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Prof. Hope Eghagha

"It is baffling that a sitting president does not want the details of his credentials revealed to Nigerians, that a disclosure would cause him irreparable damage."

BISHAK: A certificate is nothing! A certificate is nothing! A certificate is nothing!

OBUKS: A certificate is nothing?

BISHAK: Quote me. A certificate is nothing!  

OBUKS: How? What do you mean? We are in the 21st century, my dear friend!

BISHAK: What certificate did Jesus have? What certificate did Mohammed have? What certificate does Ronaldo have? Did the last president have any certificate? Didn’t he govern well? What certificate has Messi? Messi is his own certificate. Football is Messi. Messi is football.

OBUKS: Ibaboooo! I can’t believe what my ear is hearing oooo!

BISHAK: What certificates do those traders in Alaba or Kano markets have? Please, tell me another story!

DEMOLA: Are you for real? We are discussing certificates, and you are referencing Jesus Christ and Prophet Mohammed? Who, what has brought this disaster on us as a people?

DELILAH: A former Minister of the Federal Republic? Now I understand why we are where we are!

DEMOLA: A certificate is something! A certificate is something.

OBUKS: I am baffled that a sitting president does not want the details of his credentials revealed to Nigerians, that a disclosure would cause him irreparable damage! President Jonathan also blocked his PhD documents in University of Port Harcourt from public view. It is not a good sign, not a good sign at all. Sends a wrong message to the youths in the country!

DEMOLA: The youths? They are already lost. Is that not the reasoning behind the ‘school na scam’ slogan? We must trace them and bring them back to the path of truth!  

BAKO: Look here, what is the big deal about two different dates of birth? You see, people from the old generation did not have proper records and relied on oral accounts. Besides, some people keep two different birth dates so that they may remain in paid employment!

BISHAK: What is a certificate? It is an ordinary paper which states that you went through an institution. It does not show competence. Why the sentimental attachment to an ordinary sheet of paper?

OBUKS: Are you saying this? That a certificate is not necessary for employment?

BISHAK; Calm down, young lady, calm down! Is it a university certificate that is driving Microsoft or Facebook. Let us look at practical things fa!

OBUKS: I agree that a certificate is not always an indicator of competence. But here we are dealing with a false claim.  

BISHAK: It is this over reliance on certification that is propelling public officials to concoct results. The list is long. Speaker of House Salisu Buhari who falsified his age and educational qualification, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan who did not submit his PhD credentials for public scrutiny, Senator Ademola Adeleke, Biobarakuma Degi-Eremieyo running mate to David Lyon of Bayelsa State, Kemi Adeosun, Christian Abah whose tenure in the House of Representatives was cut short by the Supreme Court in 2017 over a forged academic certificate to INEC, Bello Masari who was accused of forging his secondary school certificate (the case eventually dismissed by the Supreme Court for lack of evidence), Speaker of House of representatives Dimeji Bankole, though the case was dismissed when he produced an NYSC discharge certificate.

DEMOLA: Our country is a country riddled with contradictions. Former President Muhammadu Buhari hired 13 Senior Advocates of Nigeria to defend him after Nnamdi Nkwocha-Ahaaiwe argued that Buhari did not sit for the Cambridge West African School Certificate (WASC) in 1961 and so was not qualified to contest for president! A transparent leader would produce the certificate. But our national sheriff, the man who staked his reputation (non-existent as far as I am concerned) hid behind technicalities to block a verification of his certificate.

OBUKS: Do you mean Buhari did not, does not have WASC? How did he enter a military academy? 

BAKO: His certificate went missing, we are told; a guard dog in Army Headquarters ate the certificate when there was no food!

DELILAH: Hahahahahaha! I laugh in Fulfulde language!

OBUKS: Let us return to the current issue. The rumour mill, galvanized by social media, has been awash with all kinds of allegations against then candidate Senator Bola Tinubu. The core of the allegations was that Bola Tinubu migrated to the US with a female visa. Now that the papers have been released, there is a discrepancy in the two documents. When was our president born? 1952 or 1954? We need to know.

BAKO: Let us not waste time on frivolities. We know Bola Tinubu as president. We had known him as a senator, as a governor for decades. So, his identity is not in doubt. He successfully governed Lagos State. He was a successful senator. He was one of the arrowheads of NADECO that brought down the Abacha junta. Tinubu has political sagacity, and this has clinched him the presidency. He has built a network of friends across the country and should be allowed to govern in peace. We need a stable polity. Enough is enough, please!

OBUKS: We do not doubt the person of Bola Tinubu. We are asking: is the Bola Tinubu we know the Bola Tinubu who graduated from CSU?

DEMOLA: Is the Bola Tinubu who studied in CSU a man or a woman? Who is Sangodele?

BAKO: The admission letter shows that the Bola Tinubu who studied in CSU was a man! Period.

DELILAH: Remember though that gender switch or change is allowed in America!

OBUKS: If I were president, I would address the nation, display my certificates, and put to rest all the allegations and innuendos that have beleaguered me. I would post photographs of my classmates from the period. I would stand on the moral high ground and assure the youths that I attended CSU and graduated and that they should not listen to interlopers and haters. I would tell the nation that I did not peddle drugs and move on.

BISHAK: But you are not the President (Laughter). Don’t daydream! Presidents don’t rush to address the nation on every frivolous allegation against them. What time would they have to govern? Talking seriously, the matter is before the Supreme Court. We shall soon know if the struggle in the courts in America was worth the trouble.  

BAKO: Too late! Too late!! On technical grounds, the matter will be thrown out. Gender identity is not one of the issues that was raised in the tribunal.

OBUKS: What if a case of perjury is established?

BISHAK: Do you think there is a court in Nigeria that can remove a sitting president who has been in office since May 29th? Remember the chaos that followed the removal of Chief Ernest Shonekan?

DEMOLA: I’m worried about the image of the country. We should be discussing policies, not academic qualification.

BISHAK: Don’t lose sleep. Even America the powerful has its own share of certificates wahala. Donald Trump hounded Barack Obama about his birth certificate. It is now clear that the diplomas awarded by Trump University are worthless.       

BAKO: Senator, now President Tinubu is my man. Let us not join rabblerousers to distract him from the excellent job which he is doing!

DEMOLA: Alhaji Atiku is my man. Let us support him to ensure that truth is established in the Nigerian polity.

DELILAH: What is truth?

BAKO: The truth is that the deposition by the Registrar of Chiago State University has laid the controversy about this unnecessary drama to rest: Bola Ahmed Tinubu, now President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, did attend Chicago State University. No forgery. No fraud.

DEMOLA: What about the inconsistencies in schools, and date of birth?

OBUKS: Leave that to the Supreme Court!  

(End of discussion)

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