Buhari can order army to produce his certificates if they exist – Atiku

The Peoples Democratic Party and its presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, have faulted President Muhammadu Buhari for saying his academic certificates are with the Nigerian Army.

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Replying to Buhari’s response to their petition filed before the Election Petitions Tribunal, they said if it was true that the certificates existed, Buhari as the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces could order the army to produce them.

Atiku said he attached his academic certificates to the Form CF001 he submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission.

In a joint petition filed on March 18, the former Vice-President and his party urged the tribunal to declare them the authentic winner of the February 23 presidential election, insisting Buhari did not possess the educational qualifications he claimed to have in his INEC Form CF001.

They said in the reply filed on April 15 by their legal team, led by Dr Livy Uzoukwu (SAN), that having not been able to attach his academic certificates to INEC Form CF001, Buhari had falsely claimed that his certificates were in the custody of the Nigerian Army.

The joint reply filed by Atiku and the PDP read in part, “In further response to paragraph 381(iv) of the 2nd respondent’s reply, aver that the petitioners have no knowledge of any certificates or alleged qualifications issued to the 2nd respondent (Buhari), but contend that 2nd respondent falsely represented that his certificates are in the custody of the Nigerian Army when the 2nd respondent by his own admission is the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Nigeria.

“In further response to paragraph 381(iv) of the 2nd respondent’s reply, the petitioners aver that the 2nd respondent as Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Nigeria could easily order the Army Secretary to produce the certificates allegedly submitted if they actually exist.

“Contrary to paragraph 381(i-iv) of the 2nd respondent’s reply, the petitioners aver that the 2nd respondent does not possess the educational qualification he claimed to have in his INEC Form CF001 submitted to the 1st respondent (INEC) having not been attached as required.”

The petitioners also stated that “the purported training and courses”, which Buhari claimed placed him “head and shoulders above” Atiku regarding educational qualifications to contest the presidential election, “did not culminate in the issuance of any certificates he claimed in his INEC Form CF001”.

They also described Buhari’s claim of being head and shoulders above Atiku as “erroneous”.

Responding to Buhari’s allegation that Atiku didn’t have the statutory educational qualifications to contest the polls, the petitioners stated that the ex-VP attached his educational qualifications to his Form CF001 submitted to INEC.

Insisting Atiku was qualified to contest election for the office, the petitioners stated that Buhari was unable to present any certificates because he did not possess any “as he falsely claimed”.

They stated, “In reply to paragraph 383 of the 2nd respondent’s reply, the petitioners aver that the 1st petitioner (Atiku) is eminently qualified to contest election to the office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and had indeed attached evidence of his educational qualifications to his INEC Form CF001 submitted to the 1st respondent, unlike the 2nd respondent (Buhari) who did not attach evidence of the qualifications he claimed in his INEC Form CF001 because he does not possess them as he falsely claimed.”

INEC, Buhari, and the All Progressives Congress (Buhari’s party) are the 1st to the 3rd respondents to the petition.

No date has been fixed for the hearing of the petition by the tribunal.

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