Questions of whether or not President Muhammadu Buhari can speak the English language have dominated the Tuesday’s proceedings of the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal in Abuja, where the Peoples Democratic Party, and its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, are challenging his victory at the February 23 poll.
The first two petitioners’ witnesses who testified on Tuesday were inundated with questions by the lawyers representing Buhari and his All Progressives Congress – Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), and Lateef Fagbemi (SAN).
The questions were informed by the petitioners’ claim in their petition that Buhari was not academically qualified to run for President.
Testifying first on Tuesday as the petitioners’ seventh witness, the Niger State collation agent for the PDP, Tanko Beche, said he trained as a lawyer.
Asked if he watched Buhari’s and Atiku’s campaigns, Beche said he watched that of Buhari and participated in that of Atiku’s.
Asked if he was aware that Buhari spoke in English particularly in the southern part of Nigeria during the campaigns, the witness said he was not in the position to confirm.
Asked which class he was between 1983 and 1985, he said he was in primary school.
He was also asked who was the Head of State during the period, Beche said, “History has shown me it was Muhammadu Buhari.”
Asked if he was aware that Buhari was addressing the nation in English as the Head of State, the witness said, “The President should address the nation in English.”
Taking the witness stand after Beche was the Chairman of the PDP in Katsina State, Salisu Maijigiri, who was also confronted with questions about Buhari’s competence to speak English.
The witness, who noted that he served as the state collation agent for his party in Katsina State during the presidential election, said he was born in 1963.
He said he was aware that Buhari was the Head of State between 1983 and 1985.
Asked which class he was in at the time, he said, “I was in Class 3 in the secondary school.”
Asked if Buhari was addressing the nation in English as the Head of State, he said, “Maybe I was in the village then.”