Wednesday, October 17, 2029
When Nigerians again got alerted by the news of another certificate scandal of one of their leaders, the reactions were very clear: never again!
In the Friday, 18th May publication of Panoroma Newspaper, a report authored by Kunle Ademola alleged that President Bamayi Bango did not sit for the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) examination before gaining admission into the University of Benin, and therefore had obtained his first degree certificate under false pretense. Ademola further alleged that his findings revealed that the president did not attend any pre-degree course but was directly admitted for a degree course - a move contrary to the laws governing university admission process.
A day after the publication, the presidency issued a press release refuting the claim and attaching copies of the credentials of the president’s JAMB examination registration and result. In addition, the president personally sent a letter of authorization to JAMB to give copies of his credentials to anybody that requested for it.
This came at a time when the question of eligibility of one of the president’s aids was raised by some lawmakers on the ground that the Higher National Diploma (HND) is no equivalent of a bachelor’s degree. This case has now been put to rest.
When Ademola noticed that the proofs provided by the president were already looking powerful enough to debunk his allegations, he quickly offered an apology and withdrew his statements. He stated that he regretted not doing proper verification of the news before publication.
This was nonetheless a futile move, as the president was determined to defend his statement that “Nigerians should never again have any reason whatsoever to raise questions of certificate verification about any presidential candidate [let alone president] of this nation.” He said “I needed to nicely prove him wrong first; but I also need to discourage anyone from libelous acts and disrespect for the office of the President of Nigeria.”
Ademola, along with the Editor-in-Chief of Panorama Newspaper, Kingsley Oworu, was arrested, arraigned; and yesterday, each of them bagged 9 years in prison for various charges - including libel and negligence.
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