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General News of Thursday, 12 October 2023


APC, Obi at war over Tinubu

President Bola Ahmed Tinubu President Bola Ahmed Tinubu

The presidential candidate of Labour Party in the February 25, 2023 election, Mr. Peter Obi, and the All Progressives Congress, APC, were yesterday locked in a verbal war over alleged identity controversy of President Bola Tinubu.

Obi had asked President Tinubu to save Nigeria and Nigerians further embarrassment by clearing the air on his identity, but the APC insisted the President had no identity crisis.

This came as the British Broadcasting Corporation, BBC, said there was no evidence to show that Tinubu submitted forged certificate to the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.

However, Atiku in a swift response, described the BBC report as a jaundiced and hatchet job.

Speaking at a briefing in Abuja, yesterday, Obi noted that he, like many other Nigerians, had to answer embarrassing questions about the genuineness of the President’s academic credentials, especially his Chicago State University, CSU, certificate.

According to him, it is no longer acceptable for the President to hide behind a battery of lawyers and hordes of professional image launderers and journalists to mask his true identity because he is no longer a private citizen.

To end the controversies surrounding his identity, the former Anambra State governor, reeled out his given name, his baptismal name, primary, secondary schools and universities attended, and urged President Tinubu to personally address Nigerians and answer 14 probing questions.

Obi asked Tinubu to re-introduce himself, state his name, nationality, place of birth, parentage, primary and secondary schools attended with dates, universities he attended and certificates obtained, where and when he did his NYSC, and disclose if he had a change of name at any time and the circumstances.

Nigerians deserve the truth about president’s true identity — Obi
Obi said: “Having followed the prolonged identity crisis that recently played out in the American court system and the controversy surrounding the authenticity of the Chicago State University credentials of Chief Bola Ahmed Tinubu, I must confess that I am distressed as a Nigerian.

“In addition to the barrage of media frenzy that the matter has triggered at home and abroad, I have had the unwholesome burden of responding to embarrassing questions about Nigeria’s overall credibility as a nation to privileged audiences and individuals both at home and abroad in different parts of the world where I have travelled lately.

“To outsiders, the entire Chicago State University matter as well as Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s many other lingering identity question marks have further worsened Nigeria’s less-than-glorious image internationally.

“Uninformed outsiders now see every other Nigerian as a potential fraudster, certificate forger, or identity thief. The controversy is unnecessary just as the implicit global embarrassment could have been avoided.

Saving Tinubu, Nigeria from undue embarrassment

“In my opinion, Chief Bola Tinubu should have saved the nation and himself from this protracted embarrassment and undue anxiety.

“Even this late in the day, however, Chief Bola Tinubu still owes the nation and the world a simple debt of obligation that only he can discharge. I call on him to immediately and personally mount the rostrum of his present high office to perform a simple task once and for all time.

“He should re-introduce himself to the nation he governs and to the world for the avoidance of further doubt.

“He should let the world know his name, nationality his place of birth, his parentage, the primary and secondary schools he attended with dates as well as the actual universities he attended and certificates obtained.

“He should indicate clearly where and when he did his National Youth Service. In addition, if at any time he has had a change of name, he should clearly state so and the circumstances.

“That, in itself, is no crime. This simple task should take no more than a few minutes. It requires no affidavits, prolonged court processes, spokespersons, agents, or surrogates.

“This task is one that only Chief Bola Tinubu himself through a direct personal statement can perform. He must perform this task urgently in order to lay to rest, once and for the last time, the many lingering doubts and valid speculations about his true identity.

“A leader cannot outsource a clear, unambiguous personal statement about his identity to political surrogates, social spokespersons, lawyers, or any other persons no matter how highly placed.

“A matter of the personal identity of a leader is too sensitive and central to the functions of the office he currently occupies to be trifled with, outsourced, or disguised under the cloak of officialdom.

“It is also about integrity, morality, values, and the rule of law that denies the character of the Nation and its people. In his present capacity as a leader of a nation of over 200 million Nigerians, his true identity is a matter of grave national and international interest.

“The people deserve to know for a certainty the true identity of their leader and this overrides whatever rights he may have to personal privacy. In addition, the international community deserves to know the true identity of the person with whom they will engage in Nigeria."

Asked if he was favourably disposed to former Vice President Atiku Abubakar’s call to join the fight to unravel the controversy behind Tinubu’s true identity, Obi said on matters of national interest, he is open to protecting the nation, adding that the issue had gone beyond politics or political considerations.

On why he didn’t query Tinubu’s credentials when INEC displayed same for scrutiny prior to the elections, he said “it is never too late to do the right thing.”

He recalled that the famous sprinter, Ben Johnson, won an Olympic gold before he was busted for doping, and punished.