"President Buhari is an illiterate, he does not know what restructuring means, he is less concerned about the future of Nigeria, he is only bothered about his cows."--- Pa Ayo Adebanjo, Afenifere Chieftain and elder Nigerian statesman.
Illiteracy is defined by the dictionary simply as the inability to read and write. Someone unable to read or write could express themselves orally but when it comes down to putting pen to paper or reading a book or newspaper, for instance, their disability is exposed to their shame. Nigeria boasts of millions of cases of analphabetism especially in the rural areas. While thousands graduate yearly from the universities more and more numbers join the illiteracy class.
Analphabetism is a dangerous phenomenon given the ignorance it propagates. An illiterate is as dangerous to themselves as they are to the society at large. That is why it is said that education will forever govern ignorance! Serious-minded and well-governed societies invest heavily in education because it guarantees both development and the future.
President Muhammadu Buhari, even prior to his popular election in 2015 and controversial ‘re-election' last year, had been embroiled in academic scandal bothering on his WAEC certificate. To the opposition he never possessed any; perhaps he never sat for one. As a septuagenarian Buhari's generation could be said debatably to have had little or no academic records, so his claims and counter-claims of the opposition regarding his educational profile are understandable.
Litigations over his academic qualification for the presidency lingered for years without any definitive judicial pronouncement. He had once claimed that his CV was with the military high command! Yet the issue here is not whether he was qualified to vie for the presidency or not but whether he committed perjury by affirming what he never possessed.
A patriotic dedicated 'illiterate' who demonstrated uncanny ability to provide leadership may be preferable to a PHD holder who manifested crass incompetence in leading a new generation of Nigerians. Former President Goodluck Jonathan was said to be a PHD holder yet his presidency was riddled with corruption and ineptitude. So where is the academic link to sound leadership here?
We are not advocating for a Barkin Zuwo as President here. Sound education and leadership has something in common globally but certain factors could provide an avenue for 'divorce' especially in the African political context.
Is President Buhari a Jubril from Chad or Sudan? Nnamdi Kanu and his proscribed IPOB "terrorists" think that the Buhari we knew before he went for medical tourism that lasted months in London some years back had 'died' and was immediately replaced surgically with a Jubril from Chad or Sudan. Why Sudan or Chad and not Niger or Guinea? The so-called Jubril could have come from elsewhere!
Personally this commentator has never believed such wild claim because there was never any tangible evidence to support same. It is very cheap to allege that the number one citizen of a nation was dead and chirurgically replaced with a look-alike without the secret leaking in a digitally-powered world.
Telling us that evidence existed in the President's head covered always with cap is like asking us to replay Thomas biblically by seeing before believing. Pray, how could anyone apart from the First Lady, Aisha, or the prominent members of the notorious Aso Villa cabal ever see Buhari without his customary cap? Or do we hire a detective to do the job for us by planting a camera in his bathroom or bedroom?
A former Head of State, former Minister and former Chairman of the Petroleum Trust "Fraud" (apology to Ray Ekpu) cannot ordinarily be said not to be qualified to be President, one democratically elected. When he led us by the Jackboot in the early 80s no one in their right senses dared questioned his academic credentials. But that is beside the point.
His case is not exceptional in a continent where barbarians and cannibals like the late Idi Amin Dada of Uganda had ruled their countries ignorantly for decades. It is nothing special in our continental political space where the likes of ex-President Yahya Jammeh dictatorially caged the Gambians for decades; where the likes of Dadis Camara ruled their Guinean animal kingdom.
Is President Buhari an illiterate Jubril? Or better still, is he a glorified illiterate? A Jubril from Sudan or Chad? Well, all things considered we refuse to accept that our President cannot read and write if certain academic indices are applied. He could not have been as brilliant as Prof. Wole Soyinka in school or Alassane Ouattara as President but he 'soldiers' on taking us all down the abyss of despair.
To start with it could amount to uncharitable insolence to insinuate that a retired General who has put in decades into the Nigerian military service is barely educated or an outright case of analphabetism. It cannot stand any intellectual crucible.
You do not rise through the ranks and file in your chosen profession as an illiterate, do you? Besides, he did military courses abroad and these studies were conducted in English and not Hausa, Fulani or Fulfulde. It is therefore disingenuous to say that Buhari is anything near illiteracy!
The President may be grammatically challenged; he may not be fluent enough, he may not possess the required presidential grit and charisma to lead a great nation like ours but that is secondary in our reckoning. He may be slow to taking decisions and may not be conversant enough with global realities (Covid-19 pandemic for example) but he has been 'elected' twice to provide leadership at the national level -- even though such leadership is glaringly lacking in our embattled country.
The President may not be used to hiring and firing as circumstances dictate but nothing less could have been expected from an old health-challenged lacklustre leader. The cabal led by Mamman Daura and Abba Kyari could have seized the opportunity to circumvent power by taking presidential decisions on behalf of Buhari. But, fortunately, the ship of state is still afloat, not yet run aground.