By Hope I. Igbonezu
My father wanted me to study Law in the university because he knew I would scale the cutoff mark in the UTME. I refused and chose to study English instead. As it turned out, I scored 302 in the UTME of 2019, placing me at the top of candidates seeking admission into the English department of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, my first choice.
Today, I feel I did the right thing by disobeying my father. So many judgements coming out from Nigerian courts in recent years have made me congratulate myself on choosing to avoid a cult of liars and manipulators. Yes, I was a baby in 2007 when the apex court ruled that someone who was not a candidate in an election should be sworn in as governor of Rivers State. While that seemed a fairy tale to me — since I heard and read the story many years after — I witnessed a similar judgement last year. The same Supreme Court ruled that two senators who didn’t participate in the primaries were their parties’ candidates. God exposed them when one Senator Bulkachuwa, on the floor of the Senate this year, revealed that he had been using his wife, president of the Court of Appeal, to influence judgements in favour of his co-senators. None of the several agencies pretending to be fighting corruption has arrested that sinful senator or his judge wife or other judges she might have influenced. Perhaps, the matter has been resolved in a cult or a coven.
I’m still a student because we lost almost two academic years to ASUU strikes. However, the strike of last year was, in a way, good for many of us students, as it enabled us to participate actively in electioneering for 2023. We followed all political events on social media, and I voted for the first time on February 25. I won’t lie like some of our professors: I voted for Peter Gregory Obi and all other Labour Party candidates.
Those of us who voted for the first time this year have been let down, however. We saw “professors” lying like captured thieves. We saw “professors” cheating, stealing votes and manipulating results. We’ve seen injustices oozing out from Nigerian election tribunals. And I speak for 95% of Nigerian students who voted in, and have been watching the aftermath of, the heavily compromised polls.
It has been proven beyond all reasonable doubt that the president of our country, Bola Tinubu, forged the Chicago State University certificate he submitted to INEC. Yet, the election tribunal ignored that fact and danced on technicalities. Even the secondary school he claimed he attended didn’t exist by the time he graduated, yet our judges have turned a blind eye to that fact also.
The worst case so far that has exposed Nigerian courts happened in Enugu State where the NYSC has disclaimed the discharge certificate submitted by PDP candidate Peter Mbah. I have yet to understand the judgement of that woman, Kudirat Akano, and her gang. They said they won’t accept the testimony of the NYSC because it was not filed on day one. A witness invited by the court to testify? The same tribunal disagreed that votes were made up at Nkanu East where the BVAS was discarded and 30,000 votes awarded to the PDP candidate even though 15,000 voters were accredited to vote. Well, another tribunal has nullified the House of Assembly election in the same Nkanu East for over-voting, non-use of BVAS and other electoral crimes. And both elections were held at the same time on the same day.
What we students are waiting for now is a proclamation by the Supreme Court of Nigeria that exam fraud and certificate forgery are no longer crimes under Nigerian law. Some election tribunals, including the presidential one, have indicated it’s the way to go. But lawyers have told us that a confirmation from the highest court in the land is needed for it to become law.
So we’re waiting for the final word. Most of us are not expecting anything good. But, if care is not taken, some of us students will withdraw from school. Why should anyone waste his time and his parents’ money in school when he could print a certificate by a roadside? Why work hard to make a second class when you could award yourself a first-class certificate? Why bother to go for the NYSC when you can print a more beautiful certificate without wasting one year of your life?
How I wish the court would set that precedent! Any student who remained in school after such pronouncement would be nothing but a mugu. After all, what have people been doing with even genuine certificates? There is no job, even if you studied Medicine and Surgery. You don’t acquire skills at school to help you employ yourself later. Lecturers don’t teach much, and that is for those who show up in classes at all before they set exams. You bribe supposed professors to pass their courses. The same professors talk of exam malpractice and expel students caught, yet they themselves rig elections for politicians.
University education in Nigeria is a scam. Now we’re being told that INEC, courts and other institutions are bigger scams. A new order beckons! Thanks to “courageous” judges, many young people may soon start schooling at home and, when necessary, print any certificate of their choice.
History tells us that a presidential election was cancelled in 1993 because the result went against the wish of the cabal or cult that decided Nigeria’s fate at the time. This year, 30 years later, the victims of that injustice are now our oppressors. That means democracy is not the issue. What kind of democracy exists in a cult of evildoers?
● This trending piece on social media says Igbonezu is a student of UNN