Former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar, Presidential Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has said the late Human Rights activist, Gani Fawehinmi, inspired him to make inquiries about the certificate of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
Atiku had filed a suit against President Bola Tinubu over his academic record at the Chicago State University.
He requested the documents to back his allegation of forgery of CSU certificate against Tinubu.
The allegation of forgery was one of those dismissed by the presidential election court in the suit Atiku filed to challenge the election of Tinubu.
Despite the court’s ruling, Atiku continued his case at the US court, hoping to get official documents to back his claim and possibly include them in his appeal at the Supreme Court.
He had argued that there were discrepancies in the certificate Tinubu submitted to the INEC which should have rendered him ineligible to contest the election.
Speaking at a press conference on Thursday, Atiku said it should not have taken weeks or months for security agencies to verify certificates of candidates who present themselves for higher office.
“The reputation of Nigeria is at stake. I am a democrat by conviction and citizen of a country that I love.
“I must thank our lawyers, bother here and abroad, for help us bring clarity to this issue that has dragged for about half of a century
“The late Human right Gani Fawehinmi, has vindicated us. Now he can truly rest in peace knowing that the journey he started 23 years ago is on course.”
On October 7, 1999, Fawehinmi filed an order at the Federal High Court, Lagos, to compel security operatives to investigate criminal allegations which he made against Tinubu, who was then governor of Lagos State.
Tinubu had made the claim of loss of certificates in his filings with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in 1999.
He however stated in 1999 that he attended St Paul Children’s Home School, Ibadan, from 1958 to 1964 and Government College, Ibadan (GCI) from1965 to 1968 before proceeding to Richard Daley College, Chicago, from 1969 to 1971 and the University of Chicago.
Fawehinmi in the court documents had filed an order of mandamus praying the court to compel security operatives to investigate the allegations against Tinubu who had earlier been cleared by the Lagos House of Assembly.
“AN ORDER OF MANDAMUS compelling the respondents whether, by themselves, their agents, servants, privies or otherwise however to investigate the applicant’s complaint of false statements on oath and false declarations made under oath by Mr Bola Tinubu as contained in the two documents, that is: Independent National Electoral Commission Form CF001 declared and verified under Oath by Mr Bola Ahmed Tinubu (now Governor of Lagos State) before the Commissioner for Oaths at the High Court Registry, Ikeja on December 28, 1998,” the court document had read.
“And Affidavit entitled; Affidavit in respect of Lost Certificates sworn to by Mr Bola Ahmed Tinubu (now Governor of Lagos State) before the Commissioner for Oath at the High Court Registry, Ikeja on December 29, 1998.”
The court in its judgement, however, ruled that Tinubu as then sitting governor could not be tried as he enjoyed immunity from prosecution. The Appeal Court also upheld the judgement of the lower court.
The late legal luminary then headed to the Supreme Court and the apex court ruled that though Tinubu enjoyed immunity from prosecution, he could be investigated by the police over the allegation and tried after his tenure.