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Nigerian Politicians embroiled in alleged Certificate Scandals



Nigerian Politicians embroiled in alleged Certificate Scandals

Certificate scandals have plagued Nigeria’s political landscape since the country’s return to democracy in 1999. High-profile politicians, occupying both elected and appointed positions, have found themselves entangled in controversies surrounding forged or missing certificates.

While some allegations lacked substantial evidence and were dismissed in court, others resulted in proven cases of certificate forgery. As the current administration nears its end, there is a possibility of these scandals resurfacing in the coming months. In this article, we delve into some of the notable cases involving Nigerian politicians and their alleged certificate scandals.

Salisu Buhari: Salisu Buhari, who served as the Speaker of the House of Representatives from 1999 to 2000, became the face of certificate scandals in Nigeria. Shortly after his election, it was revealed that he had falsified his age and educational qualifications.

Buhari confessed to claiming a bachelor’s degree from the University of Toronto, when in fact, he held only a diploma. He was also expelled from Ahmadu Bello University for presenting fake credentials. Buhari resigned as Speaker following the controversy, but he later sought forgiveness and another opportunity to serve the country.

President Muhammadu Buhari: President Muhammadu Buhari, during his candidacy for the All Progressives Congress (APC) in 2015, faced a certificate controversy.

The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) raised concerns about the non-availability of Buhari’s secondary school certificate. Despite the controversy, Buhari won the presidential election. However, the issue resurfaced in 2018 when he was seeking reelection and did not include his academic credentials in the documents submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for the 2019 election.

This led to accusations of him lacking a secondary education. The controversy subsided when the West African Examination Council (WAEC) issued an “attestation certificate” to President Buhari, confirming his possession of a secondary school certificate.

Senator Bola Tinubu: President-elect Bola Ahmed Tinubu made headlines prior to the 2023 presidential election for not submitting his academic certificates to INEC. Tinubu omitted details about his primary and secondary education on the nomination form but claimed to have attended Chicago State University. In an affidavit, he stated that his properties and certificates were destroyed during a period of self-exile. Despite the controversies, Tinubu emerged as the winner of the 2023 presidential election.

Goodluck Jonathan: Former President Goodluck Jonathan faced allegations of forging his PhD certificate. The accusations originated from former President Olusegun Obasanjo, causing a stir within the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP). The University of Port Harcourt dismissed the insinuations as baseless and later refused to disclose Jonathan’s academic records to a civil society organization. The allegations did not significantly impact Jonathan’s political career.

Senator Ademola Adeleke: Senator Ademola Adeleke, the current governor of Osun State, faced accusations of falsifying his West African Senior School Certificate Examination results and secondary school testimonial.

These allegations were brought forth by two members of his party, but Adeleke was cleared to contest the 2019 governorship election by the court. Another lawsuit was filed against him, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), and INEC, but the Court of Appeal ultimately declared Adeleke qualified to contest the election.

Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo: Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo, the running mate of David Lyon in Bayelsa State’s 2019 governorship election, was disqualified by the Supreme Court due to his submission of forged credentials to INEC. Consequently, the court ordered the withdrawal of the certificate of return issued to Lyon, ultimately leading to his removal as governor.

Other Notable Cases: The article also highlights additional politicians who were involved in alleged certificate scandals. Kemi Adeosun, the former Minister of Finance, resigned after being accused of forging her NYSC exemption certificate.

Christian Abah, a former member of the House of Representatives, was ousted by the Supreme Court for submitting a forged academic qualification certificate.

James Ibori, a former governor of Delta State, faced allegations of forging his bachelor’s and master’s degrees but was primarily convicted on corruption charges. Bello Masari, the current governor of Katsina State, was accused of forging his secondary school certificate but had the case dismissed by the Supreme Court.

Dimeji Bankole, the former Speaker of the House of Representatives, faced rumors of submitting fake NYSC discharge documents, which he refuted by presenting his legitimate certificate. Peter Mbah, the Governor-elect of Enugu State, encountered controversy over his NYSC discharge certificate, with conflicting statements from the NYSC and a pending lawsuit seeking damages.

Certificate scandals have persisted as a recurrent issue in Nigeria’s political landscape.

While some politicians have been proven guilty of certificate forgery, others have faced accusations without substantial evidence. As the nation prepares for a new administration, it remains to be seen whether these controversies will continue to surface.

The impact of certificate scandals on politicians’ careers and the integrity of the political system underscores the importance of transparency and accountability in the country’s governance.