CLAIM: You do not need A WAEC certificate to become the President of Nigeria
The Spokesperson of the All Progressives Congress [APC] Presidential Campaign Council for the 2019 Presidential election, Festus Keyamo, kicked off a storm in the polity when he declared on a Channels Television programme that one does not require the West African Examination Council [WAEC] certificate to become the President of Nigeria.
Keyamo, who is also a Senior Advocate of Nigeria was responding to allegations that his principal, the President, does not possess the WAEC certificate.
Keyamo told his interviewer that the President possesses the certificate, a fact attested to by the fact that officials of WAEC came to the Presidential Villa to present the certificate to the President.
He, however, went on to say that a WAEC certificate is not a requirement for qualification for the office of President.
Is Keyamo right?
The answer is in the affirmative as the supreme law of the land, the 1999 Constitution (as amended) supports his position. Section 131 of the Constitution states the qualifications for the office of the President.
According to the section: “A person shall be qualified for election to the office of President, if:
- He is a citizen of Nigeria by birth;
- He has attained the age of 40 years;
- He is a member of a political party
- He has been educated up to at least school certificate or its equivalent”
DUBAWA has deliberately highlighted “at least school certificate or its equivalent.” The logical question that follows is to ask what is meant by the underlined words.
To understand this and put the issue in perspective, DUBAWA examined the interpretation section of the Constitution.
This is Section 318 of the Constitution. According to the Section: “School Certificate or its equivalent” means:
- A Secondary School Certificate or its equivalent or Grade II Teacher’s Certificate, City and Guilds certificate; or
- Education up to Secondary School Certificate level; or
- Primary Six School Leaving certificate or its equivalent and –
- service in the public or private sector in the Federation in any capacity acceptable to the Independent National Electoral Commission for a minimum of ten years and
- attendance at courses and training institutions as may be acceptable to the Independent National Electoral Commission for periods totaling up to a minimum of one year, and
- the ability to read, write, understand and communicate in the English language to the satisfaction of the Independent National Electoral Commission, and
- any other qualification acceptable by the Independent National Electoral Commission.”
Although one requires a minimum of a first degree to work as a Teller in a bank or to even be considered for the post of a security guard in some companies, regrettably, one does not need a WAEC Certificate to contest for the office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.