Nigeria: Keyamo, who sued Lagos assembly for absolving Tinubu of forgery, becomes his spokesman

By Akin Irede

Posted on Tuesday, 9 August 2022 16:25
Festus Keyamo. Twitter

Nigerian presidential candidate Bola Tinubu has appointed Festus Keyamo, who once sued the Lagos State house of assembly for clearing the then governor on allegations of certificate forgery, as spokesman for his campaign.

In the case entitled, ‘Keyamo vs Lagos State House of Assembly’ with docket number ID/639M/99, in 1999 Keyamo convoked all 41 members of the house before justice C.O Segun of the Lagos State high court and insisted that the chief judge investigate Tinubu for forgery.

Earlier, legendary activist and lawyer Gani Fawehinmi had accused Tinubu of forging his school certificates and sought an order of the court compelling the police to investigate him. The court ruled that because Tinubu enjoyed immunity at the time, only the Lagos State house of assembly could investigate him.

The assembly investigated him, and within a week it cleared him of all wrongdoing.

Continuing the challenge

Dissatisfied with that, Keyamo, who was a Fawehinmi protégé, sued all the members of the state legislature for clearing Tinubu.

In a motion, Keyamo noted that Tinubu had in the forms he submitted to the independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), stated that he attended Government College, Ibadan, from 1965 to 1968 and then proceeded to Richard Daley College, Chicago, Illinois, USA, from 1969 to 1971 before completing his studies at the Chicago State University in 1979 – but that he lost the school certificates.

Keyamo pointed out that based on the allegations that the certificates were forged, the Lagos State house of assembly set up a five-member panel that investigated Tinubu for only four days and could not have done a thorough job. He added that the assembly lacked the constitutional power to investigate perjury and its findings were thus null and void.

He therefore sought four reliefs, including a declaration by the court that “the final report submitted by the said five-man panel on Monday, September 27, 1999 to the defendants which in its totality cleared the governor of Lagos State, senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu of allegations of forgery and perjury is null and void and of no effect.”

However, the court threw out the matter because it was not supported by an affidavit. Keyamo took the case to the court of appeal, where he lost again, and then to the supreme court, where his attempt was finally defeated.

Certificate scandal again

Now Tinubu is running for the presidency of Nigeria on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC). Submitting his form to INEC, Tinubu only stated that he attended Chicago State University and left out the other schools. However, he stated that he could not find his certificates.

An inquiry by The Africa Report to Chicago State University revealed that Tinubu indeed attended the institution.

Nigerian politicians don’t have standards. They stand for no ideals or principles. It is the reason they can say one thing today and do the exact opposite the next day. It is the only reason someone like Keyamo, with his antecedents, can be singing the praises of a party like the APC.

“Mr. Tinubu did attend our university. However, if further information is needed, go to website to make a formal request,” said Beverly Poindexter from the office of the registrar.

However, many people have criticised Tinubu for failing to list all the schools he attended.

They argue that Tinubu must have used forged certificates from primary and secondary school to gain admission into university, hence his refusal to present these credentials.

The Africa Report has found out that there are many cases in court challenging his credentials.

In one, a political party, the Action Alliance, asked the court to disqualify Tinubu from the presidential race in a motion on notice with docket number FHC/ABJ/CS/954/2022.

Keyamo promotes Tinubu

Keyamo, who has since become a senior lawyer and a federal minister, now has the task of defending Tinubu’s integrity and the authenticity of his credentials and academic records.

When asked on Arise TV if Tinubu has his school certificate, Keyamo responded: “He has.”

Keyamo also said one did not need to attend primary school before going to university.

“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. One of the greatest lawyers in this country, Afe Babalola, did not get his formal education from the four walls of a school,” he added.

Speaking to The Africa Report, lawyer Yinka Aileru, lambasted Keyamo for trying to defend what he had denigrated.

“Nigerian politicians don’t have standards. They stand for no ideals or principles. It is the reason they can say one thing today and do the exact opposite the next day. It is the only reason someone like Keyamo, with his antecedents, can be singing the praises of a party like the APC,” he adds.

But Keyamo tells The Africa Report that he only went to court to challenge the legality of the process of clearing Tinubu.

“I only went to court to complain about the legality of a house of assembly investigating the issue. That it was outside their powers,” he says.

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