I Am Qualified Academically More Than Atiku, Buhari Boasts
President Muhammadu Buhari (image courtesy State House)

President Muhammadu Buhari has stated that his academic qualifications are far more than that of Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Buhari made the statement following a petition filed by Atiku and the PDP challenging his victory during the February 23 presidential election.

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Atiku had in his petition to the presidential election tribunal claimed that he won the presidential election.

The former vice president alleged that the result from the server of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) shows he defeated Buhari in the election.

According to the result declared by INEC from the 36 states and the federal capital territory (FCT), Buhari polled 15,191,847, while Atiku came second with 11,262,978 votes.

But the PDP candidate claimed he garnered a total of 18,356,732 votes to defeat Buhari, who, according to him, polled 16,741,430 votes.

He also alleged that Buhari was not qualified to contest for the presidential election as he did not possess the minimum qualification of a school certificate as required by the constitution.

However, in a response filed by a team of lawyers led by Wole Olanipekun, Buhari said it was Atiku who was not qualified to contest the election, challenging him to produce his educational certificates indicating the schools attended by him with dates.

The president went further to say that he “was way above” the former vice president in terms of acquisition of knowledge, certificates, laurels, medals and experience.

He also denied submitting false information to INEC concerning his qualification.

“He (Buhari) did not, at any time, provide any false information in the Form CF001 submitted to the 1st respondent, either in 2014 or 2018,” he said.

“The affidavit of compliance to the 2019 Form CF001 was correct in every material particular.

“In filling Form CF001 in 2014 and 2019, respondent was not oblivious of the constitutional qualifications stipulated in Section 131 of the Constitution and interpreted in Section 318 of the same Constitution.

“Petitioners themselves are also not oblivious of the fact that respondent possesses far more than the constitutional threshold expected for a candidate contesting for the office of President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“The respondent avers that he is far more qualified, both constitutionally and educationally, to contest and occupy the office of President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria than the 1st petitioner (Atiku); and that in terms of educational qualifications, trainings and courses attended, both within and outside Nigeria, he is head and shoulder above the 1st petitioner in terms of acquisition of knowledge, certificates, laurels, medals and experience.

“Respondent states further that it is the 1st petitioner, who is not qualified to contest the office of President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and challenges the educational credentials and certificates of the 1st petitioner.

“1st petitioner is hereby given notice to produce and tender his educational certificates, indicating the schools attended by him, with dates.”

The president, therefore, asked the tribunal to dismiss the petition, saying it contained more of pre-election issues, which the tribunal lacked jurisdiction to hear.

He further challenged the petitioners to produce evidence of their claims that their votes were manipulated.

“The entire reliefs are not justifiable, as the petitioners, who claim to have scored majority of lawful votes in substantial number of states, are also questioning their own return in those states,” he said.

“The petitioners cannot act as petitioners and respondents in the same petition. The alternative relief sought is self-defeating, apart from being frivolous.

“The election to the office of President on 23rd February, 2019, was conducted in substantial compliance with the provision of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended).”