‘How Did You Get Into Varsity With 2 Credits?’ — Senator Grills Ministerial Nominee

Allwell Onyesoh, the senator representing Rivers East, on Monday, questioned Bello Muhammad, a ministerial nominee over his academic certificates. 

The senators during the special plenary session, screened the ministerial nominees whose names were sent to the upper legislative chamber last week by President Bola Tinubu.

After introducing himself and speaking about his experience, senators began asking Muhammad questions.

Onyesoh questioned Muhammad, who is from Sokoto, over his senior secondary school certificate examination (SSCE) result, saying from the credentials submitted, the nominee only has two credits. 

“I’ve been looking for your school certificate. I saw one. You sat for five subjects with (but you have) two credits,” Onyesoh said.

“I don’t know how. I want to imagine that you still have another (SSCE result) to bring. If not, I would want you to explain how you got into university with that (two credits).”

In response, Muhammad told the lawmakers that he has other SSCE results in which he “passed all” subjects, adding that he did not attach them to his CV.

“I have other secondary school results which I have all passed. That is not attached to my CV because we are talking of a secondary school certificate,” he said.

“I want to remind the distinguished senator which I know he very much knows that with the qualification of secondary school certificate as enshrined in the constitution, we can stand for an election up to the presidential election.”

“So, I didn’t bother you with such certificates. But I know those are the qualifications for that.” 

Senate President Godswill Akpabio interrupted him, noting that there is a difference between standing for an election and being nominated to serve as a minister.

“You are saying that you chose what to give to the senate. You chose the qualification to bring before the senate because of the constitutional provision that a secondary school certificate is what is required to stand for election,” Akpabio said.

“You’re not coming to stand for election, you’re coming to be a minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. So, which are the other certificates you concealed? Which are the other certificates you did not put in your CV?”

But Muhammad explained further that the result he submitted to the red chamber is his first in which he passed with only two credits, noting that there are other SSCEs he sat and made all subjects.

“I sat for another examination and I have passed but I don’t want to attach another qualification,” he said.

Lawmakers shouted in disagreement after his comments, leading to rowdiness in the chamber.

In an attempt to maintain decorum, Akpabio asked Muhammed to submit all his certificates to the clerk.

He said all nominees must present all their certificates in totality, “including the number of children they have and the number of houses”.

The senate president said Nigerians have a right to know the detail of their ministerial nominees.

“So, you don’t choose and pick,” he said. 

Similarly, the senators also grilled Joseph Utsev, a nominee from Benue, over what appeared to be a discrepancy in his biodata.

While addressing the lawmakers, Utsev said he was born in Benue on December 2, 1980, and attended the University of Agriculture, Makurdi, where he studied civil engineering and graduated in 2004.

The nominee said he completed the mandatory one-year National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) in Kaduna in 2006. And then proceeded to obtain his master’s degree from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka in 2007, and later earned his doctorate from the same university in 2011.

However, Tokunbo Abiru, senator representing Lagos East senatorial district, requested Utsev to clarify his biodata.

“You graduated in 2004 meaning that you probably would have spent nine years for your first degree. I just need you to clarify those data starting from primary school, while it took you that long to get your first degree despite the academic brilliance you have exhibited,” Abiru asked the nominee.

Utsev explained that there is a discrepancy in his biodata, adding that he was also affected by prolonged ASUU strikes.

The Cable

(Visited 101 times, 1 visits today)