Saharareporters has confirmed that the fourth term bid of Mr. Owolabi Alao Monsuru, a crony of Bola Ahmed Tinubu who represents the ACN in the House of Representatives, has run into trouble on account of certificate forgery.
The three-term lawmaker, who represents Lagos Island Constituency 11, presented to the screening committee of ACN a forged School Leaving Certificate and a fake diploma from the University of Lagos. The First School Leaving Certificate is a minimum requirement for candidates hoping to become members of the lower house of the National Assembly.
SaharaReporters is in possession of one Secondary School Leaving Certificate from a “school’ called New Nation College which was submitted to the ACN by Mr. Monsuru. An investigation by Saharareporters revealed that no school was registered under that name by the Lagos State Ministry of Education at the time the certificate was issued. The certificate was issued by the Lagos State Ministry of Education although the West African Examination Council, WAEC, had been responsible for issuing such certificates since 1952.
The certificate shows that Mr. Monsuru, who is popularly known as “Batola”, was admitted to the school from January 1964 to December 1968. It testifies, falsely, that he satisfied the necessary conditions for the award of the certificate after completing Class Four. If a testimonial was indeed issued at that time, it would have said Standard 4 and not Class 4.
Mr. Monsuru also submitted another letter to the screening committee claiming that the University of Lagos Consultancy Services (Unilag Consult) could not reissue a diploma certificate he had obtained from the university. In place of the diploma, Mr. Monsuru presented a certified copy.
Saharareporters’ investigations with the authorities at the University of Lagos show that Mr. Monsuru’s Unilag Consult “diploma certificate” is a forgery. Not only has the certificate no matriculation number, the letter headed paper on which it was issued is different from UNILAG’s regular letter head. In addition, Unilag Consult is not a recognized department, a management program or a course of study.
The ‘certified’ photocopy of the fake diploma was signed by one Kola Babalola, designated as an Administrative Manager. The authorities at UNILAG do not know of any Mr. Babalola in a position to issue certificates. Furthermore, Mr. Babalola’s position as Administrative Manager does not exist.
A look at the HANSARD, the official report of the proceedings and debates of the legislative house, shows that for twelve years, Mr. Monsuru has contributed little or nothing on the house floor. As dissatisfaction grew among his constituents on Lagos Island, Bola Tinubu deftly moved Mr. Monsuru to Lagos Mainland as a candidate for the same House of Representative.
Sources within the ACN Lagos State party secretariat, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told Saharareporters of how the Chairman of the screening panel, Senator Tokunbo Afikuyomi, presented Mr. Monsuru in absentia. The former senator, who is currently Commissioner for Tourism in Lagos State, produced Mr. Monsuru’s educational qualifications which turned out to be forged.
Party members who spoke to Saharareporters claimed that Mr. Monsuru is a front for former Governor Tinubu for the collection of unofficial taxes extorted from unsuspecting public transport drivers. These ‘fees’ are in addition to the official Lagos Government taxes and NURTW fees. They also claim that in Bola Tinubu administration, Mr. Monsuru was allocated car parks, a “portfolio” he has maintained. The whole Marina stretch of car parks is under Mr. Monsuru’s direct control, and he regularly remits returns to ex-governor Tinubu.
Party insiders also claimed that the toll gates between Ilupeju and Mushin and similar toll gates in and around Lagos are under Mr. Monsuru’s direct control. Over the years, he acquired a giant printing press that is contracted to print all of Lagos State official stationery, as well as those of the ACN.