On Sunday, the Spokesman for the All Progressives Congress (APC) Campaign Council, Festus Keyamo said that it is not necessary that a Nigerian president possess a West African Examinations Council, WAEC certificate.
According to Keyamo, there are other levels of qualifications needed to run for the office of President without presenting the certificate.
Keyamo had said if a presidential aspirant has occupied the public office for a reasonable length of time, then he does not need a WAEC certificate to become President of Nigeria.
In Nigeria, any office-seeker is expected to have the minimum of a secondary education without which the person cannot be employed.
His statement has since sparked diverse reactions from Nigerians across the country. While some have agreed with Keyamo’s statement, others have said a Nigerian president must possess the WAEC certificate.
But THE WHISTLER looked at the 1999 Nigerian Constitution as amended, and found Keyamo’s statement as true.
Session 131 of the constitution states thus: A person shall be qualified for election to the office of the President if –
(a) He is a citizen of Nigeria by birth;
(b) He has attained the age of forty years;
(c) He is a member of a political party and is sponsored by that political party; and
(d) He has been educated up to at least School Certificate level or its equivalent.
A further check shows that section 318 of the Constitution defines School Certificate to mean primary 6 School Leaving Certificate, or the ability to just speak, write, understand and communicate in English language, or any other qualification acceptable by the Independent National Electoral Commission.
School Certificate or its equivalent means;
(a) A Secondary School Certificate or its equivalent, or Grade II Teacher’s Certificate, the City and Guilds Certificate; or
(b) Education up to Secondary School Certificate level; or
(c) Primary Six School Leaving Certificate or its equivalent and –
(i) service in the public or private sector in the Federation in any capacity acceptable to the Independent National Electoral Commission for a minimum of ten years, and
(ii) Attendance at courses and training in such institutions as may be acceptable to the Independent National Electoral Commission for periods totalling up to a minimum of one year, and
(iii) The ability to read, write, understand and communicate in the English language to the satisfaction of the Independent National Electoral Commission, and
(d) Any other qualification acceptable by the Independent National Electoral Commission;
Assuming Buhari does not have a Secondary School Certificate when he ran for office, he will still have been qualified to run on account of section 318 c, i, ii, iii.