In a strange coincidence, documents submitted by the vice presidential candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr. Ibrahim Masari, to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) have revealed that the placeholder, like the principal candidate, Senator Bola Tinubu, could not also produce requisite certificates to back his stated academic qualifications.
However, the Action Alliance (AA) asked a Federal High Court to restrain INEC from including APC and its candidates on the ballot for the 2023 presidential election.
In an effort to meet the deadline for the submission of nomination forms of presidential candidates for next year’s election, Tinubu, who won the presidential ticket of APC, had announced Masari as his running mate. But there were plans to substitute him within the substitution window in the electoral guidelines.
Masari is a Muslim from Katsina State in the North-west geopolitical zone, where the current president, Muhammadu Buhari, hails from.
The choice of Vice President has become a tough one for Tinubu, following the strong division in the country along religious and ethnic lines. He said recently at the 60th birthday ceremony of Speaker, House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, that he was still searching for a substantive partner, provided Masari voluntarily resigned in line with the new electoral laws.
However, the Form EC9 bearing Masari’s particulars revealed that he did not attach any certificate in support of his educational qualifications. Masari, rather, attached a sworn affidavit claiming the loss of vital documents, including his school certificates.
According to the court document Masari claimed to have lost his certificates alongside other documents last July in Abuja.
The sworn affidavit deposed to at the Supreme Court, Abuja, read in part, “That sometime in January 2021, while on transit within Wuse Area, FCT-Abuja, I discovered that my original Certificate of Occupancy (C of O) of Plot, No. KT 17522, GRA, Katsina, Katsina State; Certificate of Kaduna State Development Centre from 1994 – 1995; Grade ll Certificate from Katsina Teachers’ College (KTC) from 1978-1983 and First Leaving School Certificate, issued by Masari Primary, Katsina State, from 1972-1978, got lost.”
Masari added that all efforts to trace the documents proved abortive, hence, the affidavit.
Tinubu’s Form EC9 published by INEC last Friday, which revealed that the APC presidential candidate did not fill the column for his primary and secondary school education, had generated a lot of controversy, with some political parties and groups threatening to go to court. The felt the APC presidential candidate could not have left the two spaces blank after listing his primary and secondary schools, with dates attended, in his Form CF 001 for the governorship election in 1999 in Lagos State.
But Tinubu had explained that he could not explain the whereabouts of his certificates after soldiers invaded his house while he was in self-exile during the fight against military regime in the country, post-June 12, 1993 presidential election annulment.