Politicians like Obasa go to great lengths to prove they are worthy of election. To get ahead of the pack, they exaggerate their resumes. If it is true as alleged that Obasa is not a lawyer as claimed, this is a grave political indictment, in addition to the various corrupt embezzlement and conversion that have been alleged against him. He should step down as speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly.


No bush fowl is bigger than the other, except the one perched on a heap. To be on that heap, politicians over-egg their academic achievements in a bid to distinguish themselves and stand out from the crowd. This recurring lie about educational attainment by candidates for political office, as well as those already elected, is especially disturbing. It is bad for our democracy. Nigerians are easily some of the best educated black persons in the world. In the United States, Nigerians are widely cited among the most educated immigrant groups. At the same time, we rank high on fake certificates and bogus qualifications. It is so bad that Universities and employers abroad hire independent consultants to verify certificates presented by Nigerians. The raft of contemporary certificate scandals started with the Chicago scandal, followed closely by the Toronto scandal. We have a surfeit of these certificate scandals because a degree is a valuable commodity. For fakers, falsely claiming a degree without going through the academic rigour of getting one can be too tempting to resist. Same goes for the lure of doctoring one’s age to get that entry level job or elongate service in government jobs.

The latest in the string of certificate scandals involve Mudashiru Obasa. According to SaharaReporters: “More trouble may be brewing for Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Mudashiru Obasa, as the Supreme Court of Nigeria has revealed that there was no record of him as a lawyer in their registry. The apex court keeps records of all certified lawyers allowed to handle cases in any Nigerian court. Obasa’s profile on Wikipedia and the Lagos Assembly’s website describes him as a lawyer and solicitor of the Federal Republic of Nigeria even though there is no mention of where he practiced or a case he handled.” Politicians like Obasa go to great lengths to prove they are worthy of election. To get ahead of the pack, they exaggerate their resumes. If it is true as alleged that Obasa is not a lawyer as claimed, this is a grave political indictment, in addition to the various corrupt embezzlement and conversion that have been alleged against him. He should step down as speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly. The allegations have impacted his credibility and it stands in the way of the judgment required of someone holding that position.

Why should a man aspire to public office when he does not have enough education to enable him read, comprehend, write and be able to sign documents without recourse to an aide? In a society obsessed with titles, we have reduced the value and meaning of university education to a credential.


Are dubious academic qualifications and affiliations really necessary, when the Constitution of Nigeria requires the minimum of a secondary education for anyone seeking political office? Apparently, the bar cannot be low enough. Former governor of Adamawa State, Jibrilla Bindow and Senator Ademola Adeleke of Osun State were said not to have the minimum education that requires only 10-12 years of schooling. Why should a man aspire to public office when he does not have enough education to enable him read, comprehend, write and be able to sign documents without recourse to an aide? In a society obsessed with titles, we have reduced the value and meaning of university education to a credential. It is such a shame that those who seek to lead are not interested in setting good examples.

It must be noted that politicians are not more prone to academic fraud than others in society. It is a rising global problem; only that Nigerians are always better at cutting corners. Fake credentials are not limited to public office, corporations also struggle with the problem too. However, it is easier for fakers to find accommodation in government. In the case of politicians, we often get to know about their fake certificates and biographical discrepancies because the opposition research and inquisition of journalists unearth the shady pasts and false pretences of scholastic achievement in the background of public officials, many of whom have built their entire political careers on fakery.

When a politician lies about his qualifications, it calls into question his integrity. As we have seen in the past, sooner rather than later, lies and false statements will catch up with candidates for public office and those already elected. The Nigerian voter is getting more informed and sensitive, each passing day.


Hard-to-get products are prone to counterfeiting. What does it mean to have a university degree? It means waking up early to go to class for lectures. It means reading notes and texts, submitting assignments, turning in term papers, and writing examinations. It is hard and time consuming stuff that many do not have the cognition, the time, or the money for. There is nothing wrong with not going to the university. A lot is wrong in lying about a training or education that you do not have. It is a kind of corruption. There is no point lying about being a lawyer, which is a easily verifiable claim. The Supreme Court has a register of all lawyers, dead and alive. The pieces of paper certificates represent the evidence of rigorous study over a period of time. It does not come cheap. It is not just about money, it is also about the time spent and the cognition to get the work done. A certificate in and of itself is worthless unless backed up by knowledge. Faking it is a short cut that leads nowhere.

Every political party or organisation has to take this seriously. In our democracy, a political culture built on lies, deception and misrepresentation sends the wrong signal to up and coming youths. Do voters really care whether a politician is a university graduate or not? I don’t think so. The electorate care more about who connects with them, understands their issues and has a measure of integrity. When a politician lies about his qualifications, it calls into question his integrity. As we have seen in the past, sooner rather than later, lies and false statements will catch up with candidates for public office and those already elected. The Nigerian voter is getting more informed and sensitive, each passing day. Those who aim to lead cannot be protected from their lies for long. The informed voter will ask questions and those who seek to represent us will continue to attract critical public scrutiny to their education and backgrounds.

Bámidélé Adémólá-Olátéjú a farmer, youth advocate and political analyst writes this weekly column, “Bamidele Upfront” for PREMIUM TIMES. Follow me on Twitter @olufunmilayo