More revelations have surfaced indicting Nigeria’s President-elect, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, of perjury when he stated in the INEC EC9 declaration form submitted to the Commission that he has not obtained any other citizenship.
A photo of a Guinean passport purportedly issued to Tinubu on October 6 2015, has been circulated on social media, along with a copy of his declaration stating that he had not in the past voluntarily acquired the citizenship of any other country, nor changed his nationality.
The new revelation has further cast a shadow over Tinubu’s inauguration billed to hold in less than five weeks, as the controversies surrounding his personality are brought to the fore.
Section 137 (1) of the 1999 constitution as amended states that a person shall not be qualified for election to the office of President if he has voluntarily acquired the citizenship of a country other than Nigeria or, except in such cases as may be prescribed by the National Assembly, he has made a declaration of allegiance to such other country.
A popular Nigerian investigative journalist and activist, David Hundeyin, who also shared the documents, claimed that Tinubu was issued with a diplomatic Guinean passport but lied under oath in his form that he had not obtained any other citizenship.
“But he has Guinean citizenship, with his Guinean passport stating clearly that he was born in Nigeria – which means he obtained Guinean citizenship. This is perjury. Lying under oath,” he said.
Perjury is the intentional act of swearing a false oath or falsifying an affirmation to tell the truth, whether spoken or in writing, concerning matters material to an official proceeding.
A diplomatic passport is used by high-ranking government officials to travel internationally with more ease and is usually tightly restricted to accredited diplomats.
The holder of this type of passport can cross international borders while bypassing a lot of the typical travel regulations that regular passport holders must follow.
A Google policy fellow, Ebuka Eze, said the revelation that Tinubu holds dual citizenship with Guinea Conakry, which he never disclosed, raises significant concerns about his eligibility to hold the hallowed office of the President.
“This is not only a violation of the Nigerian constitution but also a betrayal of the trust of the Nigerian people. Undivided loyalty to one’s country is a fundamental requirement for anyone seeking to hold public office, especially the highest office in the land,” he said.
Eze added that as a public figure, Tinubu has a duty to disclose “ALL relevant information about himself, particularly when it comes to issues that may affect his eligibility for office. The office of the President is one of utmost good faith, not mere bona fide!”
Other Nigerians are calling for the issue of Tinubu’s dual citizenship to be thoroughly investigated and addressed by the authorities, to ensure that section 137 of the Nigerian constitution which seeks to ensure that the President of Nigeria is not in a position to be unduly influenced by any foreign power, is preserved.
Tinubu and his media team are yet to react to the fresh allegation.
Previous controversies surrounding Tinubu
Tinubu, a former Governor of Lagos State had been accused of inconsistencies about his place of birth, age, academic certificates, business deals and the circumstances that led him to forfeit the sum of $460,000 to the government of the United States of America, USA, over drug trafficking allegations in 1993.
Tinubu was also dragged to court by the Code of Conduct Bureau over an allegation that he operated foreign accounts during his term in office between 1999 and 2007, contrary to Nigerian laws.
A Nigerian chartered accountant, Dapo Apara, in 2020 also accused Tinubu, a consulting firm, Alpha-Beta, and a former Lagos State commissioner, Akin Doherty, of money laundering, fraud, tax evasion and other corrupt practices.
In the months leading up to the February 25 presidential election, there were numerous videos of Tinubu’s supposed gaffes during campaign rallies and public meetings, and many Nigerians expressed concern that he did not have the physical or mental strength required to administer the office of the president, a factor that could have disqualified him from contesting according to the provision of Section 137 (C).