An allegation of forgery has continued to trail the submitted credentials of the Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, as he joined other five aspirants in battling for the All Progressives Congress (APC) the state governorship ticket.
The party chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, has joined some social media users to cast doubt over the authenticity of his mentee-turned-rival’s first-degree certificate obtained from the University of Ibadan, as he challenged Nigerians to approach the institution to get clarity.
Mr Obaseki’s Bachelor of Arts degree in Classical Studies from the institution in 1979, alongside other aspirants, were pasted for public scrutiny at the party’s secretariat in Abuja on Monday.
In one of the top 20 twitter trends on Tuesday, the BA and National Youth Corps Service (NYSC) certificates of the embattled governor were placed under scrutiny as some users pinpointed inconsistency in font, signatures and time frame in his presented certificates alongside certificates issued to others the same year.
Mr Obaseki, in his secondary school certificate obtained in June 1973, had three credits, three passes grade out of the six subjects recorded in his O’level results, a grade combination many believed as lower than acceptable points for the entrance examination into the university back then, unless he sat for other exams to combine the result.
None of the two institutions has reacted to affirm or annul the controversies around Mr Obaseki’s credentials.
“Someone should approach the UI and end this matter once and for all. If the certificate Obaseki parades is that of the UI, find out – how did he pass senate screening of those days? I’m aware that in those days when this man never dreamt of becoming a governor, every student, no matter your status or your family name, must pass screening.
“How come the UI allowed him then? Did he do a remedial? Which was not unlikely. These are questions. Many (who) came in especially in education and linguistics, did remedial for one year and if the result was good, gained direct entry and graduated three years after,” Mr Oshiomhole told journalists on Tuesday at the inauguration of the APC’s screening and appeal committees drawn from academia to vent the credentials of the six governorship aspirants.
One would recall that Mr Obaseki, who is seeking the party’s re-election ticket, has enjoyed the national chairman’s support until 2019 when the feud between the duo could no longer be hidden from the public.
The cause of the feud and the crisis rocking the state chapter of the party has been linked to Mr Oshiomhole’s position on the incumbent governor’s second term ambition.
Defending the fastidiousness of the aspirants screening process, Mr Oshiomhole said it is to avert a replica of what happened to the party in the post-Bayelsa 2019 governorship election.
“The screening is not a formality and we expect you to be very meticulous in every material, in particular, to protect our party so that it would not be said that we did not learn anything from Bayelsa.
“As you know, sometimes when things go wrong, everybody sees it that NWC did not do a thorough job. So, people personalized it. They say, ‘If the chairman is thorough, if he has done his job this will not happen but that is the price for leadership,” he said as he registered the supremacy of the party’s NWC over the screening committee reports, if not satisfactory.
In an interview with The Punch newspaper, the Edo State governor, challenged anyone in doubt of the authenticity of his certificate to approach the institution for clarity.
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“The University of Ibadan is perhaps the most reputable university in Africa. The University of Ibadan awarded a BA degree in Classical Studies to his excellency the governor as far back as 1979. The university is still there. If anybody feels the certificate is not credible why doesn’t the person go there to verify?
“Why are we just seeing this only in the media? Bear in mind that the Governor of Edo State, Godwin Obaseki, was among an elite corps of illustrious alumni of the university people to deliver a national alumni lecture in August 2018.
“Do you think such an institution will call someone who is not an alumnus to deliver such a lecture?” Crusoe Osagie, the spokesperson to Mr Obaseki, defended.