Nigeria is a big collection of human species that place abundant efforts on fallacy and fancy but little confidence on facts even when reality dictates otherwise. Ours is a country where people relish the ‘bring him down syndrome’ even when their actions would eventually amount to selfish self-denial.
The noise and brouhaha about the qualification of the presidential Flagbearer of the All-Progressive Party, Senator Ahmed Bola Tinubu has pre-occupied the minds of the people as if it is the main issue thereby jettisoning the importance of basic necessities of life in the election manifesto. Nobody cares about the fact that Tinubu worked for Arthur Andersen, an American Holding Company based in Chicago which was simply one of the world’s largest multinational corporations. He also worked for Deloitte which is a leading world provider of audit, financial and Risk advisory services amongst others.
Bola Ahmed Tinubu worked and became an executive of the Mobil Oil Nigeria. None of these organizations have ever come to the public to deny their association with Jagaban and it is obvious that with the credibility and the human resources selective tendencies of the mentioned institutions, they cannot work with the second best and the mediocre of the labor force.
Is it not possible that the quiet and the taciturn disposition of these organizations to the certificate saga is due to scorn and disgust for our dogmatic and self-destructive tendencies? At times like this, the focus of our attention should have been on more important issue that bother on our well -being and those of the generation of Nigerians yet unborn rather than the mundane issue of a certificate scandal that has failed a court test twice. Ordinarily, we should be content with the fact that for a man to rise to the executive position in Mobil Oil an organization that is known for quality of manpower is no mean a feat and that itself should speak volume about the qualification of that employee.
A couple of years ago, my daughter secured admission into the Master of Public Health programme at the Chicago State University after completing her degree programme in Nigeria. In one of my visits to the school, I had the opportunity to compare notes with the Dean of the College of Business, having myself been in a similar position in Nigeria. In one of the lengthy discussions, the Dean remembered some notable alumni who are Nigerians and Bola Tinubu’s name was one name he mentioned. I find it awfully naïve and ridiculous to join others in pressing an issue which have been thoroughly trashed and dismissed by courts of competent jurisdiction in the past.
The certificate case against Bola Tinubu was an issue between 1999 and 2002 when the Appelant, late Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr. Gani Fawehinmi approached the Federal High Court seeking for an order of Mandamus to compel the Inspector General of Police to investigate criminal allegations which he made against Governor Bola Ahmad Tinubu of Lagos State. This case was dismissed on 14th December 1999 by Justice Egbo Egbo. Not satisfied with the outcome, Gani Fawehinmi proceeded to the Supreme Court. This appeal was equally dismissed by a panel of seven Justices of the Supreme Court led by Justice Samson Odemwingie Uwaifo on Friday, 10th May 2002. In his lead judgement which was fully corroborated by the other six judges on the bench, it was resolved that Gani Fawehinmi does not have the locus standi to compel the Inspector General of Police to investigate Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu thereby upholding the judgement of the Court of Appeal.
In a letter dated November 1, 2012, One Dr. Dominic Adegbola urged the Inspector General of Police at that time, Mohammed Abubakar to revisit the suit on the certificate forgery allegation. His Lordship Justice Saliu Saidu while dismissing the case ruled that “This matter is grossly out of time and prayer sought cannot be granted”. In a democracy, everybody will have his say but this does not preclude the responsibility of all and sundry to the society where they live. Therefore, the men and women who are parading the corridors of the social media with unverifiable gossips and rumour need to understand that freedom should be accompanied by responsibility.
Not attending Secondary School and possessing degree certificate may look strange to the present generation of Nigerians but it was not an uncommon occurrence during our time. There are people who neither had the opportunity of Primary nor Secondary education but performed exceptionally and brilliantly well in the university. This was courtesy the Rapid Results College that prepared very ambitious students for their External London Cambridge Examination at both the ordinary and advance levels. A sizeable number of top managers of that time never attended schools at they did most of their studies at home. Many of them after passing the London Cambridge Examinat1ion proceed to register for professional examination such as ACCA, to become chattered Accountants, ACIS to become Chartered Secretaries and many professional qualifications in engineering including the Royal Society of Engineers. There were extramural classes held by universities to support such external students.
Aare Afe Babalola who established one of the best universities in Nigeria today and a Senior Advocate of Nigeria attended Emmanuel Primary School, Ado Ekiti. Thereafter, he never had the opportunity of going back to the walls of a school as he obtained all his other certificates including the one that made him one of the greatest legal icons of Africa through private studies. He never attended a secondary school and yet, he was at various times, a secondary school teacher, Vice-Principal, University Lecturer and educationist.
The noise attending the news that Senator Bola Tinubu did not go to secondary school is unnecessary and a waste of precious time. The focus now should be to probe the manifesto of the candidates and seriously interrogate them on what they would do for the masses when they finally mount the rostrum.
Prof. Ojikutu is of the University of Lagos, Faculty of Management Sciences.