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List of Top politicians in the web of alleged certificate scandal in Nigeria

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Top politicians in the web of alleged certificate scandal
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Since 1999, when Nigeria returned to democracy, controversies over certificate scandal i.e forged (or missing) certificates have been a recurring feature of the country’s political scene.

Several prominent politicians in both elective and appointive positions have been caught in the whirlwind of forgeries. However, not all allegations resulted in confirmed instances of certificate forgery. Consequently, the court dismissed some cases for lack of evidence. A few others were justly convicted of this deception.

With the current administration ending in less than a week and a new administration poised to take office, there is a strong likelihood that fake certificates will cause drama and distraction in the coming weeks and months.

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Here is a collection of high-profile cases of Nigerian politicians caught, rightly or wrongly, in the never-ending saga of certificate forgery compiled by Ejes Gist News Nigeria.

Salisu Buhari

From 1999 to 2000, Salisu Buhari was the Speaker of the House of Representatives in Nigeria.

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In 1999, he became the face of certificate scandals in Nigeria when, shortly after his election, he admitted to having fabricated his age and academic credentials.

He claimed to have a bachelor’s degree from the University of Toronto, but he only earned a diploma there.

Following the controversy, Buhari resigned his position as Speaker.

Faking credentials to gain admission to Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, he was also expelled from that institution. Therefore, he was unable to participate in the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC).

Salisu would later confess publicly to the allegations of forgery and ask Nigerians for forgiveness and another chance to serve the country.

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President Muhammadu Buhari

After his 2015 nomination as the APC’s presidential candidate, President Muhammadu Buhari became the subject of a certificate controversy.

The then-ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) raised an issue regarding the lack of Buhari’s secondary school certificate.

The controversy did not prevent Buhari from winning the election for president.

In 2018, when Buhari was seeking reelection and did not include his academic credentials in the documents he submitted to INEC for the 2019 presidential election, the issue resurfaced in the public eye.

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As a result of Buhari’s inability to produce his West African Secondary School Certificate, some Nigerians have accused him of lacking a secondary education.

Only when the West African Examination Council, WAEC, issued a “attestation certificate” to the president, confirming that Buhari had obtained a secondary school certificate from the examination body in 1961, did the controversy subside.

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Senator Bola Tinubu

Bola Ahmed Tinubu was in the news for failing to submit his academic credentials to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) prior to the 2023 presidential election.

On the INEC form, Tinubu omitted information about his primary and secondary education, but he did indicate that he attended Chicago State University.

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Tinubu stated in an affidavit supporting his presidential nomination form that his properties and certificates were destroyed and stolen while he was in self-exile from October 1994 to October 1998.

Despite the controversy, Tinubu won the presidential election of 2023.

More on Certificate Scandal

Goodluck Jonathan

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Former President Obasanjo initially accused former President Jonathan of forging his PhD certificate. Jonathan allegedly earned a BSc in Zoology with second-class honours, an MSc in Hydrobiology and Fisheries Biology, and a PhD in Zoology from the University of Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

Obasanjo’s accusation caused an uproar and shook the then-ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) leadership.

UNIPORT, however, dismissed the allegation as having “neither legs nor grounds to stand on.”

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Later, the university refused to comply with a Freedom of Information (FoI) Act request for Jonathan’s academic records by a civil society organisation, the Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law.

Senator Ademola Adeleke

Osun State’s current governor is Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) senator Ademola Adeleke. In office, he succeeded Gboyega Oyetola.

Adeleke was accused and charged before the Osogbo High Court for allegedly falsifying his West African Senior School Certificate Examination results and secondary school testimonial by two members of his party, Rasheed Olabayo and Oluwaseun Idowu.

The plaintiffs sought Adeleke’s disqualification from the governorship election on September 22, 2019, on the grounds that he allegedly submitted forgeries to obtain the PDP nomination.

However, Osogbo High Court Justice David Oladimeji cleared Adeleke to run in the election.

Awoosayan Olalekan, Ojejade Thomas, and Awodire Sina filed a new lawsuit with the Federal High Court in Osogbo against Adeleke, the PDP, and INEC.

Subsequently, the Court of Appeal exonerated Adeleke, concluding that Senator Ademola Adeleke possessed the necessary educational qualifications to run for election.

Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo

Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo was the running mate of David Lyon, who won the November 2019 election for governor of Bayelsa State.

However, the Supreme Court removed Lyon as governor of Bayelsa State less than twenty-four hours before his inauguration.

A panel of justices led by Mary Odili requested INEC to revoke the certificate of return issued to Lyon and issue a new one to the candidate who received the second-highest number of votes.

Following the affirmation of a Federal High Court ruling disqualifying Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo, Lyon’s running mate, for submitting forged credentials to INEC, the Supreme Court issued its ruling.

The court ruled that Degi-Eremienyo’s actions affected Lyon because both candidates ran on the same ticket.

Kemi Adeosun

Former Minister of Finance Adeosun was forced to resign after allegations that she had forged her NYSC exemption certificate.

In her resignation letter, Adeosun claimed she was unaware.

A Federal High Court in Abuja exonerated her of any wrongdoing in the NYSC certificate charges in July 2022.

Christian Abah

In March 2017, the Supreme Court terminated Christian Abah’s term as member of the House of Representatives representing the Ado/Okpokwu/Ogbadigbo Federal Constituency in Benue State.

The court’s action was in response to a 2016 ruling by a federal high court in Abuja that he submitted a forged academic qualification certificate to INEC.

The Supreme Court affirmed that Abah had forged the OND certificate purportedly issued in 1985 by the Federal Polytechnic in Mubi, Adamawa State.

The court therefore ordered INEC to issue a new certificate of return to Hassan Saleh, who finished second to Abah in the 2014 PDP primary.

James Ibori

From 1999 to 2007, James Ibori served as the governor of Delta State. In 2007, it was alleged that he had forged his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Economics and Business Administration from the University of Benin. This accusation was investigated. Ibori was convicted of corruption in the United Kingdom in 2012, although allegations of certificate forgery were not the primary basis for his conviction.

Bello Masari

Katsina State’s current governor is Bello Masari. During the 2015 gubernatorial election, he was accused of forging his secondary school certificate. The Supreme Court ultimately dismissed the case for lack of evidence.

Dimeji Bankole

From 2007 to 2011, Dimeji Bankole was the Speaker of the House of Representatives in Nigeria. In 2010, he was accused of not completing his National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) service and was subsequently rumoured to have submitted forged discharge documents.

He submitted his NYSC certificate, putting an end to the rumour.

Most Recent on the Certificate Scandal issue is Peter Mbah

Peter Mbah, the incoming governor of Enugu State, may not be experiencing the best of times, despite the fact that his inauguration is only a few days away.

He has been involved in alleged certificate scandal brawl with NYSC.

The allegation that Mbah’s NYSC discharge certificate was forged has exploded into a national controversy.

In response to an inquiry from a non-governmental organisation, the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) issued a letter in February 2023 stating that it did not issue the certificate submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

A second letter renouncing the certificate was issued in April 2023 in response to a second inquiry by Silver & Co. Associates of Aba.

In an Arise TV interview, the Director General of the NYSC also stated that Mbah’s certificate was not issued by the organisation.

Mbah has filed a N20 billion lawsuit against the NYSC, claiming that the controversy surrounding his discharge certificate harmed his reputation.

The incoming governor and his party, the PDP, insist that the NYSC was lying.

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