Saturday, August 13, 2016 4:23 pm
Budget padding has made the House of Representatives, a butt of snide remarks. For political observers, the lower legislative chamber is no stranger to scandals. Just after the military blew the bugle of their return to the barracks, the House of Representatives was shaken by age and certificate scam, perpetrated by its Speaker, Salisu Buhari. We publish the story below, entitled:
Salisu Buhari: The Crook In The House
Documents and facts prove beyond doubt that the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Alhaji Ibrahim Salisu Buhari, has not been honest in his age declaration and academic qualifications.
By Tayo Odunlami
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Alhaji Ibrahim Salisu Buhari, is reputed to have amassed a fortune dealing in computers. But even his hardware cannot tidy the differentials in certain claims he has been flaunting. No matter how he manipulates the figures, they just won’t add up.
In the build-up to his election as speaker, the claims began flying about. As early as February this year, Buhari had indicated the desire to contest the coveted seat of the speaker, a position that confers on him the position of Nigeria’s number four citizen. The people’s Democratic Party (PDP), of which he is a member, had then zoned the office to the North-West. A Hausa/Fulani from Kano State, Buhari was quick to gobble at the opportunity the zoning presented to actualize his desire. In his base, Buhari rang around, most times with inducements, to secure the approval of 20 fellow elected representatives in the state. From there, he travered the entire geo-political zone, selling his ambition to his colleagues. At a caucus meeting of the party held in Kaduna in March, the legislators-elect from the zone endorsed Buhari by 50 out of 65 votes.
By the eve of the election it was apparent Buhari was coasting home with victory. From his Room 914 at the Sheraton Hotel and Towers in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, the young politician, who began politics last year April, doled out what one colleague of his euphemized as “so much goodwill” to sway support in his favour. It was, therefore, not, surprising that on 3 June when the election was held, Buhari defeated his main rival, Alhaji Abubakar Sadiq Yar’Adua, a journalist, overwhelmingly.
What was, however, the surprise was how the hierarchy of the PDP allowed Buhari an elevation to the exalted position. TheNEWS investigations revealed that as early as late May, the national chairman of PDP, Chief Solomon Daushep Lar, had been informed that Buhari was a fraud despicable enough to “place the party and our PDP government in a very embarrassing situation.” In a letter written by the Network For Democracy, “an organization for sustaining democracy in Nigeria,” and dated 28 May 1999, Lar was told in clear terms that Buhari is a compulsive, pathological liar. The letter, signed by the organization’s secretary-general, Dr. Ahmed Muktar, strove to puncture certain claims the speaker brandished in his curriculum vitae. In his phoney bio-data which he curiously still holds on to, Buhari claims “that he is 36 years old, that he obtained a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of Toronto, Canada in 1990; that he obtained a diploma in Accountancy from Ahmadu Bello university, Zaria, in 1988; and that he served as a youth corper in 1991.”
Expressing concern on “the need for credibility in the caliber of people required to lead the affairs of the Honourable House , the network conducted an investigation on these claims. Its enquiries yielded some shocking discoveries.
(a) Ibrahim Salisu Buhari was actually born in 1970;
(b) He was admitted into Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, but was withdrawn because he falsified his credentials.
(c) That he was at no time a student of the University of Toronto in Canada and did not obtain a degree in Business Administration;
(d) He did not take part in the national youth service (NYSC)
Muktar wrapped up in the Network’s revelations by advising the party leadership “to address these issues with a view to saving the party and the PDP government the likely embarrassment of blessing a fraudulent and an unqualified speakership candidate.”
These revelations threw Buhari up as a brazen con man. According to the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Buhari is not qualified for election as a member of the House of the Representatives in the first place. Section 65 Section 1(b) disqualified anybody under 30 years from contesting membership of the House of Representatives in the first place.
Sub-section 2(a) of the same section requires an academic qualification of at least, the senior secondary school certificate.
But Buhari has consistently insisted he meets all these requirements. In the wake of the network’s allegations, Buhari sweated to convince his political colleagues he was, indeed, born on 3 January 1963. Before the lawmakers, he struggled to defend the claims he made in a newspaper advertorial published in the Tuesday, 25 May edition of ThisDay. Buhari claimed he began his educational pursuit at the Shababul Islamic School in 1969. In 1975, according to him, he left the school and commenced his primary education at St. Louis’ Primary School, Kano. He claimed to have left St. Louis in 1981 and in the same year gained admission to King’s College, Lagos. Between 1986 and 1988, he studied accounting at the national diploma level at the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. If he is to be believed. Buhari also said he studied Business Administration at the University of Toronto, Canada, from 1988 to 1990 and did his national youth service at Standard Construction, Kano.
Buhari was able to sweet-tongue his way into the hearts of some of his colleagues. Whatever his smooth delivery could not accomplish was leveled by what a member of the House described as ‘purchasing and supply. “If Buhari could, he did not reckon with independent investigations.”
After thorough probing, TheNEWS can authoritatively confirm the allegations against Mr. Speaker. Contrary to his unabashed claim that he was born on 3 January 1963, inconvertible documents show Buhari was born on 3 January 1970. The admission form the young Ibrahim Salisu filled while marching into the distinguished classrooms of King’s College, Lagos, in September 1981 clearly attests to that fact. Ditto the school leaving certificate number 5342 he was issued on 24 September 1986 after his five-year course. These two documents confirm a fact: Buhari is 29 year old. This disclosure, therefore, automatically nullifies his membership of the House of Representatives. The “awaiting GCE O/L results” certificate, signed by Mr. S.O. Agun, the then principal, acknowledged Buhari as “a quite, well-behaved boy.” But it also qualified him as a student of “average academic ability.” Agun, however, believed the boy “could be more hardworking.”
When TheNEWS called the current principal of King’s College, Mr. S.I Balogun, on phone to throw more light on the issue, he was evasive.
The principal would not “discuss any student with the press.” Balogun, however, caught himself in a web of contradictions when, after expressing ignorance of Buhari’s enrolment in 1981 and exit from the school in 1986, he described him as “a good boy.” Evidently, the principal was in a quandary. The source of his state of mind was soon made manifest. When asked if it was possible for a 23-year-old boy to sit for the senior secondary school certificate examination, Balogun retorted: “I don’t know about that. Everything you want has been requested by the Presidency. And, we have replied them.”
Buhari seemed to have heeded the advice of Agun, his secondary school principal. Since 1986, he has, indeed, been “more hardworking,” even if it has been in some sly, questionable directions. Between 1986 and 1988, he claimed to have attended Ahmadu Bello university (ABU), Zaria, for a national diploma in accounting. But the Network for Democracy, while admitting Buhari was actually admitted at ABU, alleged he was rusticated when it was discovered he was admitted “on the basis of falsified credential.”
What is indubitable now is the revelation that Buhari did not attend University of Toronto, Canada, as he is claiming. TheNEWS’ search for confirmation from the university authorities is quite revealing. First TheNEWS found that Toronto University does not offer an undergraduate course in Business Administration. The only business administration course available is being offered by the Joseph L. Rotman School of Management. And, it is for MBA students. Second, TheNEWS was told that even if Buhari entered for any programme at the university, it is impossible that he would be awarded a first degree in two years.
“Not even exceptionally brilliant students can pass through the university, so quickly,” said an African teacher at the university, last week.
Of course, Buhari’s academic pedigree completely ruled him out of this advantage. At KC, he was described as an “average student.”
Buhari’s lies about Toronto were finally punctured by a short, sharp and direct reply signed by Miss Angie Camardi, the university’s record officer: “We have searched our records and are unable to verify attendance or graduation for Mr. Buhari.” Miss Camardi added that efforts at trying “several variations of his name” with a view at eliminating doubts “came up with no records. “ TheNEWS’ own enquiries in Toronto generated a response from Carlo Villanueva of the Office of Statistics, Records and Convocations. In a reply dated 8th July, Villanueva said “Regarding your request for confirmation of degree for Mr. Ibrahim Salisu Buhari. We have searched our records and could not find anybody with the name you are inquiring with”
Needless to say, Buhari’s words that he did the youth service in 1991 cannot but be spurious. Checks at the NYSC secretariat in Abuja could not produce his name among the 1991 corpers who served in the scheme. The Standard Construction Company, Kano, where he claimed to have done his service year is, in fact, a family concern incorporated on 8 March 1972. Its registration number is 9905. Buhari claimed he was at once its accountant and a director.
The Presidency has not been unaware of the simmering scandal Buhari’s fictitious claims is generating. TheNEWS understood that, worried by the spate of petitions flying about on the Speaker, Aso Rock has waded into the matter. The Presidency was said to have contacted officials of the various schools Buhari claimed to have attended. Mr. Balogun, principal of King’s College, Lagos, confirmed this development. Alarmed by the veracity of the unfolding scenario, the Presidency mandated the National Security Adviser (NSA), Lt-General Aliyu Muhammed Gusau (retd) to get to the root of the matter. Gusau, source said, conducted an investigation on the website of the University of Toronto to ascertain Buhari’s insistence that he was indeed, its alumnus. The result tallied with Carmadi’s message: there was nobody in the university’s record with the name of Ibrahim Salisu Buhari.
Consequent upon this confirmation, Gusau made an attempt to uphold the present administration’s vow to fight corruption. The NSA was said to have contacted Buhari and told him he may be prosecute for forgery. Events thereafter made nonsense of the oft-repeated boast of President Olusegun Obasanjo that there would be no sacred cows in his anti-corruption drive. When Salisu Buhari, father of the Speaker heard of government’s intention, he swung into action. The elder Buhari is an old political warhorse who began his political career in First Republic on the platform of Chief Obafemi Awolowo’s Action Group. He later crossed to Mallam Aminu Kano’s Northern Elements Progressive Union. In the Second Republic, he finally found home among the conservative elements in the national party of Nigeria (NPN). An enormously wealthy businessman, he is well-connected in all ramifications.
Buhari, the father, was said to have contacted many retired top military officers in the North to prevail on Gusau to sheath his sword. Principal among those delegated to have the ears of the NSA was former dictator, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida. Also at work in the fire-brigade mission was the recently-retired Assistant Inspector General of Police, Alhaji Salisu Daura, the speaker’s uncle. Eventually Gusau succumbed under the weight of enormous pressure. “The NSA had to discontinue investigations and possible prosecution of the speaker when the pressure became too much,” said a source: But the capitulation wasn’t without a foreboding. Gusau was understood to have foreseen a national scandal emanating from the hushed affair. Apprehensive, members of his family were, therefore, prevailed upon to persuade the young speaker to quietly resign his position before the lid is blown.
This advice was either not delivered to Buhari or he has proven most recalcitrant in ignoring it. In a rather melodramatic fashion, the speaker has been playing the saint with pretentious proclamations of a crusade against corruption. He once gloated: “Personally, I am not corrupt in nature and I am very happy that the president has indicated interest that there would be an anti-corruption commission,” Buhari was confident he would work comfortably with the proposed anti-corruption commission.
But was he? And, would he? Sources close to him said statement was just another of his double-speak. “When the chips are down, he would say another thing fast,” contended the source. Witnesses to the cosy relationship that existed between (Salisu) Buhari and Abacha while the vermin lasted are still flummoxed by the cacophony of denials that has been tumbling from the speaker’s mouth. TheNEWS learnt Buhari has garnered quite some tidy millions of naira supplying computer to the epileptic National Electricity Power Authority during the evil General Sani Abacha’s regime. He was also believed to be very close to Ibrahim, Abacha’s first son who died in a plane crash in 1996. No a few people suspect that the speaker may be sitting on a whopping sum of money generated from that relationship with Ibrahim.
Buhari has come a long way from the bright-eyed, “quite, well-behaved boy” that walked out of the gates of the elite King’s College, Lagos in 1986. While at the King’s College, young Salisu played hockey. Now, much wiser in the ways of the world, he is playing tricks. The age juggling is one. The certificate scam is another. The spurious claim that he spent six years learning the Quran is yet another. The contagion appears to have spread to as simple an ethic as the incorporation of his so-called business. TheNEWS, in the course of sniffing, could not see evidence of registration of three of his eight business concerns. Registered are:
· Standard Construction Limited. The directors are Idris Sulaima and Sala M. Jambo. This company is believed to be originally owned by the speaker’s father.
· Z.I. Investment; registration number 293033. Incorporated on 20 January 1994. The directors are Ibrahim Salisu Buhari and Zakaria A.A. Ismail.
· Chemotex International; incorporated on 24 January 1991 with registration number 162772. The directors are Ahmed Ocholu, Aliyu Korana and Ibrahim S. Buhari.
· Sabuty Nig. Limited; incorporated on 10 December, 1984 with registration number 67426. The directors are Audu Danazumi Ibrahim Buhari and Salisu Buhari. It is pertinent to note that the difference between the two names is that between six and half a dozen.
· Buhari United Limited. There is confusion over its directorship. Incorporated in 1980, the directors listed were Lateef Kayode Jakande, Ogunleye A Bamishe and Samuel Shonibare.
The three companiesBuhari employed extensively to corner mouth-watering contracts from the Abacha regime were however, not found incorporated. The companies are Sacarflow Security and Printing Limited; Utility Software Limited and Microtec Computer Systems.
Obviously, the Speaker is an achiever in a hurry. A common thread of a meteoric somersault runs through his academic, business and political garlands. An evil genius, Buhari would perhaps hold the fantasy record of being the only human being on earth to have bagged a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration within two years at the famous University of Toronto, Canada. He will also be the only politician in history who rose to become the Speaker of the Federal House, a year after he began politicking. His business fortune have also frog-leaped stupendously although it must be admitted his industrious father softened the ground. Buhari is a silver-spoon spoiltbrat.
In his profile while contesting the speakership seat, Buhari tagged himself a “seasoned politician with maturity and exposure.” In this regard, the Speaker must have built his adolescent years as a “class captain, a prefect and an active member of students’ unionism into his overall political career.” What is public knowledge is the fact that Buhari cut his teeth in politics just last year. Then, he contested election into the House of Representatives on the platform of the Democratic Party of Nigeria (DPN), one of Abacha’s five leprous fingers. That he could ride roughshod over some real, older, time-tested colleagues in the House to nick the speaker’s seat spoke volumes of Buhari’s dangerously calculating mind.
Is Mr. Speaker still a quite, well-behaved boy? Or is he not just a calculating fraud? Last week, the wagon of lies of Mr. Speaker speared set for derailment as some members of the House assembled documents to challenge his right to sit pretty in the House as Nigeria’s number 4 Citizen. Sources said he concern members are heading to the court, this week.
All through the past two weeks when TheNEWS Correspondents approached the Speaker to react to the fraud he has commited, he remained evasive. At a stage, workers at the House of Representatives were banned from releasing the bio-data of the political officers.
Reported by Tajudeen Suleiman/Kano Dotun Adekanbi, Tony Orilade (Abuja) Iyobosa Uwugiaren (Abuja) and Ayodele Ojo.
This report was first published in TheNEWS magazine (hard copy) of 19 July 1999 (pages 14-19).