A former Minister of Aviation, Osita Chidoka, has said that a United States Court order directing the Chicago State University to release the academic records of President Bola Tinubu to the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in the 2023 elections, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, is a national disgrace.

The former Corps Marshal of the Federal Road Safety Commission further observed that it was worrisome that authorities such as the Department of State Services, DSS National Intelligence Agency, NIA the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC and the Embassy of Nigeria with its staff in Washington DC could not unravel the circumstances over the academic history of the President, leaving the daunting task for Atiku to do.

“That all the aforementioned institutions allowed a man to be sworn in without definitive statements about his qualifications is a national tragedy. For 23 years, the issue of President Tinubu has been a recurring decimal in our national equation. Under his reign, a current youth corps member is serving as minister, and people under investigation by the EFCC and made public are sitting in the Federal Executive Council. And they all passed through security screening.”

A United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois had, on Saturday, ruled in favour Atiku, and ordered that the Chicago State University should release President Tinubu’s academic record to the former vice president by Monday, October 2.

According to him, the leadership and relevant institutions of this country should bow their heads in shame, if eventually it was discovered the occupier of the nation’s number one office forged his certificates, stressing that the development was both a national and international embarrassment.

He said, “I speak as a Nigerian. That it took the courageous activism of His Excellency, Abubakar Atiku to force the discovery of information concerning the President of Nigeria is a disgrace to our national institutions.

“As a nation, we have a full retinue of staff at the Department of the State Services, the National Intelligence Agency, the Independent National Electoral Commission, the Embassy of Nigeria with the full complement of staff in Washington DC and the Nigerian judiciary that have variously ruled on matters concerning President Tinubu’s academic qualifications. Yet, we can not have a definitive conclusion about whether he has the academic qualifications he claimed he had or not. Disgraceful.

“The office of the President of Nigeria is so important both in its moral authority and its strategic importance to our national security and safety that nobody who has possible blind spots that can make him or her a potential asset for foreign intelligence or governments should be allowed a mile near that office. This should be a primary burden on all our national institutions. Legal technicalities and silence by state institutions should be deemed high treason.

“It highlights my previous statement that a constitution amendment to finish all electoral cases before the assumption of office is now a matter of urgent national priority. The current disgraceful proceedings against a Nigerian President in a foreign court under election petition matters are damaging to our collective moral and legal standing as a people.

“If it turns out tomorrow that our President presented a forged certificate to INEC, Nigerians will bow down their heads globally in shame. On the other hand, if it turns out that his certificate is genuine, again our reputation as a people is still in tatters because of the failure of national institutions to perform due diligence no matter who is involved. On both counts, it reinforces global perceptions and prejudice against Nigerians. We all bear the burden.

“A forged certificate finding leaves President Tinubu in a vulnerable position morally and legally. As he did not present primary and secondary certificates to INEC, a forged CSU certificate makes him unqualified to stand for the office of President as he does not possess the minimum qualification S.131(D) of the 1999 Constitution as amended. Of course, the next issue is the case of perjury, the presentation of false documents under oath.

“How INEC accepted a university degree without the qualifying certificates would continue to be a national mystery. A language in our electoral legislation to forestall such obvious infractions is required. The decision of the District Court and the whole proceedings is not a moment of triumphalism but a sober moment of introspection. It is a moment when as a nation we ask ourselves.”

“Considering that he did not present a primary or secondary certificate, should our courts be concerned with the technicality of the tendering process of the CSU certificate or the disgrace and global moral damage a forged certificate would have wrought on Nigeria?

The former minister queried why the nation’s security system could not conduct a discrete investigation and advise the candidate and INEC about the status of his certificate.

“A few years ago, the DSS, in an act of institutional independence and courage, wrote to the Senate to reject Police Commissioner Ibrahim Magu as the EFCC chairman not minding his nomination by a sitting President. This was based on their intelligence report of his nefarious conduct that pales into insignificance against a possible forgery case by a President. Why the silence now?

“For me, the issue is beyond legalism. If and that is a big if, the certificate is forged, President Tinubu should resign immediately. It is not a legal matter but a national honour and moral issue. If he does not, the National Assembly should do the needful to restore our dignity as a people. I also expect the Supreme Court to rise to the occasion and restore order to our electoral process.”

Chidoka said, “If the certificate is not forged, the President should conduct a wide-ranging reorganisation of our national security system for failure to save the country from this needless embarrassment and reputational damage.”