I grew up knowing that, and I might add, we took it for granted that you had to go to school study, write and pass your exams. We had our parents to contend with, if we were not successful at any exams. The fear of our parents and the “koboko” (cain) that awaited any failure was enough to get us serious to read and pass our exams. Maybe not in flying colors. But we passed.

I tasted the “koboko” once when I took very ill, I think in my Class 3 and came 19th out of 40. Usually, we submitted the result in it’s usual brown traditional envelop on my Dad’s side stool. It was Christmas morning. I thought the mood of the season would mitigate my punishment. It didn’t. When you heard your name being screamed as though the house was on fire, you knew what was coming. I took my punishment like a man. Indeed my Dad quoted that those who were not successful in their exams shouldn’t eat. It took a lot of intervention for me to have my Christmas rice and chicken.

Dishonesty in examinations.

The first time I knew that people could be dishonest about their exams was in my university days. We submitted what was called Statement of Results from West African Examination’s Council (WAEC). It was a computer generated slip. This was because it took WAEC about 5 years to get the actual original certificate ready. Some say the certificates were eventually printed abroad, while others said they were printed at Nigerian Security Printing & Minting where currencies were printed to avoid forgeries.

I do not think that my classmates saw it coming that we would be required to submit any other certificate other than the computer generated slip for the entire university program. This was the same computer generated slip that was submitted along side the Joint Admissions & Matriculations Board ( JAMB) result to gain admission into universities in Nigeria. I don’t know if that process or procedure is still being followed.

In our final year, in the university, we were required to do what was called screening before being allowed to complete our documentation towards exiting the university. At this point, it was believed that WAEC had released the original certificate and this was required for the screening to complete the process. We were asked to travel to our various secondary schools to obtain this original certificate. We did. I traveled to Port Harcourt, Nigeria and obtained mine like many others.

We took this process for granted, but it dawned on us that about 10 of our classmates did not return for the screening, because they were dishonest with their school certificate results. Further inquiry revealed that the computer generated results were forged but they hadn’t realized that the university was going to ask for the original certificate before graduation. This meant that they wasted four solid years of their lives in the university and couldn’t graduate. They did not even turn up for the final year examinations because the university ensured that screening was done before the final examinations.

The Birth Certificate.

I recall when the heat and storm were on at the same time in the US that perhaps the 44th American President, Mr. Barack Obama was not an American citizen by birth. It was alleged that he was born in Kenya and not in Miami as he claimed. The allegation was that his Mum travelled back to Nairobi, Kenya with the father and gave birth to him and both Obama and the mother returned back to the US after some months.

Barack Obama ignored this and thought it was all nonsense. But the rumor was not about to go away that quickly. Star gossip magazine in the US carried the story severally and those who fanned the ambers of this rumor even went a step further. It was alleged that they produced a forged birth certificate alleging that Obama was born in Nairobi, Kenya in 1961. This “fake” birth certificate was circulated by soft sell magazines in the whole of the United States. The only error, the allegation in that forgery was that Kenya was not a Republic in 1961, it was in 1963, but the heading of the birth certificate was Federal Republic of Kenya, 1961.

This was spotted. I don’t recall, if they shredded this and issued a “corrected” version, still suggesting that Mr. Barack Obama was born in Kenya and not in America as he claimed. Still, Obama ignored. Economist waded into this story, because the silence was beginning to lend credence to the story. It seemed that the more Barack Obama was silent, the more believable the story became.

It was discovered, allegedly, in the course of a private detective’s inquiry, that those who were spinning this yarn of Barack Obama’s birth in Kenya even went to the hospital in Miami where Barack was born and tried to compromise a nurse to delete the information from the system.

At this point, Mr. President, Barack Obama realized that the rumor mongers were not joking and that they wanted to discredit him at all cost from contesting for a second term. Incidentally, this current American President was in the middle of the storm story at the time he spun the yarn and funded it. Big time. He boasted at some point that at least he stood up to what he believed in, and almost got away with proving that Barack Obama was not born in America!

But Obama took the sting out of the rumor by printing his original birth certificate on the back of tee shirts and supporters wore the tee shirts on the streets of DC to drive home the point. To nail the coffin and bury the rumor, Barack invited Trump to a WH Correspondent Diner. The entire joke was on Mr. Donald Trump the whole night as Barack Obama made him pay. He dug into him and embarrassed him big time for ever suggesting that he, Barack was not born in America. What was more fun was that Trump couldn’t respond to these remarks he could only smile

Defend yourself with the truth.

Sometimes, it is not always that those who allege must prove. I know the burden of proof is on those alleging. But you can clear the air and dowse the tension by showing up with the facts and the truth. If the entire public is alleging that a president did not go to school and didn’t have the required qualification, his response is not silence and for his aides to be the ones speaking up for him.

His response is to address the nation, address the issues head on, grant a press conference or some unscripted interview answering pointed questions on the issues.

At some point, you need to speak up like Barack Obama did, to dowse the tension and to take the wind out of the sail as further silence could be deemed to be an admission, as the lawyers say.

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