THE All Progressives Congress (APC) campaign has been told to lift the veil on the background of its presidential flag bearer, Bola Tinubu, and clear the perception that his whole life is shrouded in mystery.
The call was made Sunday in a statement by Phrank Shaibu, Special Assistant on Public Communication to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, which demanded that the former Lagos State governor reveal his real name, and background. Citing a biblical verse, which posits that “The wicked flee when no one pursues, but the righteous are bold as a lion,” the statement maintained that this perhaps explains why Tinubu has refused to open himself up for scrutiny but continues to evade debates, non-partisan town hall meetings and live interviews.
The statement traced the early controversy surrounding Tinubu’s identity in contrast with that of the main opposition party flag bearer, adding: “Tinubu’s entire life and persona is based on falsehood and thus he cannot address these questions hence his decision to continue to run all over the place. But these controversies did not begin today.
“In 2007 a former head of the civil service of Lagos State, Abdulrafiu Babatunde Tinubu, one of the eldest members of the Tinubu family, published a book titled, “Onijumu Wura: The Tinubu Dynasty of Kakawa, Lagos (The Tree).
“Abdulrafiu included the names of all members of the Tinubu dynasty from the 19th century till date. Conspicuously missing from the book was the name of Bola Tinubu. The author claimed anyone whose name was not listed in the book was not an authentic member of the Tinubu family.
“Atiku Abubakar’s history has never been in doubt. His father was Garba Abubakar, a Fulani trader and farmer while Atiku’s mother was Aisha Kande. Atiku was named after his paternal grandfather Atiku Abdulqadir who hails from Wurno, Sokoto State and migrated to Kojoli village at Jada, Adamawa State. His maternal grandfather was Inuwa Dutse who migrated to Jada, Adamawa State from Dutse, Jigawa State.
“Where is Tinubu from? Who are his parents? Who was Tinubu’s father? What was his name? What is Tinubu’s full name? Is it Bolatito, Omobolanle, Abolaji, Bolarinwa?
“While it is not uncommon for leaders to use a short version of their names, most times, for the purpose of stylistic rendition, the full outlay of their names is nonetheless public knowledge. “In the Second Republic, such names as Bisi Onabanjo, Bola Ige, Bisi Akande and many more from the South-West region are brand names of great political icons. But even as it were, everyone knew that the Governor of Ogun State in the Second Republic was known in full as Olabisi Onabanjo, ditto for Ajibola Ige and the rest of such examples.
“However, it is confounding that in the case of the APC presidential candidate, he is simply known as Bola Tinubu. No one knows the prefix or suffix to his ‘Bola.’
“Tinubu also seems to have moved from infancy directly to university in the United States of America hence his record as the only Presidential candidate in the history of Nigeria not to include his primary and secondary school information on his INEC Form CF001.
“Earlier in 1999, while contesting for the governorship of Lagos State, he said on oath that he attended St. Paul’s School, Aroloya and Government College Ibadan but his credentials were soon challenged by the late legendary lawyer, Chief Gani Fawehinmi (SAN) even as it had been established that Tinubu had no classmates in primary or secondary school.
“Eager to avoid another embarrassing scrutiny, he has now decided to be silent about his primary and secondary education. Rather than tell the truth, his Campaign Spokesman, Festus Keyamo, stated on Arise Television that Tinubu did not attend primary or secondary school and should thus be commended for beating the odds.”
The statement quoted the APC Campaign spokesman as saying that ‘They are asking what primary school one must have attended to go to secondary school. We want the younger ones to know that this is a virtue and not a vice. In those days, great men wrote exams from home.’
But in response to the Tinubu campaign, the statement maintained: “This is complete balderdash given the fact that Keyamo had in 2000 sued the Lagos State House of Assembly for clearing Tinubu of school certificate forgery.
“Since the APC continues to insist that they will not present their presidential candidate for media scrutiny, may we therefore call on the media handlers of this particular ‘Bola’ Tinubu to avail the country and its people the full outlay of Bola Tinubu’s name.
“The country and its people need to know if the man seeking to become their president is known as Adebola, Ajibola or, perhaps, it’s just simply: Bola(lokan)?
“The nation shall be most grateful if the APC can remove this tiny veil out of the many shades about their presidential candidate that they don’t want the Nigeria people to know about. But in its response, the APC Presidential Campaign Council, accused the PDP Campaign Council of indulging in character assassination of its candidate, Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
Bayo Onanuga, Director, Media & Publicity of the APC Campaign, in a statement, dismissed the claim as he noted that all doubts surrounding Tinubu’s eligibility to seek for public office had long been settled.
He said: “If only the PDP would go back to its records, it would have realised that the same campaign of reckless calumny was its stock in trade in the governorship campaigns in Lagos State in 2003. It had also been a subject of investigation by the Lagos State House of Assembly.
“In the 2003 election, the masses in Lagos punished the PDP for its malicious campaign and rejected the party massively at the polling booths. “It is unfortunate that the party and its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar have chosen to revive a dead allegation, knowing that this election is again slipping away.
“The Constitution of the Republic is very clear on the rights of a citizen to contest for president. Our candidate has fulfilled those conditions. The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the impartial umpire has affirmed that he is qualified to run. “But the PDP and Atiku are utterly confused and in serious disarray and running round in circles like a barber’s chair looking for what is not lost.
“A responsible party should have taken the cue from its losses. In the last two weeks, no fewer than six cases filed by proxies of the PDP on these same frivolous allegations have been thrown out by the courts.
“Yet like a fly that insists on being buried with the corpse, the media handlers of the PDP prefer to flog a dead horse. “PDP should wait for its day of Judgment rather than engage in this obscurantist, diversionary game, a game that will be determined by the Nigerian masses.”
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