In what appears a fallout of the controversy triggered by the secondary school result of the presidential candidate of the opposition All progressives Congress, Muhammadu Buhari, a Freedom of Information (FOI) request has been sent to the University of Port Harcourt to provide relevant details of the doctorate qualifications of President Goodluck Jonathan.
Mr Buhari’s secondary school has since provided a copy of the his statement of result and other eminent Nigerians who were his classmates have come out to say that they sat for the examination with him.
A civil society organisation, the Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, on behalf of one Omano Edigheji, simply described as a Nigerian citizen, is asking that UNIPORT provides the following documents related to the president’s doctorate qualification as stipulated by section 2 and 4 of the Freedom of Information Act 2011:
1. The title of the president’s doctorate dissertation
2. Year of registration as a doctorate candidate
3. Name of his doctorate supervisor(s)
4. Name of his external examiner(s)
5. Comments/ reports of the external examiners on the dissertation/thesis
6. Photocopy of the dissertation/thesis
7. Date of graduation from the university
The organisation said it is willing to bear any cost the university might incur in making photocopies of the requested documents and for posting them.
The organisation gave the university seven days to provide the documents.
Following dispute over the secondary school qualification of Mr. Buhari, raised by the president’s party, the Peoples Democratic Party [PDP] and his supporters, some Nigerians have been calling on Mr. Jonathan to make public details of his doctorate dissertation and other research work he did before he was awarded the degree.
President Jonathan has a Bachelor’s degree in Zoology, a Master’s in Hydrobiology and Fisheries Biology and a doctorate in Zoology. All degrees were from the University of Port Harcourt.
The president will remain qualified to run even if it is found that he did not complete his doctorate as the minimum qualification to contest for the office is secondary school certificate, and that has not been called to question.
However, he might be disqualified on the ground of perjury if found that he indeed did not finish his doctorate but yet included it as part of his academic qualifications in the forms he submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).