President Bola Tinubu has levelled serious allegations of identity fraud and forgery against his primary opponent, Atiku Abubakar, in an attempt to punch holes in the PDP candidate’s appeal to have him disqualified at the Supreme Court.
According to Mr Tinubu’s counter affidavit filed at the apex court on October 12, and seen by Peoples Gazette, the Nigerian leader accused Mr Abubakar of submitting fake credentials to Nigeria’s electoral commission, INEC, in that he bore “Atiku Kojoli” on his primary school certificate and “Siddiq Abubakar” on his 1965 West African School Certificate and General Certificate of Examination (WASSCE).
While The Gazette had previously reported a change of name affidavit showing that Mr Abubakar in August 1973 legally regularised his name from Siddiq Abubakar to Atiku Abubakar, there is no clear explanation for the other name, “Atiku Kojoli.”
Mr Tinubu contends that there is no guarantee that Mr Abubakar was the man he claimed to be because of the inconsistencies in the names on his primary and secondary school certificates.
“It is the 1st appellant’s acclaimed primary school certificate bearing the name “Atiku Kojoli” and his purported 1965 West African School Certificate and General Certificate of Examination bearing the name “Siddiq Abubakar” (as opposed to the name “Atiku Abubakar”, which he claims to Nigerians and INEC to be his) that are yet to be explained by Jeda Primary School Adamawa (which he claimed to have attended), the University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate, West African Examination Council or such other credible institution with the capacity to so do,” asserted Mr Tinubu in his counter affidavit submitted to the senior court on October 12 at 4:42 p.m.
“Now shown to me, attached hereto and marked as Exhibit 9, is a copy of the said Siddiq Abubakar’s 1965 West African School Certificate and General Certificate of Examination, submitted by the 1st appellant,” the president added.
On October 5, Mr Abubakar filed a motion at the apex court to introduce fresh evidence of forgery that contained a deposition of Chicago State University (CSU) registrar, Caleb Westberg, saying he could not authenticate the certificate Mr Tinubu tendered to INEC because the institution did not issue it.
But Mr Tinubu’s team of lawyers are fiercely opposing the motion, requesting that the Supreme Court give a judgement only on the basis of evidence admitted in the first court of trial where the presidential elections petitions tribunal had in September dismissed all the petitions filed by Mr Abubakar against Mr Tinubu.
The ultimate decision, however, lies with the apex court justices whose interpretation of law and carriage of justice could either land Mr Tinubu a hard-won victory or defeat.