VALENTINE Obienyem, the Media Aide of the Labour Party presidential candidate, Peter Obi, has said his principal restrained him from publishing his degree certificate.
Obienyem said this in a statement on Wednesday, September 21, while reacting to criticisms trailing the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) publication of candidates lists and their qualifications.
The INEC on Tuesday published the list of candidates for the 2023 general elections and their qualifications, but without Obi’s degree type. This elicited mixed reactions among Nigerians, even though there were many instances on the list where INEC wrote “degree” for other candidates.
Reacting to the development, Obienyem said that “It would have just required publishing Mr. Peter Obi’s degree result to stop the perennial debate about the class of degree he came out with.
“Each time I mentioned it to him, Obi would restrain me from publishing. His stand is clear: ‘Val, to me, education is the progressive discovery of our ignorance. We learn every day. The possession of paper qualification is not, and cannot become the measure of wisdom and intelligence.
“When people debate what I graduated with, ignore them. To allow yourself to become fixated on such inane discourse is to imply that you do not have better things to do.
“But I have always had a different view. Simple publication, not for the sake of debate, but to clear all doubts, especially among those that are deceived.
“Yesterday, though INEC included ‘Degree’ to his qualifications, without specifying the field, mischief makers went to town. Some of them even went to the extent of implying that either he did not attend university after all or he did not graduate.
“He remains the most probed and searched Nigerian. They wish they could detect faults in him as a mark of respect for the frailty of human nature.
“At this point, there is no need to confer with him. I had to reach our boss immediately, Mr Oseloka Obaze. Hear him: ‘Val, go on and publish. If anything arises, tell him that I authorised. We need not appease mischief makers, but to clear all doubts among all men and women of goodwill who are genuinely concerned.”
“Also attached are his credentials as published by INEC. Having published the result, let others whose credentials are doubted publish theirs.”
Meanwhile, INEC list did not include the primary or secondary school of the All Progressive Congress, APC presidential flagbearer Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
The foundational education of the former Lagos state governor has been a contentious subject in recent times.
Nurudeen Akewushola is an investigative reporter and fact-checker with The ICIR. He believes courageous in-depth investigative reporting is the key to social justice, accountability and good governance in the society. You can shoot him a scoop via email@example.com and @NurudeenAkewus1 on Twitter.