Politicians are very good at deploying fallacies to twist issues and protect their interests. In the trending story regarding the alleged certificate forgery involving President Bola Tinubu, they have not disappointed. All manner of theories and fallacies have propped up to divert attention from the main story and score cheap political point.
Recall that President Tinubu allegedly forged his Chicago State University (CSU) certificate which he tendered to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to enable him to contest for the position of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. There are other controversies surrounding his background. For many Nigerians, it has become a situation where the more you try to find out the truth, the more confused you become.
The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, went to court in the United States to compel the CSU to release Tinubu’s records to him. One of Atiku’s lawyers, Kalu Kalu, said Atiku’s legal team was able to establish from the deposition of the Registrar of CSU, Mr Caleb Westberg, that Tinubu forged his certificate; that the qualifying certificate from Southwest College to CSU bears a female; that the CSU admission form has a claim that Bola Ahmed Tinubu attended Government College, Lagos and graduated in 1970 but that the school was actually established in 1974; that the same document has it that the owner of the document is a black American; and that the same document under deposition says the ‘A’ in Bola A. Tinubu is Ahmed whereas the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) certificate Tinubu submitted to INEC says the ‘A’ is Adekunle. Even his real date of birth is also a conundrum.
One would have expected Tinubu to satisfactorily explain to Nigerians why there are discrepancies in his academic record. That was what the presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP) Mr. Peter Obi, meant when he recently called on the President to reveal his true identity and save Nigerians from the present embarrassment they now contend with in different parts of the world.
But rather than take up the challenge, Tinubu and his defenders resorted to you-too fallacy; fishing for some dirty secrets of their main opponents. The National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Felix Morka, said Obi must know that Tinubu did not need a re-introduction and that he had no identity problem “except the one contrived by the Atikus and Peters of our political firmament.”
Suddenly, different certificates purportedly belonging to Obi started flying on the social media. The LP renegades led by Lamidi Apapa claimed that there was a discrepancy in the credentials Obi submitted to the party and INEC. According to the National Publicity Secretary of Apapa’s LP faction, Abayomi Arabambi, Obi’s name on his certificate from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN) is different from the name on his NYSC certificate.
Atiku was not less vilified. For daring to probe into Tinubu’s past, his opponents also dug into his own past. Suddenly, we heard that his West African School Certificate bears Siddiq as his first name instead of Atiku and that he is from Cameroon. Atiku replied that he had sworn to an affidavit that Siddiq Abubakar was the same person as Atiku Abubakar.
The point is, neither Obi nor Atiku is our President for now. None of them occupies any public office currently. And unlike Tinubu, the authenticity of their certificates has never been an issue. Tinubu is the one whose credentials have been under scrutiny since the advent of this fourth republic. Now that he is President, he should clear his name first. He owes millions of Nigerians some explanations. Atiku and Obi will face their own cross at the appropriate time. There is no need to divert attention here.
There is also no need to bamboozle Nigerians on the issue at stake. Last week, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) goofed when it said it found no evidence that Tinubu forged the certificate he submitted to INEC. The BBC team comprising Olaronke Alo, Fouziyya Tukur and Chiagozie Nwonwu (all Nigerian names) laboured to explain how they came to their position; but to the discerning eyes, the story was an expedition in futility. Forgery is forgery no matter how we bend our mouth to say it. If truly, the CSU disowned the certificate Tinubu presented to INEC, then it is forgery. Since Atiku has tendered his Chicago documents in his appeal against Tinubu at the Supreme Court, and Tinubu has asked the apex court to dismiss Atiku’s new evidence, it will be interesting to see how the case will end.
Nevertheless, I am not excited about the court processes because we may not get justice there. I am more interested in enthroning democratic standards and values in our country. I am more after enthroning truth in all the facets of our national life.
Nigeria will achieve much progress when citizens begin to question the shenanigans of politicians no matter their ethnic, religious or political connection with them. Over the years, some of us have defended the indefensible probably because the subject of scrutiny is our tribesman, religious man or political associate. Some of us also talk from both sides of the mouth because of pecuniary gains.
Characters like Femi Fani-Kayode belong to this group. When the PDP was in power, this former Aviation Minister was with that party, casting aspersions on the APC and its leaders. Today, he is with the APC and one of Tinubu’s campaign spokespersons, throwing tantrums on the same PDP and its leaders he dined and wined with. No shame, no scruples!
A few months ago, former Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, pooh-poohed the ruling party and vowed never to join what he described as a deadly cancer known as the APC. Today, he is the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) despite vowing never to be a minister again. He has not formally joined the APC, but it’s a matter of time.
For me, the most disappointing act came from the Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, and a former President of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Olisa Agbakoba. Soyinka had categorically said in South Africa that Tinubu won the 2023 presidential election. According to him, Labour Party knew its presidential candidate, Peter Obi, did not win the presidential election but was trying to force a lie on Nigerians that Obi won. Knowing what transpired during the election, not a few Nigerians concluded that Soyinka was the one who lied.
On his part, Agbakoba berated lawyers and some others who commented on the Tinubu’s CSU certificate scandal. As he put it, “This utter nonsense from armchair lawyers is heating up Nigeria dangerously,” and that “this public nonsense must stop.” Meanwhile, this man has been commenting freely on happenings in Nigeria and had recently carpeted the Nigerian bench for its queer judgements in recent times. Now, he wants people to shut their mouth and watch while the nation burns.
We must play politics with honour, truth and principles. When we play politics of propaganda and falsehood, we end up creating avenues for sane societies to treat us with disdain. In major parts of the world, Nigerians are seen as fraudsters and manipulators. Certificate forgery has been added to our sins. Nigerians seeking admission in foreign universities may undergo stringent scrutiny before they are given admission. Those passing through the airports may have to go through strict immigration formalities before they are allowed to enter any country now.
President Tinubu should not listen to the hangers-on who are only defending their stomach infrastructure. He should take the bull by the horns and open up to Nigerians. Former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Salisu Buhari, owned up to his certificate and birthday forgeries, apologised and resigned in 1999. Though he was jailed two years with option of fine, he received presidential pardon and is a free man today. Most Nigerians have short memories and can easily forgive and forget certain infractions. All they want is the whole truth from the horse’s mouth and not twisted facts from evil defence experts. Appointment of sundry media aides, as Tinubu did recently, will not obliterate the stigma or douse the stench of ridicule which forgeries in high places have placed on Nigeria and Nigerians.
Re: Chicagogate: If I were Tinubu
Dear Casy, resignation from the presidential seat will be the last thing on the mind of a man who propounded the theory of “grab power and run with it”. In any case, if Tinubu resigns now as a result of the controversy surrounding the Chicago State University certificate, who takes over the seat? Vice President Shettima? In a saner clime, the joint ticket of Tinubu and Shettima should be voided by the Supreme Court as a result of this apparent forgery. Sadly, I do not see the apex court Justices having the courage to remove them as was done in the celebrated case between Douye Diri v David Lyon of Bayelsa State due to the discrepancies in the certificate of Lyon’s running mate. By the way, why didn’t Atiku pursue this matter immediately Tinubu emerged as the APC presidential candidate? If this certificate from the CSU was obtained prior to the general election, it could have been an eye-opener to the electorate on the best choice to make. Besides, it would have been tendered at the trial court which was the Presidential Election Petition Court where evidence are admitted. Even though the discovery from the CSU is apt and germane, can the apex court admit it and set a good precedent for the country?
-Ifeanyi, Owerri, 0806 156 2735
The entire argument on attendance and graduation of Tinubu at Chicago State University is flawed: it should start with perjury which is already established via Tinubu’s entries in his 1999 and 2023 governorship and presidential forms. It is the foundation that qualified Tinubu for admission into Chicago State University that should be the first consideration. His claim of attendance of Government College, Ibadan was roundly rejected and disclaimed by the old students. In pursuit of his presidential ambition is a claim of a school certificate purportedly obtained in 1970 even as Government College, Lagos through which the 1970 ‘magical certificate’ was obtained was established in 1974. Does one need a Prof Chike Obi to find the Mathematical missing lines? Those who drink from Tinubu’s fountain are shamelessly grandstanding instead of questioning him on his different claims of academic papers and schools in 1999 and 2023. From the known one knows the unknown. This irredeemable mix-up is obvious and unequivocal! The Supreme Court does not need to travel all the way to Chicago for an answer to abort the Tinubu’s presidency: the answer is already here with us.
-Edet Essien Esq. Cal South, 0810 809 5633
Mr Igbokwe, you know that the Nigerian state is a forged & forced contraption, that some ethnic groups are benefiting there-from. Nigeria can be likened to George Orwell’s classic – ANIMAL FARM. In your opening gambit, you said it all, that in today’s Nigeria, truth is on sale. What do you expect from a contraption that was ‘DELIBERATELY’ formed to pamper an ethnic group, to subjugate others? Look, Nigeria is the only British creation that has not imploded, but the signs are more manifest now: run-away inflation, heightened insecurity et al. The signs on the horizon are very ominous indeed.
-Barry in Ogoniland, 0803 435 6380