Whichever angle one looks at it, there is no way Nigeria can escape a crisis from the ongoing certificate conundrum involving President Bola Ahmed Tinubu. From what has come to light so far, which has been the subject of discussions in the public sphere, our president, Tinubu, has a past strewn with all kinds of unedifying deeds at different times and at different locations which collectively cast unflattering light at him. These deeds appear so tardy and questionable leading one to wonder how our president with his loud claim to brilliance and intelligence would allow himself to get caught in these serial, unintelligent acts.
Going through President Tinubu’s records now in the public domain, one finds several ‘’smoking guns’’ that easily puncture the valiant attempts at deodorising them by his publicists. One can only pity them on the impossible job they are doing, but the facts still remain that from what we have seen and know so far President Tinubu’s credentials just do not add up.
On a closer look at the whole saga, what should concern us more is not that our president appears to have dodgy credentials, but the fact that due to the position he occupies, extricating Nigeria from this imbroglio will be as difficult as the proverbial camel to go through the eye of the needle.
Let us look at the various scenarios.
The immediate one on which there are great expectations both within Nigeria and outside is on what the Supreme Court verdict will be on the case now that new evidence on the president’s past is available with all the evidence now available.
Most people are inclined to agree that the apex court has its work cut out in this regard. Will the judges reach a verdict admit and base their judgement on the evidence most recently procured on the president’s credentials or decide otherwise?
It is a Hobson’s choice really and with the heightened interests in the case both here in Nigeria and abroad whichever way the court decides there are bound to be consequences. One of the consequences is that indeed the Judiciary itself is on trial on this one.
If the court admits the new documents, then it is almost likely that the weight of the evidence available will tilt the verdict against President Tinubu, resulting in his having to resign as president.
If on the other hand, the court decides to refuse admittance of the evidence and upholds the verdict of the lower court that ruled in favour of the President, a school of thought will emerge that the president was saved by technicality, not by merit of evidence available. But with the damning evidence already in the public space, it will be difficult to shake off the impression that the president was allowed to escape despite the hard, overwhelming evidence against him.
Under the circumstances, the argument and agitation would shift to the public space and the National Assembly. The social media and some mainstream media platforms will be awash with negative and incendiary comments on the president and there will be calls on the National Assembly to impeach him based on the evidence available.
The arguments and agitations here will not be based merely on legality but also on the propriety and morality of the president remaining in office with such heavy baggage of serial infractions weighing on him. And the National Assembly will be called frequently to save the country from the further indignity and embarrassment of having a president with such a dodgy past representing Nigeria in the comity of nations.
In considering whether to impeach the president or not the National Assembly will likely face the dilemma of political, regional and ethnic partisanship as against the need to protect the overriding national interest which some members will vigorously canvass. Like the Judiciary, the National Assembly will also be on trial.
So with the president already on trial, the judiciary having to make a crucial judgement on this landmark case and the National Assembly expected to decide whether to do its constitutional duties we will end up having all three arms of government on trial before the Nigerian public.
The palpable tension all this will engender in the country can be best imagined.
If against all this President Tinubu manages to hang on, he is likely to face enormous multi-dimensional challenges. The simple fact is that even if he escapes the judicial hammer of the Supreme Court, and impeachment from the National Assembly with the dodgy documents about him, it is unlikely he will seek a second term in office. President Tinubu’s hold on the party and administration will be weakened as his government will face all kinds of moral and political challenges.
Seeing that he is a damaged good and mortally wounded politically he will face an internal revolt from within his party the APC. This will certainly set the stage for the realignment of political forces on the back of issues around President Tinubu in the coming months.
President Tinubu’s problems will also be exacerbated by the tough socio-economic situation in the country which from all indications is likely to get worse in the coming months.
On the whole, even with its chequered history of political development, Nigeria faces a very uncertain future with the issues surrounding the Tinubu certificate saga and it is hardly surprising that this has engendered unease among many people.
‘’I fear the worst’’ says a retired top security officer among the many I spoke to on this subject. ‘’ I have been involved in issues of conflict resolution in this country but the much I can say looking at the issue is that only God can see us through in the coming months’’. Most people expressed similar views.
As Nigerians, Muslims and Christians alike, are known to always call for God’s intervention in the affairs of the country in order for things to be made right, this is perhaps the moment that God has finally decided to answer that abiding call.
As well may that be, what we have to bear in mind is that in making the call for God’s intervention the consequences and lessons as we have seen in other climes may not turn out the way we wish.