|Report of the five-man ad-hoc committee set up by the Lagos House of Assembly on Tuesday September 21, 1999 to investigate allegations of perjury and forgery against Governor Bola Ahmed Tinubu|
AT the plenary session of the Lagos State House of Assembly on Tuesday September 21, 1999, Honourable Thomas Ayodele Fadeyi, representing Mushin Constituency 2 raised an issue under Motion for Adjournment with respect to recent publications in the print and electronic media. It bothers on allegations that the Executive Governor of Lagos State, Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu perjured and forged the credentials that qualified him to run for the gubernatorial election in Lagos State. The issue generated healthy debate on the floor of the House and the general consensus of members of the House was that the matter should be looked into. Honourable Tajudeen Jaiyeola Agoro, representing Lagos Mainland Constituency 1 thereafter moved a motion to the effect that an adhoc committee of the Lagos State House of Assembly be set up to look into the matter and report back to the House on Monday September 27, 1999. The motion was unanimously carried by members of the Lagos State House of Assembly.
The Speaker of the House, the Honourable (Dr.) Adeleke Olorunimbe Mamora was also mandated at the same sitting by the House to constitute the ad-hoc committee, which he did forthwith. The members of the committee are as follows:
Hon. Babajide Omoworare - (Chairman)
The allegations made against the Executive Governor of Lagos State were contained in a petition dated August l2, 1999, written by one Alhaji Jameed Seriki purportedly of 62 Balogun Street, West, Lagos and one Dr. Waliu Balogun-Smith purportedly of 5 Unity Road, Ikeja, Lagos to the Inspector General of Police. The documents enclosed by the Petitioners were photocopies of the Governor's inauguration profile, INEC FORM CF. 001, affidavit sworn to at Ikeja High Court of Justice on 29th December 1998, the year books of Government College, Ibrahim and the transcript of Chicago State University.
Specifically, the Petitioners alleged as follows:
1. That there is discrepancy in the age of the Executive Governor of Lagos State since the profile published during his inauguration states that he was born in 1952 and the age on the transcript of the governor at Chicago State University states that he was born in 1954;
2. That the governor did not attend Government College, Ibadan as was stated in his profile and INEC FORM CF. 001; and
3. That the governor did not attend University of Chicago as he claimed in INEC FORM CF. 001 and an affidavit sworn to at the Ikeja High Court of Justice on 29th December 1998.
The above letter and the enclosures were published in Today Newspaper and The Source Magazine. The Committee deemed it fit to invite the Petitioners and therefore wrote the Petitioners. The letters were sent by courier. The Petitioners did not attend the hearing and we have not heard from them up till now. We visited their address at 62 Balogun Street, West, Lagos and 5 Unity Road, Ikeja, Lagos on Wednesday September 22, 1999 and found out that the Petitioner neither reside nor carry on any business at the addresses.
Hence, we concluded that the petition was written in fictitious names. Attached herewith and marked "Annexures 1 and 2" are pictures of the buildings bearing the above addresses taken when the Committee visited the addressed. Also attached and marked "Annexures 3 and 4" are copies of the evidence of courier of the letters forwarded to the fictitious Petitioners.
The Committee invited Editors of This Day Newspaper because of the prominence, which they have given to the publication of the allegations. The editors of This Day visited us informally, refusing to oblige our invitation and informing us that they would rely on their publications.
The Executive Governor of Lagos State was also invited and he appeared before the Committee on Thursday September 23, l999 in the company of his counsel, Femi Falana Esquire.
We also invited Senator Tokunbo Afikuyomi, who represents Lagos State Central Senatorial Constituency at the Senate, National Assembly, Abuja, who recently a a press conference claimed an affidavit sworn to at the Ikeja High Court of Justice on 29th December 1998. Senator Tokunbo Afikuyomi appeared before the Committee on Friday September 24, 1999 in the company of his counsel Professor Itsey Sagay (SAN).
In the evening of Thursday September 23, 1999, the Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly received a Memorandum from Chief Gani Fawehinmi, senior member of the bar and human right activist, written on the same date, in respect of the matter before this ad-hoc Committee. The Memorandum was forwarded to the committee for consideration. Chief Gani Fawehinmi has been in eh fore-front of those calling for the investigation of the allegation against the Executive Governor of Lagos State and that if found culpable, he should be prosecuted.
Chief Gani Fawehinmi had earlier written to the Executive Governor of Lagos State on Monday September 13, 1999 asking him to confirm or deny the allegations against him within 7 days. He had also written to the Inspector General of Police on Tuesday September 21, 1999 to make public the outcome of his investigation into the allegations. The Committee therefore invited Chief Gani Fawehinmi to appear before it and he did appear before the Committee on Saturday September 25, 1999.
The Governor's Testimony
The Governor of Lagos State started his evidence by admitting full responsibility for some of the "needless errors," being pinpointed in recent publications and which formed the basis of the allegations against him.
The Governor told the Committee that as a result of the acrimonious primaries of the Alliance for Democracy in Lagos State and its attendant crisis, the information contained in both the INEC form land affidavit of loss of Certificates was supplied by one of his political aides, Senator Tokunbo Afikuyomi.
The Governor then submitted to the Committee a copy of the Social Democratic Party senatorial candidature form dated June 1, 1992, which he used to contest the 1992 Senatorial election as candidate of the party for Lagos West.
In the form, which he personally filled, the Governor attached the certificates of Richard Daley College and Chicago State University. For his educational qualifications, he filled B.Sc. Accounting only.
This according to him demonstrated that "needless errors" spotted in the 1999 INEC form were not consistent and that they were "genuine errors". He further directed the attention of the Committee to the INEC form CFO1 that bore a wrong date of twenty-eight December 1999 instead of twenty-eight December 1998. The error he said was made by INEC which printed the form. And not even the Commissioner of Oath spotted this error.
This in his view further confirmed that the hurried and confused manner under which the preparations for the governorship primaries of 1998 were organised, gave rise to error on all sides.
The Governor said he was born Bola Ahmed Adekunle Tinubu in 1952. He attended St. John's Primary School, Aroloya, Lagos and Children's Home School in Ibadan.
The Governor spoke about his difficult and traumatic youth and how he scaled the hurdles of life as a self-made man. After his primary education, the Governor said he was admitted to Secondary Schools but he could not further his education because of his poverty.
The Governor thus had to engage in menial jobs before he proceeded in 1970 to the United States of America, in search of the proverbial Golden Fleece. The Governor informed us that in America, he undertook various odd jobs and tried to improve himself academically. After five years of he most harrowing working experience, the Governor said he enrolled at Richard Daley College in Chicago, which among others offers basic, remedial and academic classes, preparatory to entering Chicago State University.
He presented a photocopy of a certificate issued by Richard Daley College (City Colleges of Chicago), a copy of which is attached herewith and marked "Annexure 5".
Throughout the time he studied in Chicago, the Governor said he also had to fend for himself and that he actually paid his way through school by working extra hours as a tutor in the same University. He said he also studied for extra hours, especially during summer.
The Governor said 27 (twenty-seven) credit hours were transferred from Richard Daley College to Chicago State University, where he obtained Bachelor of Science in Business and Administration. His major was in Accounting. To back up his claim, the Governor produced the following documents:
1. a copy of a letter dated September 6, 1978 written by Andrew F. Sikula, Dean College of Business Administration, Chicago State University informing Mr. Bola Tinubu that he had made the Dean's honours list by making a 3.50 or better grade point average. This is herewith attached and marked as "Annexure 6";
2. an inter-office memorandum of Chicago State University dated May 28, 1979 written by one Clyde Smith to the Honours Award Committee recommending Bola A. Tinubu as recipient of the outstanding senior award. This is herewith attached and marked as "Annexure 7";
3. copies of May/June 1979 edition of the TEMPO, Chicago State University Campus journal covering Chicago State University Annual Awards Ceremony. Bola Tinubu was described as the President of the Accounting Society and was also said to be running for Student Government Association presidency. This is herewith attached and marked as "Annexure 8";
4. a Chicago State University STATEMENT issued by the Accounts Receivable Department on June 15, 1979 with his social security number. This is herewith attached and marked as "Annexure 9";
5. the Chicago State University Certificate dated 22nd day of June, 1979 conferring upon Bola A. Tinubu the degree of Bachelor of Science in Business and Administration (Accounting with honours). This is herewith attached and marked as "Annexure 10";
6. a copy of Chicago State University Outstanding Senior Award Certificate dated 5th July 1979, awarded to Bola A. Tinubu. This is herewith attached and marked as "Annexure 11";
7. a copy of Chicago State University Departmental Certificate of Merit dated 5th July, 1979 presented to Bola A. Tinubu. This is herewith attached and marked as "Annexure 12";
8. copy of year book of Chicago State University with the picture of Bola A. Tinubu on page 75. This is herewith attached and marked as "Annexure 13";
9. Chicago State University academic record transcript) dated July 11th 1979. This is herewith attached and marked as "Annexure 14";
10. copy of 1992 Social Democratic Party senatorial candidature form dated June 1 1992. This is herewith attached and marked as "Annexure 15"; and
11. Chicago State University letter dated August 20th 1999 addressed To Whom It May Concern advising that Bola A. Tinubu did indeed attend Chicago State University from August 1977 through June 1979. He was awarded a Bachelor of Science degree in Business and Administration with honours on June 22nd 1979. His major was Accounting. This is herewith attached and marked as "Annexure 16".
The Governor informed us that before coming to Nigeria, he worked as an Accountant with Deloitte Haskins & Sells and at GTE Services Corporation. Enclosed herewith and marked "Annexure 17" and "Annexure 18" respectively are the pay slips relating to the above establishments.
He said he came to Nigeria and undertook his National Youth Service between November 12, 1982 and November 11, 1983 with HARBONI LIMITED of IBADAN. A copy of the National Youth Service Corp. discharge certificate number 173807 issued to Tinubu, Bola Adekunle (NYSC/OY/FORN/82/9106) dated November 11, 1983 was given to the Committee as proof. This is herewith attached and marked as "Annexure 19". The Governor said he also worked at Mobil Oil Nigeria Plc and rose to become the Treasurer of the organisation. To buttress this claim, he tendered the following documents:
1. A copy of Mobil Oil Nigeria, Plc Certificate of Service dated May 14th, 1992 issued in favour of Mr. B.A. Tinubu. Herewith attached and marked "Annexure 20" is a copy of the said certificate.
2. A letter written by Mobil Oil Nigeria Plc dated December 29th, 1998 addressed to whom it may concern confirming that Mr. Tinubu was an employee of the Company between December 1, 1983 and mMay 17th, 1992. He was said to have left on May 18th, 1992 on public service lease of absence and did not return at the end of the leave. Herewith attached and marked "Annexure 21" is a copy of the said letter.
3. A welcome address by Paul L. Caldwell, Chairman/Managing Director of Mobil Producing Nigeria at the dinner given in honour of Senator Bola Tinubu on June 11th, 1992. Herewith attached and marked "Annexure 22" is a copy of the said address.
When questions were asked about age discrepancies, he insisted that he was born in 1952 and not 1954. In support of his claim, he referred to INEC FORM. 001 and his gubernatorial profile that put his year of birth as 1952. This tallies with his 1992 voters registration card and the Social Democratic Party senatorial candidature form dated June 1 1992, item 2 of which put his date of birth at March 29th, 1952.
The following documents were also made available to the Committee by the Governor.
1. His international passport number A0004062. Herewith attached and marked "Annexure 23" is a copy of the relevant page of the said passport;
2. His United States of America refugee travel passport number A74685870. Herewith attached and marked "Annexure 24" is a copy of the relevant page of the said passport; and
3. His United States of America employment authorisation card number LIN9804950277. Herewith attached and marked "Annexure 25" is a copy of the said card.
He concluded that errors on his INEC form were not deliberate, as he did not gain any advantage whatsoever by claiming 1954 or presenting bogus academic qualification since he already had the required minimum qualification.
When the Governor was asked why he did not respond to the allegations promptly, he said he felt they were all part of the campaign of calumny against him which began with the allegations that his administration was slow.
Asked about his view on the reactions of his aides to some of the allegations, he said that at a stage in the saga, the events took a life of its own with his aides issuing statements and papers on his behalf.
Senator Tokunbo Afikuyomi' Testimony
He informed the Committee that he was heading the unit of the Governor's campaign responsible for processing the form and he accepted responsibilities for the mistakes in the INEC forms. He refuted that the form was signed at 2 a.m. He said the forms were filled for the Governor in a rush and under tensed circumstances, at a point when there were problems and crises in the party, Alliance for Democracy (AD) in Lagos State during the gubernatorial primary electioneering campaigns. He said as a result of the crises, they had very little time to fill land process the INEC form. He said the Governor also hurriedly signed the forms so as to beat the deadline given by INEC for the submission of all forms.
He also commented on the similarities and distinctions between the case at hand and that of Alhaji Salisu Ibraham Buhari, the former Speaker of house of Representatives. He said the only similarity is that both the former Speaker and the Lagos State Governor are public office holders. Otherwise, both cases are different in the following manner:
He said the former Speaker was under-aged at the time he contested the election and needed an advantage for eligibility, while the Governor was over the stipulated age. For example, in the case of Senate President, Evan Enwerem, the Senate Committee trying him discharged him on the allegation of age impropriety because even if there were two different ages, he was still above the minimum age requirement as at the time of his election.
The Governor has a degree from Chicago State University while the former Speaker did not even have a School Certificate.
The constitution provides immunity for the Governor from being ,tried or sentenced while Alhaji Salisu Ibrahim Buhari as the Speaker of the Federal House of Representatives had none.
He concluded that the mix-ups were caused by mistakes and not intentionally done as in the case of Alhaji Salisu Ibrahim Buhari.
Lastly, he said no crime was committed by the Governor and the Governor should be left to do what he has been voted for and elected into office to do.
The Testimony of Chief Gani Fawehinmi
Chief Gani Fawehinmio was of the view that the primary duty of the Lagos State House of Assembly is to determine if any law has been breached by the Lagos State Governor a this stage and not to determine the impeachment of the Governor now. He said the House of Assembly must find out if the Governor has committed any crime against the laws of Lagos State.
The issue according to him in that there are 2 (two) affidavits deposed to by the Governor of Lagos State and false declaration has been established. These affidavits are in INEC FORM CF. 001 deposed to before the Commissioner for Oath on 28th December 1998 and an affidavit titled "Affidavit in respect of loss of certificates" sworn to at the Ikeja High Court of Justice on 29th December 1998. Crime according to him has been committed since the provision of Sections 191 and 192 of the Criminal Code, cap. 32, Laws of Lagos State 1994 has been breached.