Amidst swelling allegations that some politicians vying for electoral positions in 2023 have no requisite school certificates, some Nigerians who spoke to our correspondents have stressed the importance of possessing requisite certification as prescribed by the constitution, and raised concerns over the failure of some politicians to provide theirs. Excerpts:
AHAMGBA AYATI: The issue of certificate in politics does not matter. One Nigerian leader that governed the country well was Sir Ahmadu Bello. Alhaji Shehu Shagari was exposed and he performed creditably well too. If you look at the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, it says for president, governor and others, school cert is the minimum benchmark. So, if somebody has secondary school certificate, it’s okay.
Today, professors have failed us. Lawyers are fighting everywhere. They have all failed us. So, for me, the issue of certificate does not come in. Once someone has the school certificate, you are qualified to vie for political office. But where they don’t even have that one, I think government has to be sincere, the courts have to be sincere and send them packing from office. They don’t have any business there because an illiterate cannot understand the economy of this country.
PAUL KYUNGUN: One thing I know about politics is that it’s a game of interest and for some people even when they are not favoured or qualified, they do everything to get in, not minding whether the means is legal or not. They see it as a do or die affair. For me, that act alone is like a time bomb because there are legal implications. The constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria is clear on that and has spelt out the minimum prerequisite.
When you enter politics without certificate or with a forged one, it’s a dangerous game you are playing because a time will come when you will be exposed, and you will face the consequences. As a politician, it is better to make your ways clean by acquiring the prerequisite certificate. So, it’s really a bad trend and a dangerous path to tow. Those who have towed that path before, have themselves to blame. They have ended their political careers in shame. So, I think those who have been discovered to be lacking certificates should be flushed out of the system. We have enough qualified Nigerians.
JOY EMMANUEL: It is saddening that each time Nigeria is about to hold a general election, we hear all manner of stories concerning aspirants’ certificates and education attainment. It is really a shame to say the least.
Nigerians need credible leaders with good educational background and knowledge to steer this nation to the right direction. Someone that can take us from the woods. We have suffered enough as a people.
SIMON PETER: A certificate is not necessary but good governance. At times like this, Nigerians should fix their gaze in more important issues that will grow the country for good and would be better for it and our unborn children.
Nigerians should channel their energy to issue-based politics than mundane issue of a certificate scandal that has failed a court test twice.
There are people who neither had the opportunity of primary nor secondary education but performed exceptionally and brilliantly well in the university. We should be more concerned about performance and not certificates.
COSMOS OKON: Nigerians are focussing attention on issues that are not relevant. The presidential candidate in the two major political parties have been on the corridors of power for some years now. Why is it now that critics will not allow the public have peace of mind on these issues of whether they have certificates or not?
It is not as if questioning their academic background is not good, but the point I’m trying to make here is that we should not dwell much on that and forget to assess their individual personalities in relation to the good governance they can offer to Nigerians. I think the constitution says the minimum requirements for anybody contesting for president is school certificate.
INEC as an electoral umpire should do its work by conducting investigation and screening to ascertain their academic status.
For me, I would prefer to hear from Nigerians the type of president they want this time around; the charismatic qualities such person should possess. Agenda-setting is supposed to dominate public discuss for now, while the other issues such as their respective political pedigrees can be traced by measuring their capacity as leaders.
JUDE MADUIFE: Well, this is not the first time we are confronted with the controversy over certificate of candidates contesting presidential election. In 2015, the incumbent president was faced with this challenge. Up till today, there is still a question mark on whether he is a school certificate holder. I think this time around authorities should not take it for granted. All the candidates should be properly screened before the 2023 general election.
I discovered that the electoral committees of various parties are not interested in the academic standard of candidates. All they want is to field in the person of their choice. Health, academic background, public trust and selfless services make up qualities of a good leader. Nigerians should not overlook these criteria.