Worried by the controversy over President Bola Tinubu’s identity crisis as well as the furore over the authenticity or otherwise of his Chicago State University certificate, the Neo Africana Centre has asked Tinubu to look beyond partisanship and embrace the counsel offered him by Peter Obi on how to resolve the issues in contention.
The Neo Africana Centre recalls that Tinubu has been embroiled in controversy over his claim to have attended and obtained a certificate from Chicago State University in the United States. There is also a haze of uncertainty over his true identity following the inconsistencies in his name and gender as revealed by the Chicago papers.
To put paid to these controversies, Peter Obi, the Presidential candidate of the Labour Party in the February 2023 presidential election, has asked Tinubu to mount the rostrum and address Nigerians on these vexed issues in order to save himself and Nigeria the embarrassment arising from them.
In a statement by its Director of Public Affairs, Jenkins Udu, the Neo Africana Centre said it agrees entirely with Obi that Tinubu should speak up on the issue as his silence is deepening suspicion and distrust over the matter.
According to the public policy think tank, Tinubu will be doing himself a world of good if he does not bring partisan considerations to bear on Obi’s counsel. If anything , he should see Obi’s interest in the matter as a friendly intervention by a patriot who is concerned about the sanctity of the office of the president as well as the image of his country.
Part of the Neo Africana Centre statement reads: “We have observed with concern the furore over President Bola Tinubu’s Chicago papers especially as they relate to the certificate he claimed to have acquired from Chicago State University. The Chicago papers have also raised questions over Tinubu’s true identity, including his gender.
These ugly developments are not only embarrassing to Nigerians, they cast a slur on the image of the president and the office he occupies. In fact, they have the potentialities to bring the Nigerian presidency to disrepute if not properly handled.
“We were therefore deeply relieved when Peter Obi, the presidential candidate of the Labour Party in the February 2023 presidential election, brushed politics aside and offered Tinubu a well-intentioned and genuine counsel which, if embraced by Mr President, will put paid to the ongoing controversy.
Rather than harangue and brow-beat Obi for his patriotic intervention as some Tinubu’s lackeys are doing, he should be applauded for prescribing the right antidote to a festering sore.
“We therefore agree with Obi that Tinubu should address Nigerians on this subject matter. As the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Tinubu’s identity should not be a matter of speculation.
If Nigerians did not have full knowledge of who he was before he was declared president, questions arising from the Chicago papers have compelled them to seek to know who their president is.
This, for us, is a simple and straightforward matter. Tinubu as Nigeria’s first citizen should gladly step forward to clear the air on areas of doubt about his identity and background. Making himself an object of gossip and unedifying banters is tantamount to debasing the Nigerian presidency.
“It is unconscionable for a president who claims to hold the people’s mandate to leave the same people to speculate about who he is. Public office is a trust. In other words, Tinubu occupies his present office on behalf of the people.
“The people should therefore, at all times, be in a position to talk freely and confidently about their president. But this can only be possible if his background is not cloaked in secrecy. The ongoing attempt at shielding the identity and background of Mr President from the public is therefore patently distasteful. It will only create the impression that the president has something to hide.”
The Neo Africana Centre concluded that, “It is regrettable that elements around the president are polluting the political space with divisiveness and bad blood just because the people who, ostensibly, voted the president into office are insisting on their right to know. Honour and integrity demand that the president should make full disclosures about his identity and background. Silence cannot be golden in this circumstance.”