President Muhammadu Buhari has accused the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, of not possessing the statutory educational qualification to contest the February 23, 2019 election.
In his counter-accusation, Buhari dared Atiku to produce his “educational certificates, indicating the schools attended by him, with dates,” before the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal.
The Independent National Electoral Commission had declared Buhari and his party, the All Progressives Congress, winner of the election.
But Atiku and the PDP filed a petition before the tribunal seeking an order nullifying Buhari’s victory and another order declaring them as the true winner of the poll.
The petitioners alleged, among others, that Buhari gave false information about his school certificate in the Form CF001, which he submitted to INEC.
They had alleged that Buhari did not possess secondary school certificate he laid claim to in the form.
But in a reply filed on his behalf on Wednesday by his lawyer, Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), the President said he possessed more than the constitutionally required educational qualifications to contest the election.
He said it was Atiku who lacked the required educational qualification and challenged him to contradict the assertion with proof.
Buhari said he was “head and shoulder above” Atiku in terms of educational qualifications, training and courses attended, both within and outside Nigeria.
He also said he surpassed Atiku in terms of acquisition of knowledge, certificates, laurels, medals and experience.
The reply read in part, “The respondent (Buhari) 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; and that in terms of educational qualifications, training 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.
“The 1st petitioner is hereby given notice to produce and tender his educational certificates, indicating the schools attended by him, with dates.”
Buhari denied submitting false information to INEC in respect of his educational qualification.
He quoted his resume as reading, in part:
“Elementary School Daura and Maid’adua – 1948 to 1952;
“Middle School, Katsina – 1953 to 1956;
“Katsina Provincial Secondary School (now Daura Government College, Katsina) – 1956 to 1961.”
The reply added, “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.
“The affidavit of compliance to the 2019 Form CF001 was correct in every material particular.
“In filling Form CF001 in 2014 and 2019, the 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 the respondent possesses far more than the constitutional threshold expected of a candidate contesting for the office of President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
Buhari asked the tribunal to dismiss the petition, saying that it contained more of pre-election issues, which the Court of Appeal, sitting as a tribunal lacked jurisdiction to entertain.
He argued that the petitioners’ claims were self-defeating.
He noted that while the petitioners claimed to have won the last presidential election and also won elections in many states in the South-South and the South-East regions of the country, they also urged the court to nullify the election and order a fresh presidential election.
Buhari argued that by virtue of Section 137 of the Electoral Act the, petitioners could not question the results of elections in states where they claimed to have won and still retain themselves as petitioners.
He faulted the petitioners’ claim that the election was marred by corrupt practices and substantial non-compliance with the Electoral Act.
He added, “To the knowledge of the petitioners themselves, and acceptance of the 1st respondent in particular, as well as Nigerians generally, the respondent meets far more than the constitutional and educational threshold demanded of a candidate contesting for the office of President of Nigeria.”
Buhari also denied the claim by Atiku that the TraderMoni policy of the government was a vote-buying measure.
He argued that the policy formed one of the many social intervention policies of the Federal Government, directed at alleviating the suffering of the masses.
Brazil Rally Back to Win U-17 World Cup
Brazil staged a remarkable comeback for the second time in a week on Sunday to beat Mexico 2-1 in front of their own fans and win the Under-17 World Cup for a fourth time.
Just three days after they recovered from being 2-0 down to beat France 3-2 in the semi-finals, Brazil scored two goals in the last 10 minutes to overcome their Latino rivals.
Although Brazil had more of the early chances, Mexico took the lead at 66 minutes when Bryan Gonzalez rose between two defenders to head a cross from the left into the net.
Kaio Jorge equalised from the penalty spot with six minutes remaining after the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) advised officials to pull playback following a challenge on Veron.
Then three minutes into stoppage time, substitute Lazaro ran on to a cross ball and calmly fired home, to the delight of the home crowd.
The Flamengo forward had also come off the bench to score the winner in Thursday’s last-minute win over France.
“They use the VAR when it is convenient for them,” said an unhappy Mexican coach Marco Ruiz. “We had the game under control until the VAR decision. They grew after that.”
The win was revenge of a sorts for Brazil, who lost 3-0 to Mexico in the Under-17 final in 2005, as well as to their Under-23 team in the final of the 2012 Olympics.
Earlier in the day, Arnaud Kalimuendo-Muinga scored a hat trick to help France come from behind to beat the Netherlands 3-1 and take third-place.
Dutchman Sontje Hansen won the golden boot for the top goalscorer with six goals.
Bayelsa Guber: APC Dislodges PDP in Massive Landslide Victory
The candidate of the All Progressives Congress in Bayelsa State, Chief David Lyon, has emerged the winner of the governorship election held on Saturday.
Lyon, who won in six of the state’s eight local government areas, defeated his closest rival, Senator Douye Diri of the Peoples Democratic Party.
Diri won in two local governments.
Lyon’s victory marks the first time the PDP would lose a governorship election in the state since the nation returned to democracy in 1999.
The Chief Returning Officer, Prof. Faraday Orumwense, had after he released the result of the Ekeremor Local Government Area, which was the last being expected by INEC on Monday night, promised that the final result would be made public before 1am on Monday.
Orumwense made good his promise as he announced that Lyon polled 352,552 votes to defeat Diri, who polled 143,172 votes some minutes after 1am.
Lyon was declared winner in six out of the eight local governments announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission at the Prof. Mahmood Yakubu Media Centre in the state commission’s headquarters in Yenagoa, the state capital.
The six local government areas won by the APC are Brass; Nembe; Ogbia, Southern Ijaw, Ekeremor and Yenagoa while the PDP won in the Sagbama and Kolokuma/Opokuma local government areas.
Theatres of War: Four Killed in Kogi, Violence Rocks Bayelsa
The Kogi and Bayelsa states’ governorship elections as well as the Kogi West senatorial rerun were on Saturday characterised by violence, shootings, killings, vote-buying and ballot box snatching as many polling units across the two states experienced tension created by political thugs.
Four people were killed in Kogi during the election by political thugs while many were injured in Bayelsa where peace took flight as a result of electoral violence.
The Commissioner of Police in Kogi State, Hakeem Busari, had before the elections assured residents of the state of the safety of their lives and property as adequate personnel would be drafted for the polls.
The elections commenced on a peaceful note across the state as there was a large turnout of voters with the electorate, mostly women trooped to the various polling units as early as 6.30am in Kogi.
But in spite of Busari’s assurance and voters enthusiasm, mayhem broke out in some polling units in Kogi East, Kogi West and Lokoja, the state capital.
Two persons were also reportedly killed by stray bullets at the Adankolo polling unit in Lokoja.
Sunday PUNCH gathered that the incident happened when some hoodlums tried to snatch ballot boxes at the polling unit.
Eyewitness said the two persons were killed when voters resisted the thugs. The thugs, it was gathered, killed the two persons while a passerby sustained a life-threatening injury from gunshot wound.
This angered the youth who mobilised and set the house of a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress in the area ablaze.
When the state police command was contacted, its spokesperson, DSP William Aya, said all enquiries should be directed to the Commissioner of Police in the state Commissioner of Police.