“In the beginning, some people try to appear that everything about them is “in black and white,” until later their true colours come out.” ― Anthony Liccione
A striking fact about telling the truth and lying is that one is not difficult to do; the other needs rehearsals and dramatics. At the resumption of civil rule in 1999, two public officeholders had issues with their qualifications. One was Bola Ahmed Tinubu the Governor of Lagos State, and the other was a Kano-born charismatic Speaker of the House of Representatives, Salisu Buhari.
While the problem consumed Buhari who lost his position and was jailed, Tinubu survived because all efforts by the late activist and lawyer, Gani Fawehmni, to remove him from office and prosecute him were frustrated by the immunity clause in the Nigerian Constitution.
Before Buhari finally bit the dust, he had told all manner of lies, spinning fictitious stories to extricate himself. The dots refused to connect. He finally surrendered.
Even though Tinubu had more obvious contradictions in his tales, the Constitution helped out and in a makeshift excuse, he blamed it all on mix-up bio-data submitted to INEC by an aide, Tokunbo Afikuyomi.
Since then, he remained in Lagos as the godfather, controlling who gets what and when in the political space. Long story short, Lagos politics has been in his pocket.
Godfathers and kingmakers seldom make it to the throne, but Tinubu never hid his lust to wear the crown. Having prepared so well for his kingship he took advantage of the corruption in the system and pushed his way through to the top, declaring it his turn.
But folk tales remind us that stealing the village drum may be easy; the problem though is where to beat the drum. If you take it to your mother’s ancestral home, they will want to know how you got it.
Tinubu successfully cleared the way to the top with all the grandstanding but has been unable to earn the goodwill and legitimacy necessary to turn things around. The problem has refused to leave.
Being on top entails that all eyes must be on you, some looking at the clothes you wear, some the steps you take, some the way you talk, and others may want to know the colours of your underwear. More inquisitive people would even want to know what made you think and how you managed to reach the top.
Tinubu has found himself at this juncture where he has no corresponding answers to most questions being thrown at him concerning his age, origin, schools attended, parentage, classmates, and suchlike questions.
In the process of supplying answers to these pertinent questions, some untruths were manufactured, and serial lies were told that helped to get to this point but as it appears, the lies were exhausted with no further answers to interrogatories.
Has anybody bordered to find out why it is easy for lies to be on stairs in Nigeria? It is because another lie is always needed to defend it. With politicians who are already addicted to untruthfulness and disassembling of facts, the stairs of lies are always long, often as a requirement to reach the truth. This is exactly the picture Nigerians are seeing surrounding the bio-data folder of President Tinubu.
The thing about Nigeria is that nothing gets better. When you hear that something is the worst ever, sooner or later, you will see far worse, rubbishing old records.
When Dr. Goodluck Jonathan was the President, he thought he was the most abused head of state in Nigeria’s history. Everyone believed him, but it didn’t take long before that record was crushed by Muhammadu Buhari whose abuse was such that some even wished him dead.
Under Jonathan and his People’s Democratic Party, PDP, corruption was declared a utility partner and everybody thought that it couldn’t be worse. In fact, with the undisputed record of Buhari, many thought that corruption would be orphaned under him. Instead, it became polygamous. The terrible corruption record left by Buhari is awaiting to be upturned by the Bola Tinubu regime which appears to have far better credentials than any previous government in Nigeria’s political history.
If a Nigerian President, who once declared himself as A student, is spending fortunes to prevent his alma mater from releasing his results and certificate, then something must be fundamentally wrong. Nigeria has passed this bridge before and was able to cross it. But crossing it this time is becoming Herculean because of the entrenched manner, the hum, and the way the acts have taken. Security, judiciary, and the media are being compromised in the emerging huge political fraud cover-up in Nigeria’s history. But thanks to the US’s uncompromising and pertinacious judiciary that is helping to save Nigeria from the game of the fraud masters. From all indications, courtesy of that country’s justice system, Tinubu is in for the clever escape he did 24 years ago when Salisu Buhari was entrenched.
At the dawn of this political dispensation in 1999, one charismatic young politician, Salisu Buhari, 29, took the political stage like a hurricane wangling his way to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and number four citizen in the protocol order. Unknown to many, including his supporters, he was a fraud brandishing qualifications he had not, but his reign lasted just 49 days.
He claimed to have obtained a diploma in accountancy from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, in 1988. He obtained a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of Toronto, Canada, in 1990. He also claimed to have completed his one-year mandatory national service with Standard Construction Firm in Kano in 1991.
However, the truth emerged that Salisu enrolled at ABU but was denied the opportunity to study there when the school discovered that his credentials were forged. He never participated in the one-year mandatory National Youth Service (NYSC) as he claimed; his records were not found with the scheme.
He was born in 1970 as opposed to 1963, which was in the biodata submitted to INEC, doctoring his age to be 29, whereas section 65(1) of the 1999 Constitution clearly states that anyone below the age of 30 is disqualified from being a member of the House of Representatives. He had never attended the University of Toronto, let alone graduated from there.
From what is emerging around Tinubu, Salisu’s scenario is about to play out, this time to a huge embarrassment to the nation because of its international dimension.
How far again can Tinubu go conning and diddling the nation? Has he not exhausted his tales? Is his cock-and-bull story not coming to an abrupt end?
If Tinubu is still the President of Nigeria and has not resigned by Thursday morning when you are reading this conversation, it would be because Nigeria itself is decadent and characterised by a state of moral decline.
The Lagos media, the most vociferous in 1999 during the Salisu saga, who helped to chase away Senate President Evan Enwerem for the mere spelling error in his name, have suddenly gone dumb this time. The Editor-in-Chief of The News magazine that unearthed and nailed Salisu, Bayo Ononuga, is ironically the protector-in-chief of Tinubu in the media today.
The intelligence community that should cover its head in guilt for a failed job of allowing an undeserving person to take the highest seat of the land are still protecting the fraud. Not to talk of the judiciary whose soul was long sold to the highest bidder.
If there is a country called Nigeria in the real sense of it, as you read this article, the president should have resigned with apologies and faced prosecution like Salisu in 1999, heads of security whose duty it is to screen public officers should have resigned for a failed job; ditto the Independent National Electoral Commission leadership for failing to do due diligence in the credentials of a would-be president.
If we decide to pretend that our thick skin for fraud can brush aside everything, then let us all join voices in singing Nunc Dimittis to our beloved country.
From all that is unfolding, Tinubu has nothing to celebrate about his political ascendency in life. Germany Kent says, “If you cheat to win you really can’t claim victory because you did not play fair.”
People may wear a mask of lies to look attractive but time will expose everything because fake things and people don’t last long in life.” God help us.