Ondo 2024: APC screening committee clears Aiyedatiwa

The Ondo State Governor, Mr Lucky Aiyedatiwa, on Friday, heaved a sigh of relief when he became the first aspirant to be cleared by the All Progressives Congress screening committee ahead of the April 20 governorship primary.

The embattled governor has been embroiled in an alleged academic certificate forgery that has threatened his chances of clinching the party ticket in the past few weeks.

A legal practitioner, Oladotun Hassan, had petitioned the Inspector General of Police, Kayode Egbetokun and the Police Service Commission over an alleged move by a top-ranking officer to tamper with the report of an ongoing probe into the academic credential of the governor; an allegation that the legal firm of Aiyedatiwa has since refuted.

Similarly, another Ondo governorship aspirant, Gbenga Edema, on Monday pleaded with the APC National Chairman, Dr Abdullahi Ganduje and the National Working Committee to probe the controversy surrounding the authenticity of the governor’s certificate.

Edema, who claimed he was not deliberately petitioning the APC out of envy, warned that if the party fails to duly vet the credentials before clearing the governor, they may likely witness a repeat of the drama that led to the disqualification of Bayelsa APC governorship candidate, David Lyon, who was sent packing by the Supreme Court for a similar offence after winning the poll.

But an excited Aiyedatiwa told journalists at the national secretariat of the APC after he was cleared by the screening committee on Friday that the matter has been laid to rest.

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He said, “Screening is one of the processes aspirants have to go through. Mine has just been done this morning and all documents that were submitted have to be verified and questions asked where some are not too clear to the screening committee. Questions were asked and answered.

“At the end of the day, I have been cleared, especially on the issue that has to do with my certificate that a petition was written. Today, that has been put to rest. My certificates are genuine and authentic.

“I think it is a kind of mischief by some aspirants who see me as the man to beat and had to look for a way to discredit my person. Today, it has been verified and put to rest.”

The governor also narrated what led to the confusion that gave rise to the allegation of ‘fake credentials.’

According to him, the then governor of Lagos, Lateef Jakande, was compelled to merge some schools, particularly those affected by flood, with the Ikosi High School that he attended.

“As a student of history, you will recall that in 1989 when Lateef Jakande became governor of Lagos State private schools were taken over. Schools were built for the communities. And Ikosi High School that I attended is one of those schools built by the government of Lateef Jakande. So, it is on record that the school was established in 1980 and at that time, I was already in Form Three in a private school, New Nation, in Ikosi while Royal Comprehensive High School is in Ajegunle Ikorudu, very close to Ketu.

“So all of us were moved, including New Nation and Royal Comprehensive High School and some other schools that were affected by the flood into Ikosi High School, Ketu which was built by the government. That was how we wrote our WASCE in 1982 because we were in the first set. I was in Form Three at the time and it used to be five years, not now that you have six years for secondary school.

“So their question or the petition bothers on why a school established in 1980 could have a first set leaving in 1982 instead of 1985. But he (the petitioner) didn’t take the time to look at the history. But an investigation has been conducted. The schools are still there and the WAEC office is there where you can verify the subjects I took and the year I graduated from the school.

“You just need to buy a scratch card and go to the website of WAEC. It will be there – Ikosi High School Iketu and my name will be there with the subjects that I took and the various grades. So it is now clear to everybody that my certificate is authentic and I graduated from that school in 1982,” he explained.

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