Since the election, which was believed was rigged by many Nigerians – most Nigeria’s elections are often said to be rigged, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has been fighting for legitimacy. His candidacy was tainted by many controversies and his presidency, the same.
He is old with an uncertain age and conflicting name. He is educated but did not attend primary and secondary schools. There is no photo of him when young that he once took former governor Donald Duke’s photo as his. No one has a grip of his parentage or his lineage. He was caught in dual citizenship with a Guinean passport and enmeshed in a drug case and forfeiture of four hundred and sixty thousand dollars. The latest discovery is that Tinubu presented a forged certificate from Chicago State University with no primary or secondary school certificates to the electoral body INEC.
Prior to the elections, after he shouted Emilokan – it’s my turn, President Tinubu carried on as an untouchable who was accused of having bought off almost everyone who would question his candidacy or able to stop his election. He ignored any call for media debates, ignored many interviews and would go to rallies to dance and say a few words laced with invectives. Alas, he had no plans or his so-called plans, questioned. It was all about his turn and not about actual governance.
In what looked like a protection for the president, the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal made a mess of the court, dismissed most of the concerns of the people, especially, the drug case and forfeiture of money, double citizenship and certificate forgery issue which has whittled down the confidence of people in the judiciary. Just like the day he was declared the winner of the election, Nigerians were as calm as they mourned the outcome of the Tribunal and how Tinubu was declared the winner of the election.
Tinubu’s presidency has been laced with hardship and poverty. Starting from the moments of taking over the realms of government, he sent the economy to struggle. His pronouncement of the removal of fuel subsidy has led to more people grappling with economic uncertainties and his after-thought palliatives are not ameliorating the hardships. Unfortunately, the subsidy is said to be back. Daily Trust reported that, “The revelation by FAAC effectively indicates that the subsidy is back and NNPC is now taking NLNG dividends to pay the subsidy.” The ruling party responded, “Government’s intervention to ensure some measure of price stability and predictability does not amount to return of the ruinous fuel subsidy of recent past”. Intervention?
“Having come to power amid a period of sluggish economic growth, mounting public debt and waning oil production, Tinubu’s bold decisions to devalue the naira and remove a fuel subsidy that cost the government $10 billion in 2022 received considerable support.” International Banker reports. Such support amidst conflicting reports of subsidy through the back door, seems collapsing.
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To regale Nigerians as a government ready to work for the people, Tinubu and his administration has adopted propaganda as a means of advancing his policies or a show of doing something, some of which collapsed under its fallacy. For example, he travelled to the United Arab Emirates and announced that he has secured the lifting of the Visa ban earlier imposed on Nigerians by the UAE government. The UAE government quickly refuted that. He announced that he would meet with the United States President Biden at the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly meeting, which did not happen. He also claimed to be the first African leader to ring NASDAQ bell, which he was not and his continuous plans for palliatives on subsidy removal, keep failing or hijacked, among others policy issues.
In his Independence Day speech, Tinubu empathised with Nigerians. He said, “Reform may be painful, but it is what greatness and the future require. We now carry the costs of reaching a future Nigeria where the abundance and fruits of the nation are fairly shared among all, not hoarded by a select and greedy few. A Nigeria where hunger, poverty and hardship are pushed into the shadows of an ever fading past…There is no joy in seeing the people of this nation shoulder burdens that should have been shed years ago. I wish today’s difficulties did not exist. But we must endure if we are to reach the good side of our future.” In 2012 when the subsidy was removed, Tinubu played politics with it which led to reinstating the subsidy regime and as Tinubu’s protégé former governor Dr. Kayode Fayemi, said, “The protest that trailed the fuel subsidy removal during the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan in 2012 was due to political interests.”
Tinubu’s travail, in his less than six months in office, did not end within Nigeria. Shortly after his swearing -in and take-over of government, he was made the president of ECOWAS. As the president, his first challenge came from the coup in the Republic of Niger. Save for the public outcry, in search of legitimacy and acceptance, Nigeria and West Africa would be in the peak of War by now. Tinubu’s idea was to wield the big stick – military intervention. “Nobody is interested in a war. We have seen the devastation in Ukraine and Sudan. But, if we don’t wield the big stick, we will all suffer the consequences together,” Tinubu said.
While Tinubu sought to wield the big stick in the neighbouring Niger, Atiku Abubakar, the presidential candidate of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the February 25 election, sought for the documents to back his allegation of forgery of the certificate paraded and presented to INEC against Tinubu.
After the legal rigmarole amidst many unanswered questions of the person of Tinubu, “Chicago State University’s (CSU) Registrar, Caleb Westberg, has testified under oath that the replacement certificate submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) by President Bola Tinubu is not a document of the university, indicating that it is a forgery.” The Guardian reports.
Section 137(1)(j) of the 1999 Constitution, states: “137. (1) A person shall not be qualified for election to the office of President if – (j) he has presented a forged certificate to the Independent National Electoral Commission”.
By the deposition of the CSU, Bola Ahmed Tinubu has contravened the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“Three concepts – authority, obedience and obligation – are central to understanding law and political institutions. The three are also involved in the legitimation of the state: an apology for the state has to make a normative case for the state’s authority, for its right to command obedience, and for the citizen’s obligation to obey the state’s commands” William A. Edmundson.
These concepts as outlined by Mr. William when juxtaposed to Tinubu’s case, if he feels he does not have the obligation to obey the law, the authority which he wields will come into question.
If Nigerians could lead the ousting of people like Ibrahim Salisu Buhari, the first Speaker of Nigeria’s House of Representatives upon the return of the country to democratic system of government in 1999 after 49 days in office for forgery of certificate from the Toronto University, Tinubu’s forgery should not be swept aside as his moral authority to govern collapses amidst these scandals and controversies. His stay in the office is also a blight on the citizens of Nigeria who put in honest work each day.
“The presidency is not merely an administrative office. That is the least part of it. It is preeminently a place of moral leadership.” – Franklin D.Roosevelt.
“The presidency personifies government authority, including moral authority. The moral authority of leaders depends on high personal standards.” Henry Barbera et al.