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Since 1999, only few men have bestridden Nigeria’s political landscape like a colossus as the current National Leader of the All Progressives Congress. As the ultimate kingmaker, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, has anointed governors and frustrated the ambitions of those who would not kowtow to his political vision. As he concluded the celebrations for his alleged 69th birthday, it has been revealed that like many other Nigerian citizens who engage in this despical act, the political juggernaut Asiwaju Bola Tinubu has falsified his age.
The 69th birth anniversary of the national leader of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, has prompted populist scepticism and questions over the real age of the renowned politician and former Governor of Lagos State. Several Nigerians took to their social media platforms to express their doubts over the age of the politician who is celebrating 69 years in March 2021. The people raised questions of integrity in relation to claims of age or pretenses of celebrating his false age.
Sturdy analysis carried out by Africa Daily News, New York and some other reputable media companies have observed that the first wife of Tinubu died at the age of 74 years, while the first son died at 43 years, yet, Tinubu is marking 69 years birthday in 2021. More strong pieces of evidence pointed out that the renowned politician couldn’t be the age he is claiming, being 24 years older than his son and many years younger than the first wife. This is why serious projections have put his age at somewhere between 85 to 90.
This would not be the first time Asiwaju Bola Tinubu would be engaging in blatant fraudulent manoeuvres to suit his insatiable hunger for power and political dominance in Nigeria. He was once slammed with an allegation that he forged a certificate for an International school. In 1999, one Dr. Waliu Balogun had written a petition against Tinubu that he did not attend the University of Chicago as indicated in his INEC form 001 filled when he contested the Lagos State governorship poll and that he also lied in the affidavit he attached to the INEC form, in which he declared that he lost his university degree certificate while he was in exile between 1994 and 1998. Balogun’s litany of complaints included accusations that Tinubu’s claim of attending Government College, Ibadan, was false; and that he lied in the INEC form about his age – that he was born in 1952 as against the 1954 he filled in the documents at the University of Chicago. Tinubu was also accused of not participating in the compulsory one-year NYSC exercise.
Generating a lot of furore, Tinubu was forced to present the original copy of his certificate while he dismissed the allegations as ‘baseless, wicked and unfortunate.’ Notwithstanding, that year, a firebrand lawyer and human rights activist, Gani Fawehinmi, went to court to compel the Inspector General of Police to investigate Tinubu. Fawehinmi did not live long enough to finish the lawsuit. In 2013, however, one Dr. Dominic Adegbola filed an unsuccessful application seeking to reopen the suit.
This goes a long way to show how desperate Nigerian leaders and politicians are when it comes to clinching and retaining power. And this phenomenon of falsification of age, documents and other credentials are not limited to just the politicians alone. It is also rampant amongst Nigerian citizens in every level, status or pedigree. It is so common amongst Nigerians that two Nigerians out of three are either actively engaging in age, document falsification or they have done it in the past.
There are numerous reasons why Nigerians would chose to falsify their age and documents, the most common reasons for these are to avoid marriage stigmatization (especially among the females in Nigeria), they also do it at their workplaces to give them an added advantage over a position they are vying for or to retain a position that they are already occupying. Many Nigerian Tertiary institution students also engage in age falsification to aid them to get better advantages in the National Youth Service scheme. Time and time again, a few scapegoats are caught but this does not deter some other students from engaging in it.
Another reason which is not limited to Nigerians alone is in the sports sector. Age fraud in sports is age fabrication or the use of false documentation to gain an advantage over opponents. In football, it is common amongst players belonging to nations where records are not easily verifiable. The media often refer to the player with false documentation as an ‘age-cheat’. There are several reasons why players choose to use false documentation. European scouts are looking for young talented players from poorer countries to sign for a European club. The players know that there is a lesser chance of being signed if they are, for example, 23 years old as opposed to 17 years old as there would be less time for the club to develop the player. Age fabrication also allows an older player to enter in youth competitions and it attracts some other obvious benefits like salary increment and longer transfer durations. Although Nigerian sportsmen and women are not notorious for age fabrication, a few never do wells are usually caught and sampled out for punishment to serve as a deterrent to others who plan to engage in age or document fabrication.
Age or document falsification is a huge crime that should always be investigated and ironed out. It is completely unfortunate that the Nigerian Government and other security forces would rather choose to turn a blind eye to this fast-growing menace than deal with it decisively. They avoid it because many of them who hold powerful positions are all guilty of the same offence.
AFRICA DAILY NEWS, NEW YORK