A mate of President Muhammadu Buhari in the Nigerian Army, Maj.-Gen. Paul Tarfa (retd), told the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal on Tuesday that the claim that he and members of his set were asked to hand over their school certificates to the Nigerian Army while being enlisted in 1962 was false.
Tarfa was testifying as Buhari’s first defence witness in the petition filed by the Peoples Democratic Party and its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, to challenge the outcome of the February 23, 2019 presidential election. Under cross-examination by counsel for the Independent National Electoral Commission, Yunus Usman (SAN), Tarfa said he was enlisted in the Nigerian Army alongside Buhari and others on April 16, 1962. He confirmed that the medium of instruction “was English language and English language alone.” He also confirmed that he and Buhari “passed the examinations in flying colours.”
When asked, he named some members of his set with whom he and Buhari were enlisted to include, Brig.-Generals Ola Oni, Duro Ajayi, Col. A.C. Ojukwu, the late Brig-Generals, Abdullahi Sellem and Shehu Yar’Adua. He was also asked by the INEC’s lawyer to confirm if “You and other course mates were asked to hand over your certificates to the Nigerian Army during your enlistment;” to which the respondent, Tarfa, said, “There was nothing like that.” After asking the witness one question, the petitioners’ lawyer, Livy Uzoukwu (SAN), thanked him “for being truthful.”