Buhari’s Certificates: Forgive Me Nigeria, For I Have None

One just can’t keep from comparing Nigeria’s twisted  psycho-social conditions with badly made movies. The country is reeling from the worst economic downturn, ever, crime and death are very normal,  South Africa is killing Nigerians, among other crimes and  Mohammadu Buhari, its harassed president, is being shoed around like a malfunctioning robot by a cabal some still insist really controls him. Vice President Osibanjo has practically evaporated.
And then, there is the all too important matter of the Presidential election Petitions Tribunal which is set to deliver a verdict this week. Most Nigerians only hope that the unthinkable happens. That Mr Buhari is not qualified to run for office, that the elections be cancelled or that the challenger, Atiku Abubakar, be declared president.  Again, Nigerians just sort of hope and pray.  
They have resigned themselves to fate.
But ,curiously enough, Mr Buhari’s team, which can get away with anything, as they assume, betrays a clear sign of diffidence.  They are acutely aware that the unusual can and does happen.  
Reports say that Mr Lai Mohammed, Nigeria’s often mendaciously voluble minister of information ,gave an interview to Channels TV, a pro-Buhari mouth,eye and ear piece, that was in truth a Mea culpa.  It goes that the president left high school about 53 years ago and so, it would be understandable if Mr Buhari didn’t know where he kept his certificate. 
Mr Mohamed, whose bio says  is a lawyer ,has crumbled Mr Buhari’s fragile defence at the tribunal.  
A) Mr Buhari claimed that the army took his certificate for safekeeping.  But they have said that it was a lie. Infact, the army records don’t have any educational documents bearing the President’s name. 
B) Mr Buhari had hired 9 senior advocates to stop the probe into his bogus certificates. And that ,too, has failed. 
C) Mr Buhari was issued two conflicting WAEC results with glaring discrepancies in dates ,score and grade.  And the examination council has said that it didn’t issue those which smarks of forgery and perjury. 
D) At the tribunal, Mr Buhari only brought a witness who claimed that the president “could speak English ” and thus was eligible to contest against the minimum academic requirement- a WAEC certificate or its equivalent. 
D 2) . Also at the tribunal, Mr Buhari said that “no law requires him to produce his certificates  but just to be, (and wait this,  oh yes,) just to be educated” 
And so, because no normal tribunal won’t find Mr Buhari guilty, it would seem, Mr Lai Mohammed has taken to what the PDP says is ” trying to appeal the emotions of Nigeria ” which reminds me of the movie,  “Trial and Error ” with Jeff Daniels and Lawrence Pressman.“Lawyer Charlie (Jeff Daniels) is sent by his boss (Lawrence Pressman) to a small Nevada town to file a continuance request for mail-order con man Benjamin Gibbs (Rip Torn). Charlie’s actor friend, Richard (Michael Richards), turns up to throw a surprise bachelor party celebrating Charlie’s upcoming marriage to the boss’s daughter (Alexandra Wentworth). When Charlie is too hung over to make it to court for the hearing, Richard fills in — and must continue impersonating him for the whole trial”.

Like the movie, the basic errors come from the fact that Lai Mohammed doesn’t know all the truths and lies sworn to by Mr Buhari at various times.  He is also not a good actor.  As for the president, he ,too appears “too hungover” to defend himself.   Like in the movie, there is a con man too. People ask how Mr Buhari obtained those two certificates with different photos and his name in lower case letters. In Nigeria, that will be poor quality “419”. 
More seriously, Mr Atiku’s team have “been able to prove”  that all the certificates  Mr Buhari said he attained were not true. ” Officer cadet ” is one of those and the lawyers snigger: “whatever that means “. 
And because Lai Mohammed’s  interview is partly another  trial and mainly an error ,Mr Atiku’s team is calling on the president to resign. They say that he lied under oath,etc. In the video, Mr Lai Mohammed wailed:  “53 years after a fellow has left secondary school. 53 years, I think we should pardon him. Because has not even known where he kept it”. 
And the PDP, Mr Atiku’s party, has since gone shopping. “From the official pronouncement by the Minister on a national television, it is no longer in dispute before all Nigerians that President Buhari does not possess the educational certificate he claimed in the affidavit he deposed to in his Presidential nomination form.

“In this latest shenanigan, President Buhari and his handlers ought to have known that the law, which the judiciary is bound to uphold, is a respecter of no man.

“The PDP reminds President Buhari of how his Presidency vehemently applied the law in similar circumstance to remove a head of an arm of government; a situation, which renders his plea for pardon a complete nullity before the law.

“It is disheartening that President Buhari and his All Progressives Congress, APC, would put our nation through the troubles of legal hassles when they knew all the while that they were building something on nothing.” 

And the APC , Mr Buhari’s party ,is trying to do some damage control which might be coming too late. They say the video is a fake only after the PDP reacted. And Mr Mohamed is not trusted by people who want to hear the truth. 
People don’t hold their breaths in the hope that Mr Atiku will win but they believe that the matter is now about the integrity of the judiciary.  Some faintly hope that it doesn pardon Mr Buhari. 
By the way, in reviewing the movie in 1999, Empire wrote “Never has a movie been so  aptly titled: it is notionally a trial and basically and error”. 
Will the tribunal recognise the notion that the law is neutral and hold Mr Buhari to account or will there be an error, once more, arising from ” technicalities”? We shall see. 

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