Osita Chidoka, the former Minister of Aviation, has expressed his dismay over a recent United States court order instructing Chicago State University to release the academic records of President Bola Tinubu. The request for these records came from Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, the Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in the 2023 presidential elections. Chidoka characterized this court order as a national embarrassment.
In his response shared on his official social media platforms, Chidoka questioned why several key Nigerian institutions, including the Department of State Services, the National Intelligence Agency, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), and the Nigerian Embassy in Washington DC, failed to uncover the truth about President Tinubu’s academic history. He emphasized that if it were revealed that the occupant of the nation’s highest office had forged his certificates, it would be a significant shame for the leadership and relevant institutions of Nigeria.
Chidoka’s statement can be summarized as follows:
“The recent U.S. court order directing Chicago State University to release President Bola Tinubu’s academic records to Alhaji Atiku Abubakar is a national disgrace. It is disheartening that our domestic institutions could not resolve this matter, leaving it to a foreign court.
Our nation boasts various agencies like the Department of State Security, the National Intelligence Agency, the Independent National Electoral Commission, and the Nigerian Embassy in Washington DC. They have all dealt with issues concerning President Tinubu’s academic qualifications. Yet, we lack a definitive answer regarding the authenticity of his claimed credentials. This is shameful.
Allowing a person to assume the presidency without a clear record of qualifications is a national tragedy. For over two decades, President Tinubu’s qualifications have remained a contentious issue. Under his leadership, individuals facing allegations and public scrutiny have held key positions, even after security screenings.
The office of the President of Nigeria holds immense moral and strategic significance for our nation’s security. Anyone with potential vulnerabilities that could be exploited by foreign entities should be kept far from this office. Our national institutions must prioritize this responsibility. Failing to do so is a grave offense.
The ongoing proceedings against a Nigerian President in a foreign court due to electoral matters are damaging to our national image. We must urgently implement constitutional amendments to conclude all electoral cases before the assumption of office. Additionally, electoral legislation should address issues related to academic qualifications.
The recent court decision and proceedings should lead us to reflect on our national values. Who should have initiated a thorough investigation into the President’s questionable certificate? Should our courts focus on technicalities or the potential global disgrace of a forged certificate? Why did our national security system not investigate and advise the candidate and INEC?
This issue transcends legalities. If the certificate is indeed forged, President Tinubu should resign immediately for the sake of national honor and morality. If he doesn’t, the National Assembly should take appropriate action to restore our dignity. The Supreme Court should also intervene to restore order in our electoral process.
If the certificate is genuine, the President should overhaul our national security system for failing to prevent this embarrassment. Regardless of the outcome, the National Assembly should begin the constitutional amendment process to resolve election-related legal challenges before officials assume office.
We also need judicial reforms, including an automated case assignment system, transparent judge recruitment, and annual evaluations of judges’ performance to enhance public oversight and improve justice administration. The current trend of unanimous court decisions is concerning.
The challenge by Atiku Abubakar in the U.S. is a glaring sign of state failure. While disheartening, it could be a turning point in reshaping the character of the Nigerian state to align with the ideals expressed in our old national anthem’s second stanza: a symbol of truth, justice, peace, honor, and a legacy free from blemish for our children.”