Obaseki's Certificate Saga

By Desmond Ekweume

Posted  98 Views updated 3 months ago

Just when many thought, the storm of Edo 2020 Governorship Election was over after the rancorous poll produced a winner in Gov. Godwin Obaseki, political observers are thrown into what this writer has tagged CERTIFICATE SAGA

Yes, it is a saga because it is rooted in the acrimony coming from the pre-election campaigns. It is a saga because it is not the first time, Nigerians are hearing such issue. Hardly, have we held any election in this country with a controversy over or of certificate.

Even the 2019 Presidential election had it's fair share of this crisis or issue. President Muhammadu Buhari was accused of producing a secondary school certificate (West African Examination Council) that was questionable.

Many of us had asked then, why question a certificate which the man had used in 2015 election to emerge President.

Just like Buhari, Obaseki's challengers are questioning his certificate in 2020 governorship election. But I wonder if, it was not the same certificate, he used while successfully seeking the same office or position in 2016.

I have nothing against the realists among us who want to correct the abnormalities of the past if, it really existed in this case...by starting with the Obaseki's certificate saga. But I wonder if, all other similar cases will be revisited. I equally wonder why we have to wait till after a winner of an election had been declared and Certificate of Return issued to him or her before we kickstart this prolonged litigation process.

Yes, it is a prolonged process because the person occupying the office or position in contest would have acted for close to the time frame of his or her tenure before the court dislodges him or her if found guilty anyway.

In our clime, we love taking one step forward and one hundred steps backward. Obaseki is already in the fourth month of his second term...and here we are dragging retired and aged University dons to court to testify for and against his certificate.

It is high time, our electoral laws are reformed with a view to looking critically into this certificate quagmire that makes a mess of our political environment, system and our politicians each election year or period.

If an elective position requires just a WAEC certificate, I wonder why anyone in his right frame of mind will be questioning the tertiary institution certificate of politician elected into that office when he has his post-primary certificate or requirement. Well maybe because he or she presented or claimed he or she has it....and it is a false claim.

For clarity, may be we should look at few elementary definitions of the word certificate. The reason behind this exercise is the argument by some people that examination or certificate do not guarantee or produce quality or responsible leaders or leadership.

The above argument or analogy is equally supporting the claim by some people that examination is not the true test of one's knowledge or wisdom especially when it comes to issues of leadership.

"Certificate is an official document attesting a fact or claim". This definition did not state nor include that it produces or guarantees good leadership

"A certificate is a document confirming that someone has reached a certain level of achievement in a course of study or training....example "a university-accredited certificate"

Again this definition does not include good leadership or or quest for leadership.

"A certificate is a document recording a person's birth, marriage, or death...example "a birth certificate"

"It is a document attesting ownership of an item or the fulfilment of legal requirements....example "a share certificate"

"A certificate is equally an official classification awarded to a cinema film by a board of censors indicating its suitability for a particular age group".

We hope the latest certificate saga will end well....but the arbiters of our elections, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) must take note to ensure that electoral reforms is pursued for a rancour free polls in our political system in future.

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