Atiku and Obi Raise Concerns After BBC Fact-Checkers Clear Tinubu of Certificate Forgery Accusations


The camps of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) standard bearer, Atiku Abubakar, and the Labour Party presidential candidate, Peter Obi, have raised objections in response to a BBC report that clears President Bola Tinubu of diploma forgery allegations.

The BBC’s Global Disinformation Team published a fact-checking report on Wednesday, stating that there is no evidence supporting the claim that Tinubu forged his Chicago State University diploma, which he submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission for the February presidential election.

According to the BBC report, the allegations of certificate forgery against Tinubu have been circulating on social media following the release of his CSU academic records. The controversy surrounding Tinubu’s certificate had been a point of contention in the election, with Atiku and Obi questioning its authenticity.

The report pointed out that the diploma discrepancies were due to the document being reissued in the 1990s, as the CSU’s diploma template had changed over the years. The report refuted claims that the certificate did not match the CSU’s format and highlighted the presence of the words “with honors” on the diploma, which was consistent with the diploma submitted by Tinubu to INEC.

In response to the BBC’s report, Atiku’s Special Assistant on Public Communications, Phrank Shaibu, criticized the report as a “hatchet job” and suggested that it was part of a propaganda campaign by the Tinubu administration to downplay the CSU scandal. He urged fact-checkers like the BBC to exercise caution and avoid errors in their reporting.

The PDP National Publicity Secretary, Debo Ologunagba, reiterated his party’s belief that Tinubu’s CSU certificate was not genuine and called for transparency in the matter. The Labour Party also expressed skepticism about the BBC report, suggesting it was an attempt to change the narrative surrounding the certificate saga.

On the other hand, the All Progressives Congress (APC) commended the BBC for its factual investigation, considering it a vindication of President Tinubu’s claims of innocence in the certificate controversy. The APC asserted that the BBC’s disinformation team’s report was sacrosanct and called for anyone doubting it to provide contrary evidence.

In response to the BBC report, Atiku challenged Tinubu to clarify the discrepancies in his CSU academic records, emphasizing that his former name was Siddiq Abubakar, which was written on his West Africa Examination Council certificate. He noted that Atiku had officially changed his name to Atiku Abubakar in 1973 via an affidavit.

The BBC’s report has elicited mixed reactions from Nigerians, with some supporting its findings and others questioning the methodology and conclusions. Human rights lawyer Inibehe Effiong criticized the report for its reliance on assumptions and conjecture, suggesting that it failed to answer crucial questions and lacked serious investigative depth.