Femi Aribisala is a scholar and international affairs expert. He is currently an iconoclastic church pastor in Lagos. He is also a syndicated essayist for a handful publications in Nigeria. He wrote why the APC presidential candidate Buhari must go.. Read below
If Nigeria is a nation of laws and of the rule of law, the presidential candidacy of Muhammadu Buhari should end this week. The reason is well-known to all. Buhari swore an oath on his INEC application that his credentials are with the military. This turned out to be an outright lie. The military has come out to deny that it has Buhari’s credentials. That means Buhari committed perjury instead of fulfilling INEC requirements. For this reason, he must be disqualified from contesting the presidential election.
The matter has been taken to court and the courts should decide the matter this week. I am not a lawyer, but from my layman’s perspective, this is an open and shut case. Buhari lied willfully. As a former military secretary of the Nigerian army, he knew that the military does not keep any credentials of its service-men. Nevertheless, he lied on oath that his credentials are with the military. He must face the penalty for this perjury. There can be debate about whether, and for how long, he should go to jail. However, there can be no question about his resultant ineligibility to contest: he must be disqualified.
To overlook this infraction is to succumb to Buhari’s appraisal that Nigeria is corrupt. If we are going to deal with corruption, we must not fail to deal with the likes of Buhari, who are contemptuous of the laws of the land. Buhari’s false affidavit is corruption. The disqualification of Buhari by the courts will be a testament to the determination of the judiciary to show zero tolerance for corruption in the coming new dispensation.
Some of us have watched APC make a song and dance about the possibility of postponing the 2015 elections. The party brought out all its big guns to tell us that the election cannot be postponed. They insisted that if it is postponed all hell would break lose. Well, the election has been postponed and nothing has happened. It has been postponed and the APC can do nothing about it. It was postponed according to the law.
Similarly, the heavens will not fall with the lawful disqualification of Buhari. Everybody knows that Buhari lied under oath. The blunder must be laid fully at the doorstep of the APC. Of all those it could present as its presidential candidate, it chose a former coup plotter without the appropriate credentials. APC has nobody to blame but itself for this fiasco. It has forfeited its chance of presenting a candidate for the 2015 presidential election. The contest should now be between the remaining 13 presidential candidates. Shikenan!