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Tinubu: How Atiku defrauded the World, Nigerians – By Ismail Omipidan

Atiku Abubakar

He called it a World Press Conference. But it turned out to be an avenue to further defraud the world and especially Nigerians over his desperate attempt to secure Nigeria’s presidency at all cost.

I have read series of commentaries and interventions over the release of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s academic records by the Chicago State University (CSU). But I deliberately waited for that of Professor Farooq Kperogi, my first news editor and one of my very few practical journalism teachers for two reasons: one, I have known him over the years to be a chronicler of the truth. He is brutally frank. You may disagree with him but you cannot fault his altruism and love for Nigeria. Two, he lives in the US. He understands the nuances, culture and traditions better than most of the intellectually disabled commentators who have suddenly become experts on the subject matter under discourse.

When I, therefore, read his latest piece, titled “Ignorance of America that Atiku’s lawyers and supporters betray,” I decided to add my voice to the advocacy by christening my own piece “Tinubu: How Atiku defrauded the World, Nigerians.”

I arrived at this conclusion after reading Prof. Kperogi’s piece. For the purpose of clarity, I will be dwelling on two of the issues dissected by the erudite scholar in his piece. I do this because as a communication expert, I abhor disinformation especially because there is just a thin line between disinformation and fake news. Therefore, to embark on disinformation just to to influence public opinion amounts to fraud. For me, this is what former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and his handlers attempted to do with their World Press Conference.

Issue One: Atiku said CSU claimed that the certificate President Tinubu presented to INEC is fake. This is false. The school never said anything of such. And to infer that because the CSU said the certificate with INEC was not issued by it, then, it is fake, amounts to disinformation. For better understanding, see what Prof. Kperogi said about it:

“Certificates are not used as legal proof of graduation from any school in America and therefore can’t be forged in the legal sense of the term. Only transcripts can be used as legal documents to validate the genuineness of claims to have attended institutions, including secondary schools. Had Tinubu presented a counterfeit transcript to support his claim of graduating from CSU when he didn’t, or merely to claim a higher GPA than he actually earned even when he graduated from there, that would have been forgery in the legal sense of the term….”

Issue Two: Atiku claim that as at the time President Tinubu applied to study at CSU he was a Black American, thereby suggesting that he had a dual citizenship. Again, according to Prof. Kperogi, the claim is not only ‘hilarious’ but one borne out of sheer ‘ignorance’.

He noted that “most Africans here (US) typically choose Black American as the closest description of their race,” when filling out their forms. Therefore, again, there was nothing like dual citizenship on the part of Mr. President.

Finally, the battle to further determine the authentic winner of the February 2023 presidential election has shifted to the Supreme Court.

Unfortunately, some of the litigants and their media handlers have tried hard to disparage the judiciary, using unprintable words to describe respected members of the bench, apparently to blackmail and intimidate them. They have forgotten that at the Supreme Court, no new pleas are made. No new facts are introduced. Besides, law and justice is devoid of emotions and sentiments. It is what it is. It is about facts and logic.

At the Supreme Court, the parties are bound by their pleadings at the Tribunal (Appeal Court), while the learned justices do a holistic review of the judgement vis-a-vis the position of the law and make their own pronouncement. They will either uphold or set aside the decision of the Tribunal.

Omipidan, a journalist and public affairs analyst, wrote from Abuja.


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