The ongoing underground campaigns by presidential aspirants have left the Nigerian populace divided into three major groups.
There are those supporting Bola Ahmed Tinubu who happens to be the presidential candidate of the APC. There are those supporting Atiku Abubakar, who happens to be the presidential candidate of the PDP. There are also citizens who are supporting the candidate of the Labor Party Peter Obi.
In recent times, it seems the Labour Party candidate has been under serious attack by fans and supporters of the other candidates, for reasons we all know.
The reason being that Peter Obi seems to be the choice of the youths, and this has bred concerns in the quarters of the other two candidates. Several PR stunts have been done to discredit the credibility of the former Anambra State governor, which includes rumours that he finished with a third class from the university.
A Series of events have bred counter-attacks, and it was recently noted that Tinubu skipped information regarding his primary and secondary education in the INEC form. The presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), is said to have recently told the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) that his academic certificates were stolen by unknown persons while he was on self-exile.
It is said that he claimed to have attended the University of Chicago between 1972 and 1976, where he obtained a B.Sc in Economics.
According to Tinubu “I went on self-exile from October 1994 to October 1998 (and) when I returned and discovered that my property including all the documents relating to my qualification and my certificates in respect of paragraph 3 above were looted by unknown persons.”
While people argue online regarding the truth behind these words, we ought to remember that during a backlash years ago, the former governor withheld his primary and secondary school academic records when he recontested in 2003.
Reports from the Daily Trust had it that he had claimed that from Ibadan, he proceed to Richard Daley College, Chicago, from 1969 to 1971.
“He finally said he attended both Chicago State University and the University of Chicago.
All the submissions were, however, challenged as fraudulent by a prominent Nigerian lawyer, late Gani Fawehinmi.
Fawehinmi, who argued the matter up to the Supreme Court, which dismissed the case on technical grounds.”
I think people are forgetting the angle of Tinubu trying to shield his age from the public. We saw how it was noticed from the age of Olusegun Obasanjo’s daughter, that there’s a possibility we were furnished with the wrong data regarding the age of the former president while he was on the seat.
Tinubu understands that if his actual age is really above the legally acceptable age for contesting, there would be a need to avoid the public having this piece of information. There could be court cases arising against his candidacy as a presidential flagbearer.
Even if he has his certificates, hiding their existence from the public might be advice received from the inner chambers of his campaign organization.
Yes, Abacha actually clamped down on academics, activists, and other technocrats opposed to his regime, and he could use the self-exile point to defend the missing nature of his certificates.
While wondering if Nigeria is moving from the ugly situation created by a president who is said to have no WAEC certificate, to whatever situation we fear regarding an aspirant with another issue of certificates, we should also understand that it’s possible those certificates are in existence.
The main thing could be Bola Tinubu’s real age.
Written by: Edward Amah