Babatunde Fowler’s fake doctorate – why the silence?

On Thursday, the 20th of August, the office of the Presidency announced Babatunde William Fowler’s appointment as the Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service. Dr. Fowler has erstwhile, maintained a track record of discipline in his past capacity as the Chief Executive Officer of the Lagos state Inland Revenue Service from 2005-2014; as such, Lagosians expressed support for his new position. That was until Sahara Reporters broke the news that Babatunde’s Doctorate degree is fake.

President Buhari has taken his time to appoint Ministers and other public service officials. About four months ago, he emphasized that his appointees would be Nigerians, who are ruled by a desire to reinstate the dream of the founding fathers.

Yet, barely 10 hours after Fowler’s educational qualifications were called into question, Fowler simply edited his resume on the Lagos state Inland Revenue Service website, without an official statement. The Buhari administration is also yet to release a statement.

Why are both parties silent on this issue? Probably because they know that the hype will die down. After all, it has happened before. Former Aviation Minister, Stella Oduah, was in the same situation in 2014, when Sahara Reporters unearthed the fact that some of her educational qualifications were fraudulent. A simple edit to her Wikipedia page was the only after-effect.

What seems to be missing here is accountability. When the news became public, social media was buzzing with uproar and disappointment, but people have not actually demanded some kind of acknowledgment from Buhari or Fowler.

We deserve better. If Buhari’s administration is truly committed to transparency then, the Nigerian electorate deserve a response. Nonchalance from both parties is just one of the reasons why this country is still not yet out of the woods in terms of government officials’ accountability.

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