• Monday, December 04, 2023
businessday logo

BusinessDay

Tinubu’s certificate saga a threat to Nigeria’s reputation — Atiku

Supreme Court judgement: Atiku addresses world press

Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar Thursday said even though he has no personal grouse with President Bola Tinubu over the ongoing investigations on his certificates, Nigeria’s reputation is at stake.

“We undertook this journey at great cost and for important reasons. The ground rules for legitimate governance in our country need to be upheld, and the reputation of our country is at stake. That affects everyone, Nigerians everywhere.

While addressing a world press conference in Abuja, Atiku stated that political leadership and active citizenship matter because they are ways through which a country is built.

He declared that the ball is now at the court of the Supreme Court, whose responsibilities they are to interpret the law.

“Now, we entrust these facts to us all as citizens and as leaders of the institutions charged with interpreting our constitution. I should thank the lawyers both in Nigeria and in the United States, who have assisted us in bringing clarity and definitive answers to these issues that appear to have defied our institutions for nearly a quarter of a century.

“I also want to extend my gratitude to Nigerian citizens and friends of Nigeria both within and beyond the shores of our country for their patience as we have sought to find the facts and establish the truth.

He dismissed claims that he had personal vendetta to settle with President Tinubu. However, he stated that it is now left for the Supreme Court to decide on Tinubu’s qualifications for the post of Nigeria’s President in the face of the certificate saga.

“We all work together to build a country that works for all who live in it. Our country is bigger than any of us, and its standing in the world affects the fate of all who come from or live in it. As leaders, it is our duty to advance the well-being of all our people and of the country,” he said.

“For this purpose, my generation worked hard to return the soldiers to the barracks and to defend the rights of the people, to elect and establish for ourselves a legitimate government. Our elections are established, governed by law and founded on the constitution from which leadership and government in Nigeria alone derive their legitimacy.

Read also: Atiku names the one thing that can end his battle with Tinubu

“The people look up to us as leaders to respect these rules and, where necessary, to defend them. This is what brings us here.

The Peoples Democratic Party Presidential candidate described a himself as “ a democrat by conviction and a citizen of a country that I love”

“The issues at stake in this case require us once more to re-dedicate ourselves to both the country and our constitution.

“ Today, we are called upon again as a people to uphold and defend the ground rules of elective government in our country. The constitution prescribes the requirements for those who seek the highest elective office in the land.

“It should not take months or, indeed, decades, for the institutions concerned to be able to do their work in establishing the credibility of any certificates presented by candidates for public office.

Former American President Thomas Jefferson once said, “If I had to choose between government without newspapers, and newspapers without government, I wouldn’t hesitate to choose the latter”. From exposing the Watergate scandal and unravelling the dubious certificates of politicians, journalists have maintained eternal vigilance by bridging the gap and stepping in when other arms of government failed.

It is for these reasons that commendation must be given to David Hundeyin, an independent journalist whose extraordinary work and those of many more young people like him has become a source of inspiration. Special thanks must be given to the millions of Nigerian youths and citizen journalists too who continue to put out the truth online even when no one is listening. Indeed, the price of Liberty is Eternal Vigilance. They have put the country first in their firm commitment to unravel the truth and hold leaders accountable. This gives me the hope that we have worthy partners in the struggle to reclaim the country we call home.

“This quest is not for or about Atiku Abubakar. It is a quest for the enthronement of truth, morality, and accountability in our public affairs. In line with this, therefore, I am calling on all well-meaning Nigerians, leaders of thought, our religious leaders, our traditional leaders, our community leaders, our political leaders, and in particular, Governor Peter Obi of the Labour Party and Governor Rabiu Kwankwaso of the NNPP and, the leaders of every political party in Nigeria, and, indeed, every single person who loves this country, as I do, and who wishes nothing but the best for the country, as I do, to join me in this campaign to enshrine probity, accountability and the basic principles of justice, morality and uprightness in our country and in our government. This is a task for each and every one of us.

The official repudiation of President Tinubu’s certificate, the only academic qualification he presented to INEC came at a deposition of the school officials on Tuesday.
Read also: Chicago State University Registrar addresses allegations of Tinubu’s identity theft

Caleb Westberg, the school’s Registrar while speaking under oath and penalty of perjury, said the certificate dated June 22, 1979, and tendered before INEC on June17, 2022, was not issued by the school’s administration, adding that “ its administrators could not authenticate its source”

Westberg who is the School’s registrar since November, 2020 during the deposition that lasted for about 5.5 hours, added that “Tinubu did not apply for any replacement, nor was any issued to him”

Recall that Tinubu had claimed that a replacement was issued to him by the institution on the June 27, 1997.

The certificate he is parading was said to have been signed by Elnora Daniel and Niva Lublin who were not even at the school in 1979, according to information available to BusinessDay.

With the revelations coming out of the President’s certificate saga, the President may have violated the provisions of Section 137( 1) (j) of the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria ( as amended),

Section 137(1)(j), specifically states that no one can be elected into the office of the President if he or she presents a forged certificate to INEC.
The case before the Supreme Court must be decided on or before December 6, 2023, as stipulated n the electoral act, 2022.

It was also discovered that the name Bola Ahmed Tinubu was actually originally a female name – Adenike Abimbola Tinubu, said to be a US citizen, based on her social security number.