Giving his opinion on Tuesday on the controversy surrounding the claims that the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), General Muhammadu Buhari, is not qualified to contest in the February 14 election, Mr Kenneth Odidika, said that the ‘big man syndrome’ had led to the likely refusal of General Buhari to submit his credentials.
“We do not stick to rules in Nigeria and that is what is happening as regards the certificate controversy.
“We have a constitution and other laws with the constitution being supreme.
“The constitution has specified the needed qualification from every political party’s candidate but the APC has refused to give the leaving school certificate of his presidential candidate to the electoral body,” he said.
The certificate controversy had peaked when a spokesman of the President Goodluck Jonathan’s campaign team, Femi fani-Kayode, insisted that General Buhari was not qualified to contest, demanding that the APC’s presidential candidates should present his credentials to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The APC had, in response, insisted that its candidate had the certificate, describing the fani-Kayode’s claims as ‘preposterous’ and capable of destroying the image of the Nigerian Army.
‘Big man syndrome’
But Mr Odidika said that the refusal to submit the certificate was outright disobedience.
“Selective application of the law is what Nigeria is facing. Big men refuse to subject themselves to the law.
“Big man syndrome is what Nigeria is suffering from.”
He also insisted that the INEC was culpable, accepting the forms without the certificate attached as stipulated by the law.
“They are supposed to submit the personal particulars of the person before they publish his name.
“If he had the certifications, he should have submitted them,” he said.
On Monday, General Buhari urged party members not to be involved in any violent act before, during or after the elections, a comment that was highly seen as necessary.
But Mr Odidika said the comment came a bit late and that an initial statement that the APC would run a parallel government if the election was rigged was insightful.
“What we say before something happens could be different and could contribute to why what will happen will happen.
“There have been statements from APC suggesting the necessity for violence.
“They said that if the election was rigged, they would form a parallel government. How do you determine if an election is rigged without going to the court. What that means is that once they lose, they will take to the streets to install a parallel government.
“Anything the candidates say means a lot to their supporters.
“Thank God Buhari said what he said. The Peoples Democratic Party and the APC must ensure that their members stick to the rule of the game,” the lawyer stressed.
On the challenges that the INEC had witnessed in the distribution of the Permanent Voters Card (PVC) that the electoral body had insisted voters would only vote with, Mr Odidika said that there was the need for the INEC to consider allowing persons with the old temporal card to vote in areas where they had challenges issuing out the PVC.