By Jonathan Nda-Isaiah
Abuja — President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday received attestation and confirmation of his 1961 West African School Certificate (WASC) Examination result from the West African Examinations Council (WAEC).
The documents were presented to the president by a delegation of WAEC led by its registrar, Dr Iyi Uwadiae, who paid him a courtesy visit at the presidential villa, Abuja.
Head, National Office of WAEC, Olutise Adenipekun; Head Public Affairs, Abiodun Aduloju and the council’s Zonal Coordinator, Olufemi Oke, were among members of the delegation.
The president thanked the examination board, established in 1952 and which conducts the WASC examination for upholding its integrity over the years, noting that he did not expect anything less from the institution.
Buhari said it would have been impossible for him to have attended the Defence Services Staff College, India (1973) and the United States Army War College as a Nigerian military officer if he did not sit the WASC examinations in 1961.
The president recounted how during his secondary school days it was very difficult to commit examination fraud, even though it was not impossible.
He said, “My colleagues and I who spent close to nine years in boarding school, both in primary and secondary, including Gen Musa Yar’Adua, when we intended to join the military we had to take a military examination.
“We were examined in three subjects, English, Mathematics and General Knowledge because English is the language for general instruction throughout the country because of our colonial heritage.
“Mathematics in the military was necessary, coupled with Geography. We were trained how to be dropped off in the bush, given only a pair of compass and since we were not astronomers, you have to learn to find your way, calculate, using the Pythagoras Theorem and others to work out your position”.
In his remarks, the Registrar said it was possible for candidates to lose their examination certificates through fire and any other unfortunate incident.
Uwadiae said, “We don’t issue certificates twice but we can issue attestations or duplicate copy of the certificate. We also have what we refer to as confirmation. Usually, universities were using this in those days when Information Technology was not in vogue.
“Whoever sat for WASC exams in whatever year, we have the records in our database and Mr President, we have the records of the examinations you sat in 1961.
“We have the attestation of results which we issue to candidates who lost their certificates and confirmation of results”.
Also, the senior special assistant to the president on media and publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, explained yesterday that WAEC considered the controversy concerning Buhari’s school certificate embarrassing and felt a sense of duty to produce and deliver to him a confirmation and attestation of his results in form of a duplicate certificate.
In a piece titled, President Buhari, WAEC and PDP Toxic Air, the presidential spokesman said WAEC’s action was god-sent.
He noted that with WAEC being a non-political entity, “this should put to rest the absurd allegations by the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) brought up again and again, that he did not attend a secondary school”.
Shehu said the unreasonable position of the PDP had been sustained all along in spite of testimony by classmates who read with the president in school and graduated together, despite that a court of law had given a ruling on the matter.
He said, “In 2014-2015 when they raked up the issue, I remember that it took the courage of the then college principal to issue a statement of results from available records. In doing so, he defied the ruling PDP government in the state which asked him not to.
“At the time we got the results sheet, reports said that the government had determined to send arsonists to burn the school to ashes so that the existing records will be obliterated.
“This was against the backdrop of the shocking claim by the Army Records office in Lokoja, that they didn’t keep any records of General Buhari as a military officer”.
It Is Tragicomedy – PDP
In a swift reaction, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday described the attestation certificate issued President Buhari’s by WAEC as a tragicomedy.
The national publicity secretary of the opposition party, Kola Ologbondiyan, labelled the certificate a political certificate, saying the Buhari presidency and his handlers are always fretting at the mention of a certificate.
The PDP spokesman accused the presidency of trying to mislead Nigerians to say that the president has a school certificate.
Ologbondiyan said “It is a tragicomedy. We never expected Mr President to dramatically come this low because you cannot have a certificate and be calling it an attestation.
“What are they attesting to? We stand by our position that Mr President has no school certificate. It’s simply a political certificate. We have said that the Buhari presidency and his handlers are always fretting at the mention of a certificate.
“If Mr President has a certificate, why did he not use it in the 2015 election? Why is the certificate suddenly emerging few months to the election? And have you checked the photograph that was attached to the certificate? In 1961, was it the requirement of WAEC to have a passport attached to school certificate?
“Even in our own generation, was a condition in WAEC that you must submit your passport to be attached to your certificate?”