1999 Constitution, you don’t need a WAEC certificate to become President or Governor, but if you present a FORGED WAEC or other certificate to INEC for any office you will be disqualified. #OsunStateScenario.”
He explained further that forgery occurs when the supposed author of a document denies ever making it or denies its authenticity.
In reference to Buhari’s certificate saga, Keyamo tweets, “WAEC has confirmed the authenticity of PMB’s certificate by issuing an attestation of it. Case closed.
“In Osun case scenario, WAEC has denied the authenticity. See the difference?
Taking a swipe at those who had criticised President Muhammadu Buhari’s WAEC status, the SAN warned that it was “extremely foolish” for anybody who is not statutorily empowered to issue WAEC certificates to challenge the body that has the statutory power to issue certificates.
“Let me end my free lecture series by saying that the crux of the matter is that if you don’t have a WAEC certificate, there’s no need to go ahead and forge one in a bid to be governor or president.
“You can still be qualified, regardless. That’s the mistake made in Osun case scenario.”