Former Vice President and roundly defeated presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, was a pitiful sight to behold on Thursday at the Shehu Yar ‘Adua Centre, Abuja as he sat like a wreck after addressing what he called a world press conference. He had gone on a wild goose chase to the United States in search of President Bola Tinubu’s certificate.
The former vice president however returned empty-handed after spending a fortune. Atiku himself admitted his exploratory journey was at a hefty cost.
At the press conference, the Waziri Adamawa discovered no new thing; he found nothing incriminating or untoward against the President. He is only currently engaging in political sophistry. Apparently deluding himself that he came back from the US with a smoking gun, at his press briefing, he sermonised on the important issue of leadership and responsibility. Alhaji Atiku assaulted the memory of the late irrepressible lawyer and human rights activist, Chief Gani Fawehinmi, SAN, claiming Fawehinmi inspired his shameful, worthless and self-seeking expedition.
Commending David Hundeyin, the rabble rouser who styles himself as an independent journalist, whose work he also said inspired him, it became apparent that both Atiku and Hundeyin were actually working together to embarrass President Tinubu.
Overwhelmed by his inordinate ambition, the failed PDP presidential candidate also shamelessly called traditional, religious, community and political leaders in the country including Labour Party’s Peter Obi and NNPP’s Senator Rabiu Musa Kwakwanso to rally round him in his political vendetta against President Tinubu.“This quest is not for or about Atiku Abubakar. It is a quest for the enthronement of truth, morality and accountability in our public affairs,” he said. And you wonder, what morality Alhaji Atiku was preaching. This is the same man who was indicted in the 2009 conviction of his accomplice, former United States Congressman William Jefferson, over bribery charges. Same man whose principal, former President Obasanjo, wrote a damaging testimonial on and whose years in Customs were signposted by corruption allegations.
If you have not read it, this is what former President Obasanjo said about Wazirin Atiku in Volume 2 Pages 31-32 of his book “My Watch”: “What I did not know, which came out glaringly later, was his parental background which was somewhat shadowy, his propensity to corruption, his tendency to disloyalty, his inability to say and stick to the truth all the time,a propensity for poor judgment, his belief and reliance on marabouts , his lack of transparency, his trust in money to buy his way out on all issues and his readiness to sacrifice morality, integrity, propriety truth and national interest for self and selfish interest.”
It is pertinent at this juncture to clarify some of the issues that emerged from the deposition by President Tinubu’s former school, Chicago State University, in order to understand Atiku’s deliberate and malicious distortion.
Speaking on oath in the testimonies contained in a deposition made in the Office of Angela Liu, Atiku’s legal counsel, in Chicago, US, CSU Registrar, Caleb Westberg declared that President Bola Tinubu attended and graduated with honours from the institution in 1979. He in fact asserted that President Tinubu is the same person who attended the school from 1977 to 1979. “We believe Bola Tinubu who attended CSU is the same person who is the President of Nigeria today. Tinubu is an unusual name in the US. He matched the records in the file against the information provided by the student or on behalf of the student.”
On the insinuation by Atiku’s lawyers that the Bola Tinubu who attended the school was a female on account of a clerical error spotted against Tinubu’s name, Westberg disclosed that the admission letter issued to the Nigerian President evidently proved he was a male and attended the school between 1977 and 1979.
Probed further to confirm if the Tinubu that enrolled at the school was a male or female, the registrar insisted, “Tinubu applied to the university as a male and a letter of admission was issued to a male.
“There were materials in Mr. Tinubu’s records that show he was a male in the application to CSU. Mr. Tinubu identified himself as a male. His letter of admission identified him as a male. It says: ‘Dear Mr. Tinubu’”, he said.
It is relevant to point out that in the US, premium is not placed on certificates, otherwise called diplomas, as we do here. Certificates are merely ceremonial. The emphasis is on transcripts. Employers and schools offering admissions for higher education will only ask for previous transcripts.
In most cases, the certificates are also printed by third party vendors. Many certificates are left uncollected because what is important is the transcript. The CSU has diplomas that students didn’t pick up in its possession.
“I have the diploma that was made available to Mr. Enahoro-Ebah in our possession because Mr. Tinubu did not pick it up. I do not have the diploma that was submitted to INEC in our possession because he had picked it, ” Westberg clarified while responding to another question.
Other matters also came up during the over five-hour interrogation session that I do not want to bore you with in this piece. However, it is surprising that Atiku and co would claim President Tinubu forged his certificate simply because the CSU Registrar said it could not authenticate the certificate presented to him by Atiku’s lawyer as the document Tinubu presented to INEC for the 2023 Presidential Election. He said he cannot confirm because only Tinubu has the certificate which he ordered and which had been picked up for him and that the school does not keep students’certificates. Nowhere in the interrogation did Westberg use the word fake or forged as Atiku’s lawyer tried to make him say so. Fact is there is no scintilla of doubt that President Tinubu attended and graduated from CSU. As my colleague, Temitope Ajayi, pointed out in his widely-publicised tweet, “You can only forge a certificate you never earned.” President Tinubu honourably earned his degree and he had no reason to forge the certificate of a degree he had in his kitty. He graduated Summa Cum Laude, with distinction. He was on the Vice Chancellor’s Honour List for all his years in the school. Insinuation by anyone that he forged a certificate he worked for is sad and misleading.
Indeed, attempts by some to liken the situation with those of the disgraced former House of Representatives Speaker, Salisu Buhari and former Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun are disingenuous.
Former Speaker Buhari forged the certificate of Toronto University he never attended. He was removed from office for the forgery. Former President Obasanjo later pardoned him. As for former Minister Adeosun, those who brought her to limelight and sponsored her for the ministerial appointment arranged a fake NYSC exemption certificate for her to scale Senate screening. The same people did her in when disagreements broke out between them, giving her away as a certificate forger over which she eventually resigned. The cases are markedly different: President Tinubu earned his stripes.
In the final analysis, it is yet unclear how Atiku plans to benefit from whatever he claims to have brought back from the US. Certificate forgery was not pleaded in his election petition now at the Supreme Court. Without being a lawyer, this is a civil case and I understand you can’t make new pleas or present new evidence in a case that has passed the court of first instance and is at present on appeal at the Supreme Court.
What the Waziri Adamawa has demonstrated in all of his Shenanigans is that he is a sore loser. Will he gain what he failed to get at the ballot through his present indecent and unpatriotic overseas search and unfounded and hollow discovery, making a mountain where there is even no molehill, uneccesarily heating up the polity and denigrating the Justices of the Supreme Court? I don’t think so!
-Rahman, former Editor of Thisday on Sunday Newspaper, is a Presidential Aide.
Order CBN to honour Letters of Credit– SINET to Tinubu, NASS
Amidst several hardships facing the Nigerian populace, the Social Integrity Network, (SINET) has urged President Ahmed Bola Tinubu and the leadership of national assembly to compel the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Mr. Olayemi Cardoso, to order and reconsider honouring the forward contracts that are genuinely backed up with proper compliant documents for utilisation against each Letters of Credit (LCs) opened by the commercial banks using the forwards as a hedge.
The group also urged the Federal Government to make further clarification concerning a statement credited to the CBN Governor on issues regarding the alleged and well-publicized revelations of a $2.4 billion forex trading fraud.
SINET recalled that “On February 5, 2024, the governor of CBN made this declaration in both his interactions with Senate committees and his interview on a national television, following the engagement of Deloitte Management Consultant to conduct a forensic investigation where he claimed that the said amount was uncovered.
A statement issued on Monday by SINET national coordinator, Ibrahim Issah, disclosed that “On the contrary, we wish to unequivocally state that these claims lack merit and do not take into account the consequences they will have on businesses, public perception, or the economy of our cherished nation and its implication on forex both at home and abroad.”
According to him, “Without sentiment, the claim is completely falsehood and unacceptable as he, the CBN governor, failed to consider its economic implications. It is pertinent to state that genuine businessmen and women across the country, borrowed Funds from commercial banks, some with interest rates as high as 30% to secure forex from the CBN through their respective commercial banks since CBN does not sell the dollars to individuals directly.
“The same funds have been deposited with CBN for the past one and half years for forwards allocated for which the Apex Bank is now claiming were fraudulent transactions. May we remind Mr. Governor that while the CBN allocated the forwards after collecting the naira for each forward allocated, the commercial banks used these same forward contracts as a hedge and issued Letters of Credit (LCs) to their various customers against their offshore credit lines and also as a sovereign guarantee to their offshore banks which stand unpaid till today as a result of the failure of CBN to honour the various forward contracts.
“May we also remind our CBN Governor that as a result of their failure to honour these contracts, the outstanding foreign loans continue to accrue interest (post-negotiation charges), which the commercial Banks are passing to their customers: the same customers you say do not have a genuine claim.”
The statement further stressed that, “The public would like to ask Mr. Governor the following questions: What will happen to the foreign bank that is expecting their payment to be paid back? What will happen to the businessmen and women who had borrowed Naira from commercial Banks and paid the same into the CBN account for the purchase of forex for over eighteen months? Who will bear the interest charged on borrowed funds locally? Who will bear the charges running against the offshore lines used in establishing Letters of Credit? What will happen to the businesses? What will happen to the employees that are dependent on the survival of the businesses that CBN is trying to kill?
“We call upon the senate president and, in fact, the president and Commander In-Chief of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to call the CBN governor to order and reconsider honouring the forward contracts that are genuinely backed up with proper compliant documents for utilisation against each Letters of Credit (LCs) opened by the commercial banks using the forwards as a hedge.
“Let us state categorically that the CBN is killing businesses by cancelling the forward contracts that were sold to them about 18 months ago at the rate of N450/dollar and now selling the same funds to the commercial banks and directing the bank to sell the money at the rate of 1,500/dollar to the same businesses who initially had a forward contract at the rate of N450/dollar.
“May we also remind Mr. Governor, that failure to honour these forward contracts is taking commercial banks longer time to clean the offshore lines already used for establishing Letters of Credit against which shipments have been done and payment made to LC beneficiaries by the offshore banks. The delays of the commercial banks to settle their Forex obligations to their offshore banks is making our country risk to be very high.
“Lastly, the public will like to call on the coordinating minister for the economy, Mr. Wale Edun to engage the CBN regarding this issue of undelivered forward contracts because at present in Nigeria, almost 60% of companies in the manufacturing sector have been closed due to the volatility of Forex in Nigeria in order to avoid the other 40% from also closing down.
“This will go a long way to help the few remaining manufacturing companies still in operation in Nigeria and also encourage the new investors that the president and commander in-chief of the federal republic is trying woo to bring their investments to Nigeria.”
APC To Yahaya Bello: Stop Confusing The Party, No Vacancy For National Chairman
The leadership of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) has told the immediate-past governor of Kogi state, Yahaya Bello that there is no vacancy in the office of the national chairman of the party.
The national publicity secretary of the party, Felix Morka warned the former Kogi governor to stop confusing the party, saying the position of the national chairman is currently occupied.
Morka handed down the warning while addressing newsmen at the national secretariat of the party.
The posters of the former governor were seen on major streets in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), especially around the federal secretariat and on walls and fences of structures around the APC national secretariat along Blantyre Street, Wuse 2, Abuja.
The bold picture of the former Kogi state governor is adorned with the inscription, “APC Next Level. Alhaji Yahaya Bello as APC National Chairman. Leading the Change, Building a Stronger APC.”