Lessons From Buhari’s WASC
In 2004 as a reporter of the Punch Newspaper, I did a story on a Deputy Governor of Oyo State, Azeem Gbolarumi over his West Africa School Certificate.
I was at the headquarters of the West Africa Examination Council, Yaba for several weeks to know if truly the deputy governor ever sat for WASCE as he claimed.
Gbolarumi had said that he wrote WASCE at a school in Osogbo, Osun State but after much investigation, I gathered from WAEC that Gbolarumi never wrote WASCE.
It was a world exclusive for me. The story hit the front page and sold enormously.
To get the little information we needed from WAEC, the Punch had to write the council. A letter I delivered myself.
WAEC never replied but I got the scoop when some operatives of the Department of State Service visited WAEC over Gbolarumi’s certificate scandal.
They came into the office of the council’s information officer at the time, Mr Yusuf Ari where I was taken a nap and dropped the bombshell.
“We have been searching for Gbolarumi’s results for two days but we could not find it.”
They did not know that a journalist was waiting for a scoop.
For President Muhammadu Buhari, WAEC could find his name among those who wrote its exams in 1961 and because it was school-based, the certificates were deposited in the then Kaduna State Ministry of Education before the creation of Katsina State.
The President actually submitted the certificate to the Nigerian Army for enrollment, he only possessed the statement of results in which he had credit in English Language and F9 in Mathematics.
Bad enough, like many other Nigerians, President Buhari has not been in possession of his WASC but when the noise about it became loud, a Ministry of Education in Katsina came up with Buhari’s statement of results.
This was not enough, going by the requirement of the constitution for a presidential candidate.
The presidency made more enquiries with WAEC and what Buhari could get is “Attestation of WASC’
This document replaces a lost or spoiled WASC’ at about N550, 000, including all pieces of evidence that the candidate actually wrote WASCE.
It carries the passport photo submitted by the applicant, which of course may be a recent picture.
According to the Registrar of WAEC, Dr Iyi Uwadiae, Mr President actually wrote WASCE but could not lay hands on his certificate.
Buhari has thus applied for Attestation document to confirm his WASC and got it from WAEC.
This is a clear deviation from what we called, “Oluwole”. Buhari’s Attestation is authentic.
“Oluwole” is a name given to fake document in this part of the country, southwest.
There is a particular area in Lagos Island called Oluwole where scammers can easily clone any document, including signatures. There are millions of people that are in possession of cloned certificates.
WAEC knows this and has done a lot to stop this crime, it lacks the necessary supports of the police and other security agencies.
Buhari has chosen the line of integrity by declaring that he has no certificate, even though he sat and wrote WASCE.
The President refused to pick one at Oluwole but followed the normal procedure to acquire an Attestation, yet the wailers roared loud.
In a short time, WAEC must prepare for a tough job because those who never attempted WASCE would begin to apply for Attestation now.
And because it is another opportunity for WAEC to make money, the council must be careful not to soil its hard-earned reputation over the years.
While the council must now call on Nigerians who are yet to collect their certificates, it must warn its workers not to turn the body to another “Oluwole’ market.