Persistent Issue of Certificate Forgery Plagues Nigerian Politics: High-Profile Politicians Caught in Allegations and Speculations

Persistent Issue of Certificate Forgery Plagues Nigerian Politics: High-Profile Politicians Caught in Allegations and Speculations

…By Larry John for TDPel Media. Certificate forgery has become a persistent issue in Nigerian politics, generating continuous discussions and investigations.


Some allegations are proven true while others remain mere speculations.

Over the years, prominent figures such as President Muhammadu Buhari, former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, and several high-profile politicians have faced accusations of certificate forgery or missing credentials.

These scandals often require individuals in elected or appointed positions to defend themselves in court.

In many cases, the allegations are unsubstantiated and lack evidence, leading to dismissals.

However, some individuals have been found guilty of the charges.

The trend of certificate forgery continued during and after the 2023 general elections, creating further controversies and debates.


Case Studies: Allegations and Outcomes

Goodluck Jonathan: Former President Goodluck Jonathan faced accusations of forging his PhD certificate.

The allegation was made by former President Olusegun Obasanjo and caused a significant uproar within the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

However, the University of Port Harcourt, where Jonathan studied, dismissed the insinuation, stating that it lacked grounds.

The university also denied a request for Jonathan’s academic records through the Freedom of Information (FoI) Act.

Muhammadu Buhari: President Muhammadu Buhari was embroiled in an alleged certificate scandal when he became the presidential flag bearer of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in 2015.

The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) questioned the availability of Buhari’s secondary school certificate.

Despite these allegations, Buhari won the presidential election.

In 2018, similar concerns were raised when he sought reelection and did not include his academic credentials in the documents submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for the 2019 presidential election.


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Eventually, the West African Examination Council (WAEC) issued an “attestation certificate” confirming Buhari’s secondary education.

Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu: The former Governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, faced scrutiny during the 2023 presidential election for not presenting his academic certificates to INEC.

Although Tinubu omitted information about his primary and secondary education in the INEC form, he stated that he attended Chicago State University.

Despite the controversy, Tinubu emerged as the winner of the 2023 presidential election.

Salisu Buhari:

Salisu Buhari, the former Speaker of the House of Representatives, became notorious for certificate scandals in 1999.

Shortly after his election, he admitted to falsifying his age and educational qualifications.

Buhari claimed to have a bachelor’s degree from the University of Toronto, but he only obtained a diploma.

He resigned as Speaker following the controversy and was expelled from Ahmadu Bello University for faking credentials.


He later admitted guilt publicly and sought forgiveness and another opportunity to serve the country.

Senator Ademola Adeleke:

The incumbent Governor of Osun State, Senator Ademola Adeleke, faced accusations of falsifying his West African Senior School Certificate Examination results and secondary school testimonial.

Two members of his party filed a lawsuit against him, seeking his disqualification from the 2019 governorship election.

However, the Osogbo High Court cleared Adeleke to contest the election.

Another lawsuit was filed by different plaintiffs, but the Court of Appeal later cleared Adeleke, affirming that he possessed the necessary educational qualifications.

Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo: Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo was the running mate of David Lyon, who won the governorship election in Bayelsa State in November 2019.

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However, the Supreme Court sacked Lyon less than 24 hours before his inauguration due to disqualification.

The court ruled that Degi-Eremienyo, Lyon’s running mate, had submitted forged credentials to INEC, which affected Lyon’s candidacy as they ran on a joint ticket.


Kemi Adeosun:

Kemi Adeosun, a former Minister of Finance, resigned from her position after allegations arose that she had forged her National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) exemption certificate.

However, in July 2022, a Federal High Court in Abuja cleared her of any wrongdoing related to the NYSC certificate charges.

Christian Abah:

Christian Abah, a member of the House of Representatives representing Ado/Okpokwu/Ogbadigbo Federal Constituency in Benue State, had his tenure cut short by the Supreme Court in March 2017.

The court upheld a previous judgment that Abah had submitted a forged academic qualification certificate to INEC.

As a result, Hassan Saleh, Abah’s first runner-up in the PDP primary held in 2014, was issued a fresh certificate of return.

Bello Masari:

Governor Bello Masari was accused in 2015 of forging his secondary school certificate.

However, the Supreme Court dismissed the case due to a lack of evidence, and Masari continued to serve as the state’s leader.

James Ibori:

James Ibori, the former governor of Delta State, faced allegations in 2007 that he had forged his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Benin.


These allegations were investigated, but Ibori’s conviction in the United Kingdom on corruption charges in 2012 was not primarily based on the certificate forgery accusations.

Dimeji Bankole:

Dimeji Bankole, the former Speaker of the House of Representatives, faced rumors in 2010 that he had not completed his National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) and had submitted fake discharge documents.

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Bankole provided his NYSC certificate to refute the rumors.

Peter Mbah:

The Enugu State Governor-elect, Peter Mbah, faced accusations of certificate forgery just days before his inauguration.

The controversy stemmed from the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) disavowing the certificate submitted to INEC.

Mbah filed a case against the NYSC, seeking damages for the harm caused to his reputation.

He and his party, the PDP, maintain that the NYSC’s claims are false.


Certificate forgery has remained an ongoing issue in Nigerian politics, with both true cases and mere speculations emerging year after year.


Prominent politicians, including presidents, governors, and lawmakers, have faced allegations of forging or missing credentials.

While some allegations have been dismissed due to a lack of evidence, others have resulted in findings of guilt.

The controversies surrounding certificate forgery continue to shape the political landscape of Nigeria, prompting debates and legal battles.


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About the Author:

Larry John is a talented writer and journalist based in New York, USA. He is a valued contributor to TDPel Media, where he creates engaging and informative content for readers. Larry has a keen interest in current events, business, and technology, and he enjoys exploring these topics in-depth to provide readers with a comprehensive understanding of the issues. His writing style is characterized by its clarity, precision, and attention to detail, which make his articles a pleasure to read. Larry’s passion for storytelling has earned him a reputation as a skilled writer and a respected authority in his field.

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