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Dele Farotimi: It is Not A Nigerian Thing Nor Yoruba Thing To Forge Certificates

He said the Supreme Court has the power to decide whether the alleged ‘forgery’ can be admitted as evidence against Tinubu.

Nigerian Lawyer and Human Rights Advocate, Dele Farotimi, has said that irrespective of what the registrar of the Chicago State University said, it is not a Nigerian thing, or a Yoruba thing to forge certificates.

Farotimi made this statement in an interview with ARISE NEWS on Thursday, where he also said that the truth in Nigeria has become subjective, and that Nigerians have a duty to ensure that the truth does not become transactional.

Farotimi spoke to what the CSU registrar said as he emphasized, “I am of the firm opinion that it is not a Nigerian thing to forge documents. Regardless of what the CSU registrar might have to say on the subject, it is not a Nigerian thing. The CSU was unambiguous in making clear that the diploma submitted to INEC does not emanate from it, that I think is about the only thing of legal consequence that concerns me as far as I am concerned, but when you now look to the broader issue of honesty, integrity, the image of the country, it doesn’t look good.”

Responding to a statement made on Monday by the minister of foreign affairs, Ambassador Yusuf Tuggar, concerning the issue, Farotimi said, “He was correct to decree the forgery by Mr. Tinubu as frivolous. When you consider all the other things that are confronting Nigeria, it is particularly trivial to contemplate that the president ‘of the most populous black country in the world’ actually forged his certificate.

“Now, to move beyond that, because it is very easy to try and run away from the trivialities that the Tinubu administration has more or less forced on us, but when you dig deeper in the body of the same deposition, you begin to address the fact again that there are so many lies under guarding even the forged certificate itself, too many questions waiting to be answered, people might begin to talk about how evidence does not count again at this point, but again, it’s not like evidence has ever mattered in out space because even the judiciary have found ways to make what matters not matter any longer.

The Human Rights Advocate then said that he does not subscribe to the idea of someone being given the title of Omoluabi simply because they are Yoruba, saying, “An Omoluabi comes with qualifications, it comes with qualification of integrity, of honesty, of pedigree, of history, that is why we have Oriki in Yoruba land, a person will be praised to his progeny…. And then the person must earn the tag of the Omoluabi, he must act with integrity, he must deal equitably with other people, he must be fair in his dealings with people.

“To now appropriate Omoluabi to everybody who answers the name of a Yoruba person even when the person has not acted in a manner that is suggestive of the person having the quality that will make the person answer to the name of Omoluabi, I reject that in its entirety. I am an Omoluabi, I am a Yoruba man, and I have not forged my certificate. So, it is not a Nigerian thing, and it is certainly not a Yoruba thing, and it is not an Omoluabi thing to do that.”

Concerning the controversy that had come up in the Nigerian space from the pronouncement of the CSU registrar, and if the Nigerian judiciary will do anything with this information, the lawyer said, “Facts don’t matter in Nigeria any longer, that’s the truth. It’s gotten to the point where alternative facts have taken over the space, and truth itself has become completely subjective and transactional. The depositions are clear, and they are not ambiguous. The person representing CSU was unequivocal in declaring that the certificate submitted to INEC by the man known as Bola Ahmed Tinubu does not emanate from them. That is a matter that should be conclusively dealt with and forgotten about. Whether the Nigerian courts will find out a sufficient basis to do the needful, that is another argument that we can have at another time, but that we are still arguing about what has been conclusively proven in the deposition speaks a lot to the kind of country that we have become.”

Speaking further, he said, “Now, whether Mr Tinubu attended the University, whether he attended having the right qualifications, whether he lied about the schools he attended, whether government College Lagos was founded in 1970 or 1974, that’s another story entirely. And the deeper you dig into this, the messier it becomes, and I actually think that we have a duty not to allow truth to become transactional and subjective. Facts on the ground are clear, the certificate submitted by Mr. Tinubu is a forgery. That is not my opinion, that is what the registrar of the school has declared.”

Farotimi was then asked if it was possible for fresh evidence concerning the alleged forgery of Tinubu’s certificate to be admitted into the Supreme Court in the Presidential election appeal case, and he said, “Nigerian courts, over the past few years, have shown very clearly that we have good reasons to be worried about the capacity to deliver justice or to give equity.

“However, I do know that within the inherent jurisdiction of that court, it has the powers, if it so desires and if it finds the will to hear evidence that will suggest what the person who is sat in the highest office of the land is a career criminal, that is entirely up to the supreme court, It is up to the court to decide whether it is capable of saving what we have described variously as a democracy.” He then said that this was a purely personal opinion of his, as he emphasized that he does not hate anyone, but rather, hates their deeds.

Farotimi then advised Nigerians, when asked the lessons that one could get from this matter, saying, “Just tell the truth. No matter how long you tell a lie, eventually, you will get found out. Just tell the truth.”

Ozioma Samuel-Ugwuezi

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