Rules are made for a reason — mostly to keep everyone honest. For example, if you want to vote in Nigeria, you’re expected to have a permanent voter’s card (PVC). You simply cannot vote without it.
And if you want to appear on the ballot as a candidate for any political office, there are requirements you need to clear. They’re nothing extreme like sacrificing your firstborn child or dancing naked at the cemetery on a full moon night.
They’re basic things like not being a criminal, being the right age (you can be too young to run) and submitting the right documents to prove you’re who you say you are.
Nigerian politicians are notorious for misplacing these documents, especially the certificates that prove they went to school.
President Buhari is perhaps the poster boy of certificate scandals in Nigeria because it wasn’t enough to deny him the country’s highest political office. But he is, by far, not the only perpetrator of the missing certificate trend.
With the 2023 general elections in full swing, there’s a new batch of politicians who have a problem presenting their certificates. Who are they?
The irony of Buhari handing over power to another president with a shifty history with certificates is pretty loud, but that’s a possibility in 2023. The candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu, told INEC his primary and secondary school certificates went missing while he was in exile to escape the claws of General Sani Abacha’s military government.
The omission won’t affect his candidacy as he’s submitted his university certificate which is above the minimum requirement of School Certificate level. But something does smell.
Birds of a feather do flock together because Tinubu’s running mate, Kabiru Masari, also failed to submit original primary and secondary school certificates to INEC.
His story is he lost the certificates somewhere in Abuja in January 2021 and has been unable to retrieve them. He submitted an affidavit instead.
Ifeanyi Okowa, the vice-presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), has his own certificate drama. In place of a West African School Certificate (WASC), the current Delta State governor submitted an
excuse affidavit. He said he lost his certificate and asked INEC to take his word for it that he had an outstanding result.
Malik Ado Ibrahim
The presidential candidate of the Young Progressives Party (YPP) told INEC he lost his original BSc. certificate while in transit from Kaduna to Abuja in July 2021. We imagine it involved a high-speed chase and gravity-defying stunts that ended in a ball of fire.
And the certificates were lost forever
The trend of Nigerian politicians with missing certificates is a worrying one that’s lasted for too long. Not only does it call into question the integrity of the potential public servant, it ridicules the country’s electoral process.
Politicians aren’t doing enough to obtain certified true copies of their lost certificates because the system is not making that demand of them, and that has to change.
If systems don’t work as they should, what’s the point of having them?