It is no longer news that Nigerian lawmakers are one of the highest paid in the world, especially the Senators.
This makes the position of being a federal lawmaker a sacred one and attention is always on these legislators but they are still caught in the web of scandals ranging from corruption, bribery, adultery, certificate forgery, age falsification, among other offences.
Here are some prominent senators since the fourth republic that have been accused of certificate forgery.
In March 2017, the Senator representing Kogi West, Dino Melaye, came into news again, not for the first time but for an allegation that has continued to rock the political circles of Nigeria and has become a new order.
Melaye was accused by an online news medium, Sahara Reporters of not graduating from Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), leading to one of his colleagues, Senator Ali Ndume, calling for the upper legislative chamber to probe him for forgery and perjury.
In reaction to the allegations, Melaye boasted: “SaharaReporters, please sue me and ABU if it is true that I did not graduate from Zaria. Tell (the Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission) Magu (Ibrahim) to arrest and prosecute me. I’m presently a student of ABU pursuing my seventh degree.”
Meanwhile, Harvard University and the London School of Economics and Political Science, which Melaye had reportedly claimed to have graduated from, told Sahara Reporters that he did not study degree courses with them, and hence, couldn’t have graduated.
Melaye’s certificate scandal rocked the political circle, even the Vice Chancellor of ABU had to appear before the Senate but in all, the certificate issue died down with the school management issuing him another certificate.
The senator will be returning back to the senate for a second term having won his re-election bid in the 2019 general election.
The case of the Kogi Senator is not the first one in the history of legislators, in fact, the Nigerian Senate in the fourth republic was founded on Certificate Scandals.
It started with Evan Enwerem, the first Senate President of the fourth republic.
Enwerem, who was representing Imo-East Senatorial Zone was sworn-in as Senate President on June 3, 1999 but he did not hold the position for long as he was embroiled in a scandal involving forgery and perjury.
He was accused by colleagues in the Senate, said to be led by Senator Chuba Okadigbo (who eventually replaced him and was also booted out in a similar fashion in 2000), of using a fake name and falsifying academic records.
The allegation against Enwerem was that he falsified his name and a debate ensued as to whether Enwerem’s real name was Evan or Evans.
Eventually, he was removed as the senate president on November 18, 1999 but remained a senator until 2003 and was never prosecuted till he died in 2007.
Another lawmaker caught in the web of certificate forgery is Princess Stella Oduah-Ogiemwonyi.
Senator Stella Oduah’s profile on the National Assembly’s page, showed that she attended St. John’s Primary School and graduated in 1974 with a First School Leaving Certificate; Zixton Secondary School and graduated in 1978 with West African School Certificate; and St. Paul College and finished in 1982 with no certificate received indicated.
According to information gleaned from online sources, Oduah claimed she attended St. Paul’s College, Lawrenceville in Virginia, US, from 1978 to 1982, obtaining a first degree in Accounting and a master’s degree in 1983 but St. Paul’s College did not seem to have run a master’s programme.
On her former Wikipedia page, the former minister of aviation was also credited with having received an honorary doctoral degree in Business Administration from Pacific Christian University based in Glendale, a claim which was said to be preposterous, according to SAHARA REPORTERS which published a story accusing Oduah of falsely claiming to attend the academic institutions.
SAHARA REPORTERS stated that the then President of St. Paul’s College, Dr. Claud Flythe, refused to deny or confirm the senator’s claim when contacted.
The online news channel added that efforts to verify Oduah’s academic claim was fruitless as the institution’s Office of Alumni Affairs said the college had been closed since June 2013 due to loss of its accreditation.
In spite of these weighty allegations, the delectable senator has kept mum but the citation of her degree from St.Paul’s has been yanked off from her Wikipedia page which just states that she obtained her Bachelors and Master’s degree from the United States.
Oduah is currently a third-term senator representing Anambra North in the Senate, having secured re-election in the 2019 general election.
Another senator who made the list is Emmanuel Andy Nnamdi Uba.
He is well known as Andy Uba, with his photo-less profile on the National Assembly’s official website stating that he went to St James Primary School, Uga Aguata, Anambra State and Union Secondary School, Enugu State.
On the profile, it was observed that the space for dates he attended those schools was vacant.
He also claimed in the profile that he went to California State University, Los Angeles in 2013 with qualifications that read, “BA, P.HD, DPA AWARD,” just like the profile of every other federal lawmaker, it did not say much.
In 2006, there were claims that Andy Uba did not have a first degree in Geology which he said he obtained from Concordia University, Canada, in 1984.
His master’s degree from California State University was also said to be doubtful; same for his claim to have acquired a doctoral degree from Buxton University in the United Kingdom, as the institution was said to run unaccredited online degrees with an address in Portugal, which was not recognised by the United Kingdom.
Ikechukwu Obiorah had made these allegations in a bid to overturn Uba’s election as the senator representing Anambra South Senatorial District in 2011, asking the election tribunal to invalidate his election and order a rerun poll.
Meanwhile, Uba will not be returning to the Ninth Senate to represent Anambra South as he lost his third-term re-election bid in the 2019 general election.
Do you know another Senator battling certificate scandal at the moment? Let us know in the comment section