Former military President General Ibrahim Babangida on Friday stood up in defence of the embattled All Progressives Congress presidential candidate, General Muhammadu Buhari, on the authenticity of his secondary school certificate.
The former military president called for caution on the unnecessary debate surrounding Buhari’s academic qualification, warning that any attempt to politicise the military would not be in the nation’s interest.
Gen. Babangida made this view known in an interview with The Nation at his Minna Uphill residence, Niger State.
“It is a very dangerous thing to do”, he said, adding that there was no way the APC flag bearer would have risen to the rank of a general in the army without possessing the basic educational qualification.
Babangida, who was reacting to the controversy sparked by Buhari’s ‘missing’ certificate from his personal file with the army authorities, said the army, as an institution, subjects all its intakes to proper scrutiny, training and re-training.
He expressed shock at the heat generated by the issue and advised those who feel aggrieved to go to court.
He also warned that the military should not be ridiculed as it remains, in his opinion, the only institution of national unity and that it is passionate about acquisition of knowledge by its officers.
His words: “The military is one institution that believes in constant learning and training. You receive the initial training from the Staff College. After one year, you go for another round of intensive training that is all encompassing.
“It is one institution that is concerned about knowledge, even in warfare. The military requires you to keep abreast of development in warfare, weaponry and education.
“Perhaps, military is the best institution that is concerned about training and knowledge and about discipline because no officer is considered for promotion without having the prerequisite qualification and must pass the required examinations”.
He cautioned the political class to desist from politicising the military, stressing that any such attempt will be dangerous for the institution and the nation.
“The military remains the institution of unity. I will not support the idea of politicising the military”, he said.
The self-styled evil genius was, however, full of optimism that the military will strive to keep above the scheming of the politicians “as it is capable and will resist any undue attempt to influence it.
“This is nothing but politics. I think those aggrieved should know what to do. Anybody who feels aggrieved should go to court and let the court make a pronouncement that will settle everything”.