Festus Keyamo, Director, Strategic Communications of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Presidential Campaign Council, said a Nigerian citizen does not need to possess a secondary school leaving certificate to contest for the office of the president or governor.
Keyamo, who is also a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), said on Twitter on Monday that his premise is based on the provision of the 1999 constitution (as amended).
Making reference to an interview he granted Channels Television on Sunday, the APC presidential campaign spokesperson stated that the constitution stated the equivalent of a school leaving certificate, which he said could also mean a primary school leaving certificate.
He also said there are other levels of qualification for an aspirant to vie for the office of president, including holding public office for a reasonable length of time.
“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,” Keyamo tweeted.
Speaking on the controversy surrounding the National Examination Council (NECO) certificate of Senator Ademola Adeleke, the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Candidate (PDP) in the 2018 Osun governorship election, Keyamo said the constitution forbids any individual who possesses any fake certificate from being elected as a president or governor.
The senior lawyer noted that Senator Adeleke’s case was entirely different from that of President Muhammadu Buhari, winner of the 2019 presidential election as the certificate of the latter has been verified West African Examination Council (WAEC).
Keyamo tweeted: “By the definition of “School Certificate or its equivalent” in section 318 of the 1999 const. u 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.
“Forgery occurs when the supposed author of a document denies ever making it or denies its authenticity. WAEC has confirmed the authenticity of PMB’s certificate by issuing an attestation of it. Case closed. In #OsunCaseScenario WAEC has denied the authenticity. See d difference?”
Keyamo stated that the mistake purportedly made in the Osun situation was for the affected candidate to have allegedly forged a school certificate, whereas such an individual would have been qualified to contest for the state’s governorship without a WAEC certificate.
Senator Adeleke, who had challenged the election victory of Governor Gboyega Oyetola, was recently declared the authentic winner of the state’s governorship election.
However, a High Court sitting in Abuja on April 3, declared that the PDP candidate was unfit to contest the election as he did not possess a senior secondary school certificate, which is required for an elective position, according to Section 177(d) of the 1999 constitution (as amended).