HomePoliticsAtiku Media Aide Calls BBC Report "A Jaundiced Report"

Atiku Media Aide Calls BBC Report “A Jaundiced Report”

The camp of the Peoples Democratic Party flag bearer, Atiku Abubakar, has protested the BBC reports that claim no evidence is available to support the allegations of diploma forgery against President Bola Tinubu.

The BBC’s Global Disinformation Team had stated from its information published on Wednesday, that there was no evidence that Tinubu forged the CSU certificate he had submitted to INEC to contest for the presidential election.

The report reads “The BBC was given access to the deposition transcript by Mr Abubakar’s spokesperson, Phrank Shaibu.

“Some social media users in Nigeria allege that the deposition and the diplomas released by CSU confirm that the diploma submitted to INEC by Mr Tinubu was forged.

“We found there was no evidence to support this claim. The CSU released several diplomas issued between 1979 and 2003. We analyzed all of them.

“There are three different diplomas for Mr Tinubu that we refer to throughout our analysis: ‘’The original one, from 1979, which he has said in the past was lost when he went into exile in the 1990s. The second one, that he submitted to INEC – is supposedly a replacement diploma from CSU (it is similar to diplomas issued by CSU in the 1990s).

“Additionally, CSU holds another replacement diploma for Mr Tinubu that they say is probably from the early 2000s that he never collected.

“The allegations on social media are based on a comparison between the document Mr Tinubu submitted to INEC and the 1979 diplomas released by CSU.”

In line with the court ruling, Abubakar’s lawyer, Angela Liu, in a deposition, questioned Caleb Westerberg, the CSU registrar.

“During Mr Westberg’s deposition, Mr Atiku’s lawyer focused on the copy of the diploma President Tinubu handed to the electoral commission and suggested that it was unlike any of the diplomas released by CSU.

“However, while Mr. Westberg agreed with Ms Liu that the diploma in question does not look like the samples from 1979, he stated that the certificate looks like three of the diplomas CSU released to Mr Abubakar. Our analysis confirms this.

“It turns out that the discrepancy in the appearance of the diploma is down to it having been reissued in the 1990s.”

The BBC also noted that the registrar made it clear that the CSU’s has used various templates over the years for the diploma certificate it issued to its students, and any one given to in the late 1990s Tinubu will look like what was issued then.

“Three of the diplomas dating from the 1990s that CSU submitted were similar to Mr Tinubu’s.

One of them, which bears the date 18 December 1998, is identical (aside from the names, class of degree, and dates) to the diploma Mr Tinubu handed over to INEC.

The registrar also stated that the varsity “does not keep notes of when a graduate asks for the reissuing of a diploma and therefore Mr Tinubu’s request for a copy of the diploma was not recorded.

“The copy he gave to the election commission had part of the university logo missing, which Mr Westberg said in his deposition was possibly “cut off” when it was photocopied.

“We analyzed the diploma. It appears in fact that its bottom part was not included during the photocopy process.”

In response to the claim made by a Nigerian fact-checking organization that the diploma Tinubu submitted was not from CSU, as it does not include the words “with honors” under the degree name.

BBC found that while this phrase was not reflected in other diploma certificates issued by CSU, “it does appear in Mr Tinubu’s diploma issued in the early 2000s, which was authenticated by Mr Westberg during his deposition.

“It has the words ‘with honor’ – a match with the diploma with the same detail submitted by the president to INEC.”

Responding to the investigation report by the British Broadcasting Channel, Atiku Abubakar’s Special Assistant on Public Communication, Phrank Shaibu, in a statement described it as a hatchet job.

He said: “Sometime last week, when the National Broadcasting Commission, NBC, issued a final warning to Arise News TV, we pointed out that the Tinubu administration was on the verge of launching a full-blown propaganda and also intimidating ‘uncooperative’ media houses into discrediting and downplaying the CSU scandal.

“Sadly, we never imagined that it would be the BBC that would become the willing tool.

“It is unconscionable, appalling, and preposterous that in this current information age, a foreign medium of repute could try to bamboozle Nigerians with a jaundiced report when the details are clear for everyone to see. Thank God young Nigerians have begun filing complaints against the hack writers who decided to soil their names for a bowl of porridge.

“We are not ignorant of the machinations of the BBC and its bias towards the current government. Unfortunately, the BBC is not upholding the same standards as they would uphold in the UK where a Prime Minister was forced out of office for hosting a party during COVID-19. In 2009, columnist Mehdi Hasan wrote in the New Statesman that the BBC was biased ‘towards power and privilege, tradition and orthodoxy.’

Shaibu noted that the BBC Report failed to answer critical questions surrounding the matter.

He said, “What is the essence of the report when it failed to uncover the most critical questions? If this report was aimed at fact-checking, it should have mentioned the year the certificate was obtained by Tinubu from CSU and if the one he submitted to INEC is the same one he received from CSU.

“Tinubu said at Chatham House that he had received a replacement from CSU when the school said in unambiguous terms that he had not done so. What was the date he applied for his INEC replacement certificate from CSU, and when was it issued to him?

“The investigation was carried out with a predetermined goal, which was to clear Tinubu. But let us ask the BBC if they would employ anyone with such a controversial background.”

Shaibu also called on BBC and other fact-checkers to be more circumspect, adding that their job was too sensitive to entertain errors.

He recalled a false claim by Africa Check over Tinubu attending Government College Lagos.

“On November 28, 2022, Africa Check, one of the highly funded fact check organizations, claimed that the report by the opposition that Tinubu had lied that he attended Government College, Lagos, was false.

He said: “After Atiku Abubakar, through his daring court case, decided to blow open the lid, it turned out that the opposition was right all along. To date, Africa Check has also not apologized for misleading the public.

‘’This is the new reality that we face. Who will fact-check the fact-checkers?”

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