The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Sunday urged President Muhammadu Buhari to resign from office since the Information Minister, Lai Mohammed, allegedly admitted that the president was not in possession of the required certificate and begged Nigerians to pardon him.
The opposition party gave the advice ahead of the judgement of the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal in its case against the declaration of Buhari as winner of the 2019 presidential poll.
But it was learnt that the Ministry of Information had clarified that the video on the matter was taken from the interview granted by the minister as far back as 2015.
“While it is true that Lai Mohammed made the comment when he appeared on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, the impression being given that it is recent is misleading. The minister made the comment as far back as 2015,” a source in the ministry said.
However, addressing a press conference in Abuja yesterday, the PDP’s National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, urged the judiciary to resist what he called attempts to blackmail it from doing justice to the pending petition.
At the press conference which was tagged “Plea For Pardon: Vacate Office Now”, the PDP said it had reviewed the video of the media interview by Mohammed and had come to the conclusion that “President Buhari should save the judiciary and the nation further troubles by immediately throwing in the towel and vacating the presidential seat following the official admission that he (Buhari) does not possess a WAEC certificate, contrary to his claims and disposition before the law.
“Our party mocks the Buhari presidency for pushing out the video wherein the minister pleaded with Nigerians to pardon President Buhari over his false WAEC certificate claims.”
PDP alleged that the pushing out of the video was “the deliberate ploy of Alhaji Lai Mohammed to appeal to sentiments, seeing that Mr. President had failed to defend himself before the Presidential petition tribunal.”
The party berated the Buhari presidency “for believing that in pushing the video into the public space, it could influence the mind of the tribunal to bend the law after solid evidence has been presented before it against President Buhari.”
The PDP further claimed that “the pronouncement and appeal for pardon issued by the government’s spokesperson, who is also a lawyer, is a direct guilt plea, which cannot save President Buhari from the course of justice in this matter.”
The opposition party further said:”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 party reminded Buhari of how his presidency vehemently applied the law in a similar circumstance to remove a head of an arm of government; a situation, which the PDP noted has rendered Buhari’s plea for pardon a complete nullity before the law.
The PDP further submitted that if President Buhari indeed sought pardon from Nigerians, he should do the needful by toeing the path of honour and vacating the presidential seat without further delay.
“It is disheartening that 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.”
A former Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Timi Frank, faulted media reports attributed to the APC portraying Buhari as having a West African School Certificate (WASC).
Frank, in a statement, described the report as an attempt to deceive Nigerians and sway the tribunal to rule in favour of President Buhari.
“The APC should stop spreading falsehood as the world knows that Buhari has no secondary school certificate anywhere”.
According to him, the report titled “Buhari cambridge certificate verification; PDP agent disappointed” is fake news from the pit of hell.
The report quoting an unnamed source had claimed, among other things, that as the tribunal kicked off a few months ago, the PDP sent a delegation to the University of Cambridge to confirm the authenticity of the WASC of President Buhari, but was stunned to discover that the president did write and pass the examination.
Frank alleged that the APC descended so low in trying to fraudulently rewrite history by claiming that the Cambridge University confirmed that “a self-confessed certificate-less General Buhari now has a certificate.”
He said: “It is a shame that Buhari and his lackeys now churn out blatant lies to confuse Nigerians. The question is: does Gen. Buhari have a WAEC certificate? If yes, where is it? Lai Mohammed had admitted that Buhari did not have a WAEC certificate and asked Nigerians to forgive him for not knowing where his (Buhari) certificate was 53 years after leaving secondary school.
“Nigerians can now see why the APC’s government is clueless. This so-called Cambridge source, who is he? What is his name? Nigerians will love to get in touch with him to ascertain the veracity of the information.”
Meanwhile, a group of eminent personalities in the polity are to deliberate on how to sustain Buhari’s legacies at the end of his tenure in office in 2023.
Among those slated to discuss the issue in Abuja tomorrow are the Deputy Senate President, Omo Agege; Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila; and his Deputy, Ahmed Wase.
The Spokesman of the Muhammadu Buhari Enduring Leagacy Network (MBEL), Mr. Suleman Mustapha, who briefed reporters yesterday expressed concern that the president remained one of the least appreciated leaders ever to administer the country.
He said the mere fact that President Buhari did not bother to dip his hands into public funds to live a lavish lifestyle after serving as head of state, petroleum minister, governor and as a retired military general was worth emulating by future generations of Nigeria’s leaders.
“Today we are talking about the Next Level agenda. For us, we are looking beyond the person of Buhari. This brings to the fore the need to sustain his legacies for Nigeria’s political future.
“Nigerians don’t appreciate what he is doing and this is not good. What this president is doing we must not let it go into the dustbin of history. We need to begin to propagate and imbibe it. Somebody who does not believe in amazing wealth, he doesn’t own an oil well. People should imbibe the concept of service to Nigeria and not to family and pursuit of self-aggrandizement,” Mustapha said.