It’s as laughable as it is tragic to read people making a bone out of presentation or possession of Certificates. This is in the light of the ruling on alleged non possession of the West African School Leaving Certificate by President Muhammadu Buhari which the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal ruled on two days ago.

I dare say that being educated or receiving education up to a certain level is not exclusively the same as acquiring a piece of paper as Certificate. Don’t take my word for it. Take the words of the learned Justices even though I know we are all pocket Lawyers and Judges in Nigeria.

The fact that some of the people making these dumb arguments and twisting the ruling of the Tribunal are Lawyers who supposedly followed the proceedings of the ruling of the PEPT and the painstaking, extensive and logical arguments laid out by the Judges and yet could still not understand or pretend not to comprehend the real import of the ruling on qualification to contest for Presidency in light of clear provisions of the Constitution, is in itself a tragedy and calls to question their supposed education.

The greater tragedy is that many people listen to the likes of Ikenga Imo Ugochukwu, Fani Kayode and Reno Omokri. At a time when people suspend their own capacity to analyze issues for and by themselves and sublet or wholesale surrender their sense of reasoning and comprehension on issues to others can only portend grave danger.

It might seem funny and exciting or help to further our negative, partisan politics and disdain for Buhari and APC today but all these manipulations, distortion of facts, mischievous gerrymandering and deceitful propaganda would surely have a long term impact on our citizens especially our youths whose own education today is nothing to write home about.

It actually beats my imagination that we could spend so much energy on this. Some of us pretend that it is only in Nigeria that emphasis is not placed on mere paper qualification/certificates but rather on actual education, training and experience to run for such office. Some of us who love ‘saner climes’ so much can do well to tell us what academic qualifications an American President requires to run for office and how many American Presidents since their first President were exceptionally educated academically with paper Certificates to boot.

Or have we not seen people who possess certificates without attending school or being educated? There must be an end to sarcastic, negative and manipulative politics.

Yes, the actual position of the Law in this regard of qualifying to run for office is being educated up to secondary school level and I thought the Tribunal judges did thorough justice to it in plain language that it’s only an olodo that won’t understand it.

And Yes, if the records exist and an appropriate authority can attest that one actually attended a school from a certain period to a certain period, that suffices as proof of education up to that level. That’s very much in line with what the Constitution provides in this regard. If one can produce a Certificate, that is also good but not being able to produce one for whatever reason does not obliterate the fact that one went through that level of education. A certificate is issued at the end of the education, not before.

Furthermore, remember that there are other conditions and qualification criteria attached or provided for by the Constitution. So if President Buhari had even left out school certificate and taken any of all the other options including holding certain positions and attending certain courses acceptable to INEC, he would still be eminently qualified.

So why do we waste our time?

It is for this same reason that we reject capable hands for positions, jobs or employment while deferring to people with bogus paper qualifications and certificates, some of which were simply bought with money or even sex and which they cannot defend.

Have we wondered how much formal school qualifications or Certificates Engineers that come from Germany with Julius Berger hold, yet they do the finest construction projects?

We really need a mindset change. Simple.

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