National leader of the All Progressive Congress, APC, Asiwaju Ahmed Bola
Tinubu has denied ever being arrested, questioned or indicted for drug
crimes in the United States of America in the early 1990′s
The former Lagos Governor also denied reports that he never attended the
Chicago State University.
But a document, signed by a former United States Government
Narcotics Attache in its embassy in Nigeria, Andre W. Kellum, said Tinubu
operated an organisation that distributed cocaine.
Kellum said that though Tinubu was not subjected to criminal prosecution,
the fact that he acceded to forfeiting funds to the United States
Government was on its own a conviction.
Tinubu had admitted in court papers that he was involved in laundering
proceeds of drug trafficking in the United States of America and the
proceeds of such illicit drugs or money laundered in the sun of 460,000 US
dollars be forfeited to the United States Government.
Tinubu, in a statement today said all the allegations are smear campaigns
that have been in the works for years.
The statement reads:
The unfolding smear campaign against former Lagos governor and leader of
the APC, Bola Tinubu, is no surprise. It had been in the works for years
since the Jonathan-led government realized that Tinubu commanded a
powerful political followership. The successful merger and birth of the
APC posed the most potent threat to the PDP and Tinubu an architect of the
merger has become a marked man.
The thought of a Buhari-Tinubu ticket confounds the PDP hierarchy and
their crisis-battered president. That Tinubu might be nominated as General
Buhari’s running mate also incenses the small element within the APC who
joined the party not for its progressive vision but to exploit its
platform to press forward their vision of themselves. Having failed at
halting General Buhari’s bid, the PDP disinformation machine has thrown
itself into overdrive trying to stymie the selection of Tinubu. Sadly,
some elements within the APC – elevating their personal ambition over
party and national interests — have lent themselves to this endeavor.
During the Nazi takeover of Germany, madman Adolf Hitler became jealous of
those within his own party who showed independent thought and who would
not allow themselves to be bent just so he could satisfy his megalomania.
Outraged, he engineered a purge executing the lot of them. This bloody
scheme became known as the “night of the long knives.” In Nigeria, we have
entered the “season of the wrong knives.”
The recent report on one of the online news websites on the allegations
bordering on his academic qualification is not new. What is new is how
desperate they have become to stir up a new controversy using an old lie.
In the past these allegations were successfully rebutted. Recent attempt
to present them as fresh allegations will not go unchallenged.
The online report, published by Sahara Reporters, claims that Tinubu
withdrew his support for the ACN in the 2011 election due to blackmail by
the president. It is rather odd that this report colors Tinubu as the
villain. If the report were true, he would be a victim. President Jonathan
and his administration would be guilty of the high crime of extortion.
This tiny consideration seemed not to dawn on the authors of this
scurrilous piece; so fixated on stabbing Tinubu, they implicate their own
boss in wrongdoing. So eager to please their master, Jonathan’s mindless
men further ensnare him.
If Tinubu had been scared off in 2011, it would make no sense for him to
spearhead the formation of the APC against the same president. If the
president had such control over TInubu why didn’t the president use that
leverage earlier to scuttle the APC before it gained a strong position in
the political space? The story makes no logical sense.
The particular accusations in the story further reveal the malice of mind
of those peddling it. They claim Tinubu did not attend Chicago State
University. They cite as their evidence a letter from the US Consulate.
But if you read the letter carefully, the surname stated is “TinubO” not
“TinubU.” If the University did a computer check on that name, the check
would come up empty. The culprits likely misspelled the last name so that
the name search would reveal nothing. This is clever but immoral; it is a
Meanwhile, Tinubu has genuine documents and pictures showing him as an
award-winning student at the school. Nigeria should be proud that one of
its own graduated an honor student from an American university over thirty
years ago when that was more of a rarity than it is today. Instead, his
detractors want to pretend he never set foot on campus.
As late as August 2012, Tinubu visited the university and was given a
special reception and a tour by the school’s president. This would not
have been done for a stranger. It would have been done for a
After graduation, Tinubu landed jobs with two well established
international companies, one the accounting firm Deloitte and Touche and
the other, ExxonMobil. Such companies investigate an applicant’s academic
background. If he had not attended school, these companies would not have
hired him. He would not have excelled in them but he did.
The rumor about drug running is the lowest form of calumny. He has never
been arrested, charged or indicted for any drug-related crime. Had any
such suspicion existed, the American government would not have granted him
political asylum during the Abacha era. Under American law, asylum cannot
attach to anyone who has broken or offended that same law.
Moreover, Tinubu travels frequently to the states. This means he has a
visa. American law prohibits visa issuance to anyone reasonably suspected
of drug dealing, let along being convicted of the same.
If I were Tinubu, I would place a wager with the PDP. He should offer to
fly to America if the PDP would also send Mr. Kashamu. Both can fly to
Chicago. Then he should bet the PDP who would return to Nigeria first. We
all know the answer.
There is a vicious campaign to deter Tinubu from the APC ticket; this
campaign is being run from the PDP’s basement. They fear him. They cannot
assail his competence and experience. He has been an able senator and
governor. They cannot assail his commitment to democracy. He has
personally sacrificed more for democracy than all the PDP hierarchy
combined. They fear his ability to campaign, to get out the vote and to
protect that vote, especially in the southwest because they know that is
the pivotal region where the election will likely be won or lost.
These assailants desperately try to scuttle Tinubu’s potential candidacy.
In that the truth offers them no solace, they resort to lies. They seek to
ambush the man under cover of innuendo and untruth. But their aim is off
and their knives are wrong. In the end, what they use to injure him will
turn to point against them. Such is the outcome when one engages in
Thus, they seek to prevent a person who may be controversial yet he is
perhaps Nigeria’s most able and versatile politician, strategist and
policy maker. For perhaps the most gifted politician of his time not to
seek national office is a luxury a nation in this dire circumstance can
ill afford. In the end, governance has little to do with religion, region
or rumor. It has to do with vision and competence. The wrong knives will
never be able to cut that truth.