Investigation clears Tinubu of certificate tampering, but calls for disqualification persist

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Following the controversy generated by the academic qualifications he filed in forms submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, in 1999, the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, continued to suffer the backlash.

But a parliamentary inquiry had since cleared him of any case of perjury while an independent investigation by the newspaper Punch established that he was indeed a graduate of Chicago State University in the United States.

Tinubu’s academic qualification has come under scrutiny since he first filed the required documents in 1998 in preparation for the 1999 gubernatorial election.

Contradictory filings in 1992, 1999 and 2022

While Tinubu had claimed in 1992 when he ran for senate for Lagos West that he attended Richard Daley College Chicago and Chicago State University, graduating in June 1979 with a bachelor’s degree in accounting, in his 1999 filing, he said he attended the University of Chicago and Chicago State. University, graduated with a degree in commerce and administration, accounting from the latter.

However, Chicago State University’s letter dated August 20, 1999 addressed to “To Whom It May Concern”, was referenced by its then-Chief Press Secretary, Segun Ayobolu, showing that Tinubu did in fact attended Chicago State University from August 1977 to June 1979, a one-year term. year, 10 months (22 months) only.

Meanwhile, in his 2022 documents for the 2023 presidential election as the APC presidential candidate, he did not list his primary and secondary schools.

He also did not state the name of the university he was attending.

However, he said his academic qualification was “B.SC Business and Administration, 1979”.

Survey conducted by THE WHISTLER showed that following inconsistencies in his academic qualifications filed with INEC in 1998, and fallout, which led to petitions and a legal fight, a petition was filed by Hon. Tajudeen Jaiyeola Agoro, representing Lagos Mainland Constituency, for investigation according to the account presented in January by then, Tinubu Chief Press Secretary Segun Ayobolu in the
Saturday edition of the Tribune, 2022.

He explained that the then President, Adeleke Olorunimbe Mamora, established a 5-man ad hoc committee on Tuesday, September 21, 1999 to investigate the allegations and report back to the House.

The other members of the committee were the Hon. Babajide Omoworare (Chair), Hon. Thomas Ayodele Fadeyi, Hon. Adeniyi Akinmade, Hon. Ibrahim Gbola Gbabijo and Hon Saliu Olaitan Mustapha.

Committee report

Citing the Committee’s report, Ayobolu said, “The Governor of Lagos State began his testimony by admitting ‘full responsibility’ for some of the ‘unnecessary errors’ pointed out in recent publications and which formed the basis of the allegations against him.

“The Governor told the committee that following the acrimonious primaries of the Alliance for Democracy in Lagos State and the accompanying crisis, the information contained in both the INEC form and the the affidavit of loss of certificates were provided by Senator Tokunbo Afikuyomi”.

According to him, “The Governor then submitted to the Committee a copy of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) Senate Nomination Form dated June 1, 1992, which he used to contest the 1992 Senate election as the left for West Lagos. In the form, which he personally completed, the Governor attached certificates from Richard Daley College and Chicago State University. For his diplomas, he only completed the B.SC Accounting.

According to the committee’s report, as quoted, “This, he said, demonstrated that the ‘unnecessary errors’ identified in the 1999 INEC form were not consistent and were ‘genuine errors’.

Quoting the Committee’s final report, “However, we wish to state that the Governor’s inability to resolve these issues quickly left the field open to numerous aides and supporters who circulated statements and documents, some of which, according to the Governor, were neither from him nor authorized by him. Since the Governor himself has accepted responsibility for the “unnecessary mistakes” made and is in any case responsible for the documents signed by him, we advise him urge you to be more careful in ensuring the accuracy of the
documents which will bear his signature in the future”.

Supreme Court decision

Following the introduction of the case in the Federal High Court in Lagos by the late legal luminary, Gani Fawehinmi, the Supreme Court subsequently ruled against any further investigation into Tinubu as incumbent governor. , as he enjoyed immunity although the merits and merits of the case were not considered.

In the judgment delivered on Friday May 10, 2002 between Fawehinmi (Appellant) and the Inspector General of Police and Two others (Respondents/cross-Appellants), the certified copy of the judgment which was obtained by our Lawyers Online correspondent, Judge Samson Odemwingie Uwaifo, who handed down the main judgment, relied on Article 308 of the 1999 Constitution, which grants immunity to incumbent governors and their deputies, president and vice president.

The Supreme Court agreed with the Federal High Court in Lagos and the Court of Appeal, saying the police were correct in not issuing a mandamus order which would have warranted an investigation, as conferred on it by Section 4 of the Act on the font, Cap. 359, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 1990.

The court further ruled that the “interest of the appellant which is greater than that of the general public” was not “affected” by Tinubu’s alleged false certificate and falsification of age.

In his favorable decision, Judge Abubakar Bashr Wiali ruled that “the investigation of a criminal complaint filed by the police against one of the office holders mentioned in Section 308 (3) of the 1999 Constitution does not amount not file a criminal complaint in court. The investigation of a criminal complaint by the police is in my opinion a preliminary step which may or may not lead to criminal proceedings.

For his part, Justice Michael Ekundayo Ogundare, ruled that “the Court of Appeal is clearly correct in considering that Section 308 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 does not extend to granting officers referred to in subsection (3) thereof immunity from police investigation into allegations of crimes against them. This tribunal is also correct in concluding that the police do, however, have discretion whether or not to investigate any complaint to it, and the court will not intervene if, on the facts of a particular case, the discretion is properly exercised.

Chicago State University Clearance

Following various inquiries about whether Bola Ahmed Tinubu was attending his university, Chicago State University wrote to The Punch in January 2022 confirming that he had graduated from the university.

The institution wrote that “Mr. Tinubu attended our university, however, if further information is needed, please visit the studentclearinghouse.org website to make a formal application.”

The mail response was from Beverly Poindexter, who handled official transcript requests, registration, and credential verification at the Office of the Registrar, CSU.

Calls for disqualification grow louder

Even within the APC, there have been calls for Tinubu to be disqualified over alleged inconsistencies in his qualifications.

In the run-up to the party’s presidential primary in June 2022, a member of the party in Kano State, Sagir Mai Iyali, wrote a petition against him to the John Oyegun-led committee demanding Tinubu’s disqualification.

Iyali, in a letter dated May 17, 2022, said that “according to information contained in previous submissions to INEC, in particular in 1999, Mr. Tinubu presented a false statement, under oath, regarding his attendance from the University of Chicago from 1972 to 1976.

“It is now clear that these claims are false. Not only was this filed in the INEC form with an affidavit on December 20, 1999, but it was also in a sworn affidavit of loss before the Lagos High Court, Ikeja Registry, December 29, 1998.”

But the Oyegun committee rejected the petition and later cleared Tinubu.

On Friday, June 25, 2022, the Action Peoples Party, APP, threatened to take Tinubu to court on Monday to challenge his academic qualification to run in the 2023 election.

Party chairman Uche Nnadi, who revealed this in a statement, said the party had enough facts to corner him.

The party will rely on the information it has provided in its INEC forms. He said,

“Tinubu’s new forms contradict his 2007 affidavit that he has a primary and secondary school. He has denied attending primary and secondary school, but claims a university degree in new INEC forms released today.

“He committed perjury by giving up his earlier claim to attend elementary school, swore in an affidavit to run for governor, but now claims not to have attended elementary school.

“His new statement in the new INEC forms of not attending primary and secondary school (is) false information, given earlier 2007 sworn nomination forms containing controversial primary and secondary schools he claimed to have” , did he declare.

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