THE Nigeria Army has finally broken its long silence over the educational qualifications of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Presidential Candidate, General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd) by asserting that the retired general actually entered the Army from secondary school.
Director of Army Public Relations, Brigadier General Olajide Laleye, told a crowded press conference on Tuesday that the Army holds General Buhari in high esteem and would not like to be dragged into any controversy concerning the eligibility or otherwise of the retired general to occupy any public office.
Laleye stated, however, that the Army decided to speak now to douse the controversy over-shadowing the politician’s educational qualifications and to halt the avalanche of requests from numerous individuals and corporate bodies to the military asking for the records.
He stated that the APC Presidential Candidate was enlisted into the army in 1961 without certificates since he was picked from the secondary school to start military service.
Brigadier General Laleye said: “Records available indicate that Major General Muhammadu Buhari applied to join the military as a Form Six student of the Provincial Secondary School, Katsina, on October 18, 1961. His application was duly endorsed by the principal of the school, who also wrote a report and recommended him to be suitable for military commission.”
The Nigeria Army spokesman noted, however, that the usual practice in the Nigeria Army before candidates are shortlisted for commissioning into the officer cadre, requiring that the Selection Board must verify the original copies of credentials that are presented by candidates may not have been followed in Buhari’s case.
His words: “There is no evidence or available record to show that this process was followed in 1960s. Nevertheless, the entry made on NA Form 199A at the point of documentation after commission as an officer indicated that the former head of state obtained the West Africa School Certificate (WASC) in 1961 with credits in English language, geography, history, heath science, Hausa and a pass in English literature.
“However, neither the original copy of the certificate, a Certified True Copy (CTC) nor the statement of results of Major General Buhari’s WASC result is in his personal file” as evidence of his claims.
During the question session, the Army spokesman stated that Buhari attended several professional courses relating to the military profession including two in the United States and other foreign countries.
Laleye expressed reservations and displeasure over attempts by politicians to drag the military into partisan politics and hoped that with the release of the records by the military, the matter will now be allowed to rest.