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QuickRead: BBC report on Tinubu’s certificate saga. Four other stories we tracked and why they matter



A report by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) fact-checking team last week ruled out forgery of President Bola Tinubu’s academic records submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission for the February 25 election.

The Federal High Court, Abuja, the same week disqualified the former Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, as the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate for the November 11 election in Bayelsa State.

These and three other stories we tracked were among the most discussed national issues in the country last week.

1. BBC report on Tinubu’s certificate saga.

On October 11, the BBC in a report published by its Global Disinformation Team said there was no evidence the president altered the information in the documents he presented to the commission contrary to claims by his Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) rival, Atiku Abubakar.

The report read: “Not every student graduates from university with honours. Mr. Tinubu, as attested to by CSU in several court documents seen by the BBC, did graduate from CSU with honours.

“During Mr. Westberg’s deposition, Mr. Atiku’s lawyer focused on the copy of the diploma President Tinubu handed to the electoral commission and suggested that it was unlike any of the diplomas released by CSU.

“However, while Mr. Westberg agreed with Ms. Liu that the diploma in question does not look like the samples from 1979, he stated that the certificate actually looks like three of the diplomas CSU released to Mr. Abubakar. Our analysis confirms this.”

Why it matters

The British media organization may have hit the nail on the head about the raging controversy trailing the release of the president’s academic documents by the United States-based institution.

However, as the controversy rages over the authenticity of both parties’ claims, the onus lies on the Supreme Court vis-à-vis the judiciary as the ultimate harbinger in the case not to be swayed by public opinions but the dictates of the constitution in delivering a verdict that is acceptable to all contending parties in the matter.

2. Sylva’s disqualification from Bayelsa governorship poll

Justice Donatus Okorowo of the Federal High Court, Abuja, on October 9 disqualified Sylva from next month’s election in Bayelsa.
The judge, who delivered the verdict in a suit filed by a chieftain of the APC in the state, Deme Kolomo, declared that Sylva was not qualified to run in the election because if he wins and is sworn in, he would spend more than eight years in office as governor of the state.

He said: “If we look at the constitution critically, allowing Chief Timipre Sylva to contest the November 11 election in Bayelsa State will be against the constitution of the country which states that no person should be voted for as a governor more than twice.”

Why it matters

The ruling reaffirms the importance of the constitution as the country’s rule book.
It gives a foundational structure for democracy and the political community as a whole, and any attempt to side-step it either for personal or collective gains is an invitation to anarchy.

3. Ex-minister Dalung’s confession on Buhari’s govt
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A former Minister of Sports and Youth Development, Solomon Dalung, on October 9 admitted that former President Muhammadu Buhari’s government did not fulfill the promises made to Nigerians in 2015. Dalung spoke in a programme on Trust Radio.

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He said: “We failed to meet our expectations, and I am not hypocritical because as a major stakeholder who campaigned vigorously in 2015 and went to the nooks and crannies of the north, of all the promises we made, we fulfilled none of them.
“The political covenant we had with Nigerians while campaigning was that we were going to address the security situation; we were going to revamp the economy; and we were going to give corruption a major technical blow so that we could minimize it to the barest minimum.”

Why it matters

The ex-minister may have unconsciously reopened the discussion on the action and inaction of the immediate past administration in the country.

While Dalung may have hit the nail on the head in his assessment of the Buhari government, the statement is a reminder to the Tinubu’s administration of the enormous task ahead in the efforts at correcting the mistakes of the last eight years and getting the country out of the woods.

4. PDP alleges INEC allocated votes to Gov Sule
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The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Nasarawa on October 11 accused the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) of allocating votes to Governor Abdullahi Sule in the March 18 governorship election in the state.

In a statement issued by its Publicity Secretary in the state, Alhaji Ibrahim Hamza, the party challenged INEC to tell the people of Nasarawa how it arrived at the number of votes allocated to the governor.

The statement read: “In his minority judgment, Hon. Justice Ibrahim Mashi ruled that Sule scored only 295,402 votes as against the inflated votes of 347,209 freely given to him by INEC.

“The same minority judgment said Ombugadu scored 291, 603 as against the suppressed votes of 283,016 allocated to him by INEC.”

Why it matters

The PDP’s claim if sustained by higher courts would be a further blemish for INEC which had come under criticism over its handling of the last general election.

The introduction of technology into the country’s electoral process is a signal to corrupt INEC officials and their collaborators, including desperate politicians, that the era of inflated vote counts and other forms of electoral irregularities is gradually giving way to a new period of transparent process where the votes of Nigerians will begin to count in their choice of leaders.

5. Ifeanyi Ubah’s defection to APC

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Ifeanyi Ubah

The Senator representing Anambra South Senatorial District, Ifeanyi Ubah, on October 12 dumped the Young Progressives Party (YPP) for the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Ubah announced his defection via a letter sent to the Senate President, Godswill Akpabio, and read during the plenary in Abuja.

In a chat with journalists the same day, the lawmaker said he joined the APC because of his desire to align the South-East with President Bola Tinubu’s administration.

He said: “Our president is rewarding even those who didn’t vote for him, for that it will be very difficult for any man with a conscience not to look at the direction of the centre party.
“I don’t see anyone who will come against my coming into the APC.”

Why it matters

Ubah’s decision to dump the YPP, a platform where he had secured a seat in the National Assembly for eight years, has again confirmed politics as an interest-driven game with personal gain constantly influencing the decisions of the players in the system.

By Hamed Shobiye

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