By Grace Chigbu
LAGOS, NIGERIA: The debate surrounding the academic qualifications of political candidates has taken center stage in Nigerian politics, particularly in the case of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s academic records at Chicago State University (CSU). Chief Livinus Chukwudi Okwara, an All Progressives Congress (APC) chieftain in Lagos State, has shared his perspective on how political parties should handle such controversies.
In a recent statement, Okwara emphasized the importance of addressing these issues internally within the party before they become national spectacles, potentially disrupting the democratic process.
He stressed the need for Nigerians to prioritize education as a crucial factor in the pre-election phase rather than waiting until after elections to scrutinize candidates’ academic backgrounds. Okwara’s proposal centers on proactive measures to prevent controversies and legal disputes that often arise when candidates’ qualifications come into question post-election.
The crux of Okwara’s recommendation revolves around the internal assessment of candidates’ educational credentials by political parties, particularly the APC. He suggests a meticulous evaluation of these qualifications based on the party’s constitution and guidelines before permitting candidates to contest elective positions. Such a preemptive approach, according to Okwara, would not only enhance the efficiency of candidate selection but also shield those who do not meet the necessary criteria from potential legal challenges and disqualification.
The veteran APC member pointed out that addressing these issues ahead of time aligns with the party’s vision of upholding transparency and accountability. It also helps safeguard the reputation of candidates and the party itself.
Furthermore, Okwara urged Nigerians to exercise restraint when it comes to scrutinizing candidates’ academic qualifications. Placing undue emphasis on certificates, he argues, has the potential to divide the nation and distract from the more pressing issues that should be at the forefront of election campaigns.
In light of the recent controversies surrounding President Tinubu’s academic records, Okwara’s perspective offers a valuable insight into the ongoing debate about candidates’ qualifications. His proposal for parties to take a proactive stance in assessing their candidates’ educational credentials could potentially help prevent similar controversies from erupting in the future.
As Nigeria continues to navigate the complex landscape of politics and elections, the issue of candidates’ qualifications is likely to remain a prominent topic of discussion. Chief Okwara’s advice serves as a timely reminder of the importance of addressing these matters transparently and efficiently within political parties to maintain the integrity of the electoral process.