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From the Archives: Gov. Tinubu and Certificate Forgery – Sep 14, 1999

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Sep 14, 1999 (From Postexpresswired.com) Date of Article: 09/14/99
Topic: Tinubu on His Toes

Full Text of Article: Allegations of perjury and forgery being levelled against Lagos Governor, Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu have kept the State Chief Executive on his toes, reports OKEY NDIRIBE (Senior Correspondent).

HOW can Governor Bola Tinubu be innocent? retorted radical Lagos State Lawyer, Chief Gani Fawehinmi while responding to a question put to him by The Post Express.

He continued! “Available evidence shows he has committed crimes which are being downplayed by the press in this part of the country because of tribalism and sectionalism.”

Many journalists in Lagos agree with Fawehinmi. For several weeks it was common knowledge in most media houses in the former federal capital that petitions containing grave allegations levelled against the state chief executive were making the rounds. But there seemed to have been a grand conspiracy to ignore the petition authored by one Dr. Waliu Balogun a Lagos resident.

The petitioner had alleged that Tinubu did not attend University of Chicago as indicated in the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) form 001 he filled when he contested the gubernatorial election in the state. It was also alleged that the Lagos governor lied in the affidavit he attached to the INEC form in which he declared that he lost his University of Chicago degree certificate while he was in exile between 1994 and 1998.

Tinubu was alleged to have claimed attending University of Chicago between 1972 and 1976 and Chicago State University between 1977 and 1979.

The petitioner had further alleged that Tinubu’s claim that he attended Government College, Ibadan was also false. He also picked holes in the governor’s claim in the INEC form that he was born in 1952 by alleging that he filled 1954 in the documents at his alma matter Chicago State University.

Tinubu was also accused of not participating in the National Youth Service Corp (NYSC) scheme as required by law. His claim of being a chartered accountant was dismissed by the petitioner too.
As the petition made the rounds, Tinubu’s aides had dismissed the allegations with a wave of the hand claming it was, the handiwork of the governor’s political enemies.

However, all that changed when today a Kaduna based newspaper went ahead and published contents of the petition.

Against the background of the recent disgraceful removal of Alhaji Salisu Buhari as Speaker of the House of Representatives and the searchlight which was turned on the Senate President, Chief Evan Enwerem, Tinubu’s camp became alarmed.

Speaking to journalists at Abuja a few days later, Tinubu presented the original copy of his Chicago State University certificate. He dismissed all the allegations levelled against him and described them as “baseless, wicked and unfortunate.” The governor insisted he was a clean man with an immaculate record.

He also stated he was ready to face an independent panel of enquiry on the controversy, adding that no amount of smear campaign could divert him from his goal of serving Lagosians.

Shortly after the scandal broke out, it appeared the state House of Assembly wanted to wade into the matter. However, on August 31, the House majority leader, Mr. Farouk Adegboyega Oshodi said the House was yet to receive any petition against the governor. Nevertheless, the controversy generated by the petition became more interesting last week when Senator Tokunbo Afikuyomi who represents Lagos West in the upperhouse, exonerated Tinubu of any wrongdoing, claiming instead that he (Afikuyomi) should be blamed for filling Tinubu’s INEC form wrongly. He claimed he filled the form on the governor’s behalf and admitted mistakes were made with regard to the actual schools Tinubu attended.

Said Afikuyomi: “I took part in the activities that brought Tinubu to the State House and therefore I know all that happened during the primaries and during the screening exercise at INEC.”

Continuing the Senator said: “I can tell you now with facts without any contradiction from any quarters, that the circumstances under which the INEC forms were filled were not normal circumstances.”

Afikuyomi explained there were lots of intra party crisis emanating from the party’s gubernatorial primaries in the state.

“Therefore that gave us less than 24 hours to fill the form and submit to INEC. And in the middle of all that, we also had lots of things to do in terms of campaigns, preparations, resolving crises at party meetings and reconciliation meetings, he said.

However, Afikuyomi’s explanation did not help Tinubu much. It could not explain the governor’s claim that he attended two universities whereas he attended only one. The Senator’s explanation could not rationalise why Tinubu also swore to an affidavit that he attended University of Chicago even when he did not.

Afikuyomi could not provide any reason why Tinubu’s name could not be found in the list of class one students in 1965 even as he had claimed that was the year he entered the college and spent only a brief period there.

The Post Express further learnt that already the old students association of Government College, Ibadan has dissociated itself from Tinubu as there were no records to show that he attended the school at all. A grand party which was initially planned by the old students of the school to celebrate the ascension of one of “their own” into the corridors of power was hurriedly cancelled when it was discovered nobody knew Tinubu during the period he claimed to have attended the school.

According to the Lagos governor’s curriculum vitae, he completed his secondary school education at Richard Daley College also in Chicago in 1971.

Another puzzle in the Tinubu saga is that he was alleged to have an NYSC discharged certificate numbered OY/FORN/82/9106 issued in 1993 when it was known that he did not serve in the scheme.

In yet another twist to the scandal, two Senators representing Lagos have dissociated themselves from the statements made by Afikuyomi in defending Tinubu.

Contrary to Afikuyomi’s claims that he was speaking on behalf of Lagos legislators at the National Assembly, Senators Wahab Dosumu and Sunday Ogunlewe dissociated themselves from Afikuyomi’s defence of Tinubu. Said they: “Afikuyomi did not speak on our behalf. He did not consult us before his press conference. At the appropriate time, our great party will speak on the matter.”

The positions expressed by the duo was confirmed last Thursday as the leadership of AD gathered at Oshogbo to urgently address the unfolding scandal.

Sources at the Alausa, Ikeja, secretariat of the Lagos State Government hinted last Thursday that Tinubu and other leaders of the party had been summoned to take an urgent decision on the issue.

Tinubu who was elected Senator in 1991 adopted to become AD’s governorship candidate in the state despite strong opposition to the move.

The state leadership of the party had insisted that Tinubu’s opponent in the primaries, Mr. Funsho Williams had won the party’s ticket.

Tinubu’s emergence as the state governor followed as the party swept the governorship polls in Lagos and other states in the South west last December.

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