The Independent National Electoral Commission on Saturday said only the courts could disqualify a former Head of State and Presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), ahead of the 2015 general elections.
The commission, which said there was nothing it could do in the matter, also said it had not received any petition against President Goodluck Jonathan of the Peoples Democratic Party, Buhari and other presidential candidates, more than seven days after displaying their particulars.
The Director of Voter Education and Publicity in INEC, Mr. Oluwole Osaze-Uzzi, in an interview with our correspondent, said the commission could not go beyond its constitutional powers.
“What do you want INEC to do? INEC cannot disqualify anybody and there is nothing we can do. We don’t have any power to disqualify him.He didn’t bring it (certificates) and so there is nothing INEC can do. INEC cannot disqualify him and cannot remove his name. It is only the courts that can disqualify him, if they feel there is something wrong that he has done. I am not aware of any (petition); none that I am aware of for now. I am not aware of any (petition). I am not aware of any so far,” Osaze-Uzzi said.
Buhari had in an affidavit which he deposed to at a High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, explained that all his academic credentials were with the Secretary, Military Board.
The affidavit deposed to at the FCT High Court and dated November 24, 2014, was stamped and received by INEC on December 18, 2014.
“All my academic qualifications documents as filled in my presidential form, President APC/001/2015 are currently with the Secretary, Military Board as of the time of this affidavit. The affidavit is made in good faith and for record purpose”, Buhari stated.
The Nigerian Army had said it would readily release credentials and certificates in its custody to serving and retired officers whenever they apply for it.
The Director, Army Public Relations, Brig.-Gen. Olajide Laleye, had while reacting to Buhari’s claim in his affidavit, said that his credentials were with the military.
He said the procedure for the retrieval or collection of the certificates was known to all serving or retired officers of the military.
He said, “Every serving and retired Army officer has, at least, a copy of his certificates and credentials kept with the Nigerian Army while that same serving and retired officer has copies of those same certificates and credentials.
“And there is a laid-down procedure to request for certificates. It is known to any serving and retired officer. If you want anything checked in your file, you simply follow the due process and it would be given to you because the credentials belong to you.”
“The Nigerian Army does not refuse to give anybody his credentials if the due process is followed. Now, take note of this. Not only does the Nigerian Army keep these things, the individual officers, whether serving or retired, have copies.”
Also speaking, the Chief Press Secretary to INEC Chairman, Mr. Kayode Idowu, said he was not aware of any petition against any of the presidential candidates.