Letter to President Buhari
Sir: Your Excellency, I write this letter to you conscious of the fact that, yours is a job, which is not only complex, difficult, time consuming but challenging, demanding and arduous. In fact I’m short of the right adjective, word to qualify or describe the job of a democratically elected President of a complex, diverse and heterogeneous country like Nigeria, hence my initial hesitation to commit pen to paper in the name of reaching out to you on an issue that concerns one of the federating units that constitute your constituency, Nigeria.
However, considering your love, passion and concern for the plight of common man coupled with your unrelenting strive at entrenching a just and equitable democratic Nigeria; I believe my mail will receive the desired attention and action from you. Mr. President, as earlier indicated in the beginning of my correspondence, my mission is to draw your attention to happenings in one of your constituents, a depressing and embarrassing matter right at the heart of the politics of our dear state, Katsina which lingers for a very long time. Here, I refer to the accusation of lack of qualification of our governor, Aminu Bello Masari to contest 2019 election due to inconsistencies, irregularities and discrepancies in his academic and age records as alleged by PDP and its governorship candidate in the 2019 elections, Senator Yakubu Lado Danmarke. I found this incomprehensible and confusing especially when the matter was tabled before the governorship election petition tribunal sitting in Katsina. According to the counsel to PDP and its candidate, Gordy Uche when he led star witness in their case they tendered records of Governor Masari as exhibit for his lack of qualification. As an observer during the court proceedings, I was amazed at the documents tendered especially the age declaration affidavit which shows that Masari and his father are same age i.e. 69 respectively. The records indicate that, an affidavit said to have been deposed to by Governor Masari’s father, Umaru Bello showed that while his son was given birth on 29th May, 1950 which translates to 69 years in 2019, he (the father) was 51 years as at the time of the declaration on August 9, 2001 which is exactly 69 years in 2019 same age with his son.
Another alleged discrepancy raised by Senator Lado before the tribunal was inconsistent dates of birth as shown on the primary school leaving certificate of the Masari which differs with that of his declaration of age. While the declaration of age showed that Masari was born in 1950, the primary certificate on the other hand showed that he was born in 1951. Also, Senator Lado alleged that the same primary certificate in question belong to one Aminu Bello, a Fulani by tribe while the respondent is known and addressed as Aminu Bello Masari, Hausa by tribe.
In the same vein, the educational qualification of Gov. Masari was queried. Specifically, Senator Lado questioned a post graduate diploma presented to INEC by Governor Masari, noting that the certificate bears no logo or stamp of the institution claimed to have been attended by governor Masari hence questionable. However, counsel to governor Masari, Mr. Ernest Obanadike dismissed the claims of lack of educational qualification for his client to contest the 2019 elections as raised by Senator Lado, and maintained that “our client is constitutionally qualified to be the governor of Katsina State.”
Your Excellency, these are indeed weighty allegation that if confirmed by the Tribunal could spell doom for the All Progressives Congress, APC as any confirmed case of non qualification can lead to transfer of victory to the runner off in this case Senator Lado as witnessed in cases of similar nature. More worrisome is the fact that, this is not the first time this issue is raised. It could be recalled that while Masari hold sway in the House of Representatives same matter was raised but if not for the intervention of some notable Nigerians it could have become something else. In the same vein, in the build up to the 2015 elections same issue rare its ugly head. This was corroborated by counsel to Senator Lado while speaking to Journalists shortly after the Tribunal sitting. Mr. Uche argued that same matter was raised before but somehow settled and now they are determined to see to its end. While I don’t intend to interfere with court process since the matter is before an election petition Tribunal but a behind the scene political solution may not be a bad idea, here I mean an intervention by well meaning Katsina indigenes especially President Buhari to prevail on the governor and make him to see reason to throw in the towel if truly the allegations are indeed true. This will go a long way in saving the APC its valuable seat of the Katsina governor. Else, I urge Mr. Masari to fight on and clear his name.
Muhammad Lawal wrote from Kofar Sauri, Katsina State.
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