Obaseki’s delusions and the web of fake certificates

John Mayaki

Growing up, Godwin Obaseki not only loved the University of Ibadan, he also desired a degree and the respect/privileges that come with the certification of formal education from the premier university. But he had, and still has, two major character flaws: laziness and a dangerous feeling of entitlement. Relying only on his last name, he believed that he must get all that he wants whether or not he puts in the work or his deserving of it.

And so, one day, Mr. Godwin Obaseki sat in the corner of his room, awarded himself a degree in Classical Studies from the University of Ibadan, probably celebrated his self-declared convocation in his compound, and commissioned fake certificate merchants to bestow authenticity to the delusion by manufacturing papers to back the criminal falsehood.

Obaseki likely considered himself a smooth criminal in the mode of the character that informed a famous Michael Jackson song, but trouble began when the man, now elected Governor, was asked to reconcile his self-acclaimed academic voyage with other life events. So the question, when did you graduate resulted in three different answers and two conflicting duplicate certificates because he has misplaced all the original copies of every certificate he purportedly obtained.

First, he said 1976 and provided a duplicate certificate to that effect. Then he said that was a ‘misstatement’ and withdrew it for a fresh date of 1979, with another certificate and sworn affidavit in tow. But with the court where Obaseki claimed to have gotten his affidavit disowning him, the Governor simply erased the dates and put forward a freshly-minted, date-less certificate.

When asked of what he did in the years after his supposed University education, Obaseki, wanting to appear like other graduates, said he served the country, and brought forward another duplicate certificate as proof. But that too had many problems. His name was misspelled and so he was rechristened ‘Obaseki’ and the font of the document, when compared with another original copy, was so different in type and quality, it requires no second look to detect that Obaseki’s certificate is a poor attempt at forgery.

Thickening the web of trickery and criminal forgery is the testimonial presented by Obaseki. It was meant to corroborate his imagination that he sat for an Advanced Level certificate exam but that too, like other documents, left us with more questions than answers. In the testimonial goes a date that contradicts previous claims but that’s not the greatest indictment. The Governor said he sat for five exams including the English Language when in reality, Advanced Level examination consisted only of four subjects (including the General-paper] and English Language was reserved for Ordinary Level as it is assumed that to obtain AL, the candidate was already proficient in the language.

In summary, we don’t know when Obaseki went to school, when he graduated, how he gained admission in the first place, and who issued his strange NYSC certificate. And these questions, these uncertainties all point at one thing, the original sin: that Obaseki was his own lecturer, Vice-Chancellor, and NYSC DG. He graded himself, graduated himself, and awarded himself preferred certificates. What a man. What a Governor.

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