The seasonal search for missing credentials | #lovescams | #military | #datingscams

We have travelled this road before. Barely nine years ago, Nigeria was tinkering with the idea of replacing a PhD holder with a man who claimed his certificate was with army records. Back then, we, the candidate’s blind supporters opined that a general’s rank in a formal army different from Charle’s Taylor or Foday Sankor’s rebel army should be worth a school certificate.

With such excuses, those who think that paper qualifications have no place in the political arena concluded that if the general could present his NEPA (electricity bill), it would suffice to get elected. That was the end of the matter. In hindsight, some have argued that that was how desperate Nigerians felt in the face of the security challenges confronting the nation at that time. Finally, after the fact, Army Records, which supposedly kept all certificates, confessed that they could not locate this particular general’s diploma, if he had them. We live in a country that is not in a hurry to digitise anything for fear of taking power and daily bread from those who still carry files from one office to the other and who have the capacity to make vital files disappear.

In fairness to the general in question, he had classmates. They formed a solidarity old-men association and rallied to support their colleague.  It saved the general’s face and some say, his prestige. Once elected, one of the first things our general did was to drop his military title. In the comity of nations, being called a president has an aura to it than being addressed as a general. The latter had the ring of a trained killer to it.

Well, although our leader does not want to be thought of as a killer, those keeping tab say he has killed a lot of things, from decency in public office to security that ought to be his tough call. These enemies would argue further that this president has killed the economy, unity among the nations regions and religions and that even the unity of the nation is now hanging on a precarious thread. Thank God that is not how the president sees things. A few days ago, he boasted that he has made a lasting impact on the nation’s map. He should be believed – under his tactical command, Nigeria has become a centre of insurgency for different groups, but above all, it is the kidnap capital of the world. That is an indelible mark to leave on a nation of nearly 300 million.

This is why it is curious that the general’s potential successor has boldly declared that he does not possess any paper qualification that could be presented to an auditor. You would expect that in the 21st Century, a political party fielding a presidential candidate of a nation from a region that won the Nobel Prize in Literature field one with elementary diplomas. You may be wrong for thinking so. In our clime, the mainly patriarchal loose associations calling themselves political parties bear no semblance to the universal definition of political parties even by the standards of Putin’s Russia.

This potential successor is most unlikely to court controversy. He has held several political offices that, like our general should qualify as secondary certificate. As far as this candidate could remember, he has no known high school classmates that could rally round him. That is nothing new in any society where brilliant pupils under the tutelage of private coaches have turned out better than those that studied under the four walls of formal schools.

Our party’s candidate, being a high-flying professional before joining politics is said to have blamed poverty for his lack of elementary qualifications. However, according to his biographers, he attended American schools, just like our outgoing general. The trouble is, unknown soldiers attacked his home sometime while he was in the trenches fighting for the entrenchment of democracy and carted away his credentials. They must have hoped to clip his political wings with that singular act. It has not worked. He succeeded in becoming a senator, a two-term governor and by sheer grit has emerged as his party’s flag bearer.

Unfortunately, he has not had the presence of mind, due to his incredibly tight schedule to write his American alma mater to ask for a copy of his certificate especially since he finally put an unbridgeable gap between himself and poverty. He is hoping that as Idi Amin was once reported to have said – what is good for the Jews is good for Uganda. Our candidate wants to bury this obsession with paper qualifications that he has sworn to an affidavit not to be queried for his lack of it.

Our candidate and his media Rottweilers believe an affidavit is due diligence that should keep this matter adjourned sine die. They think that there is absolutely no need drawing the unnecessary ire of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, PETA by beating a dead horse.

Non-Nigerians might find this whole saga absolutely ludicrous. They shouldn’t because we Nigerians don’t. If the foreigners look hard enough around them, they would find qualified Nigerians are hardly found at home. With the exception of the Nobel Laureate, most award-winning Nigerians have abandoned ship for nation’s ready to polish their stars. Our ruling party’s candidate swore to this affidavit in the hope that nosey parkers would just let sleeping dogs lie.

Asking how a man born in Western Nigeria under Obafemi Awolowo’s free education missed elementary and high school is like raking old wounds. Besides, due diligence means that when a man comes clean on his lack of paper qualifications, we should spare him the debate and admit his affidavit in evidence.

Before this paper qualification distraction attempted to shift emphasis from what is important, a high-flying politician Nigerian landed in a London jail last week after what the British claimed were attempts at human trafficking and organ harvesting. The man in question transported another person to London in the hope that he would stick by what appears to be an agreement to donate a kidney to a beloved daughter who needed one. While the man, a Nigerian senator and visiting professor to Lincoln University in the UK reportedly informed the British authorities of his plan; it did not stop Britain, which labels Nigeria as ‘fantastically corrupt’ from swooping on the man and his beloved wife. They accused the senator of trafficking an under-aged to London with a view to harvesting his organ. The senator’s friends released a few pictures of the ‘under-aged’ in question showing that he was nothing but a juvenile. Somehow the senator, although a lawyer was unable to convince British courts that the boy in question was anything more than a minor and so, they sent him and his wife to a detention facility pending the advice of the public prosecutor.

The story also strategically ‘leaked’ to local and global press increasing Nigeria’s notorious image abroad. Not only are we now supposedly under the radar from everything from drug trafficking to 419 and love scams, we would now have to prove that our under-aged children and wards are indeed ours and that we mean well by attempting to take them abroad.




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