Interview

Interview with Barrister Akintokunbo Oluwole, former Vice President of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA)

In an interview with Barrister Akintokunbo Oluwole, the 3rd Vice President of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) on the ‘no result’ allegation that surrounds President Muhammadu Buhari, he established his opinion to Brain Trust Hub saying “As long as we have more academically qualified individual contesting, people can easily make up their minds on which candidate suits their tastes”

What would you say about the ‘no result’ allegation leveled against the President?

In Nigeria, we make something out of nothing and we like to unnecessarily heat up the politics by making things out of nothing. The issue of WAEC certificate should not be what we bother ourselves on. Section 131(d) of the Constitution tells us that the school certificate is the ‘minimum’ requirement for the president. As long as President Buhari is qualified even with higher certificate than WAEC during his service in the military, I don’t see an issue in what the oppositions or the public are celebrating. As a matter of fact, the issue had been settled in 2015 already. There were people in President Buhari’s class that came out and claimed to be his classmates back in school and WAEC as a body also came out to confirm his presence during the examination. What else do they want?

How can you describe this for Nigeria in the international community?

As for the implications of this in the international community, it can just be described as a process of ridiculing ourselves amidst other countries that respects us. If we are fighting a good fight, there wouldn’t have been any problem with that, but a course like this is not of good value to us in the international community.

What is your position on the idea of having school certificate as the minimum for anyone contesting for such office?

Yes, I have a different position to what the constitution states as the minimum requirement. Nigerians are educated than being led by just a school certificate holders. As far as my opinion is concerned, O’level is too low. In fact, the constitution accepts just an attempt, even if the result is poor, as long as there is a certificate for it, such an individual is eligible to contest as a president. But constitution is one thing; individual decision is another, so far election is to choose among alternatives. As long as we have more academically qualified individual contesting, people can easily make up their minds on who suits their tastes.

What is the place of the rule of law as WAEC took the result down to the Villa? Could that have been done for an average Nigerian?

Rule of law talks about equality before the law, but are we all expecting the President to go and meet WAEC for the collection of the result from them? As a matter of fact, the office should be giving high level of respect, and part of the respect is WAEC going to the Villa to give the result. And if anyone is thinking why directly to the President, I think it should be like that because people need to see it truly that their President has result.

Barrister Akintokunbo Oluwole quickly added that the case of Senator Demola Adeleke is totally different from that of President Muhammadu Buhari because the said Osun State PDP candidate in the just concluded election did not have any qualification at all. Assuming he has any other qualification, there wouldn’t have been any problem.

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