Biobarakuma Degi

By Nsikak Ekanem

Following the withdrawal of certificate of return earlier given to David Lylon and Biobarakuma Degi of the All Progressives Congress, APC, on February 13, less than 24 hours to when they were billed to assume the office of the Bayelsa State governor and deputy governor respectively, a new and bizarre sobriquets called “former deputy governor-elect” and “former deputy governor-elect” have been introduced into Nigeria, a country that already has international reputation for bogus and frivolous titles.

The withdrawal of the certificates was ordered by the Supreme Court after establishing variations of name in credentials submitted by the deputy governorship candidate in the November 16, 2019 governorship election, which was won by the APC.

As sorted out by the court, the different names purportedly answered by the person are “(a) Biobarakum Degi Eremienyo (b) Degi Biobaragha (c) Degi Biobarakuma (d) Adegi Biobarakumo (e) Degi Eremienyo Biobarakuma Wangagha. So, what really is his established name? From affidavits sworn and deposed to the court, the real name is Biobarkuma Wangagha Degi-Eremienyo. Eremienyo is said to be a chieftaincy title.

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Beyond the appropriateness or otherwise of the Supreme Court decision, which, of course, is of no bearing, since the finality of decisions of the apex court is not contestable, there are quite a number of salient points that Nigeria and Nigerians, as a country and citizens in world populated by others, should ponder on, particularly relating to the discrepancy in the name of the former deputy governor-elect.

How come about, and who is the creator of the disparity found in various documents owned and submitted by Degi to the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC?

In his own words in one of his handwritten documents: “At birth I was named Biobarakuma with Degi as surname. These were the names with which I started my early academic life. However, after writing my First School Leaving Certificate Examination with my correct names above, the Headmaster of my school erroneously spelt my first name as ‘Biobaragha’ but with my surname rightly spelt as Degi.”

According to him, there were further mistakes, among which, is his General Certificate of Education examination. In an attempt to correct the allegedly institutionally-caused mistakes Degi had secured relevant affidavits and deposed same to the courts, but unfortunately for him he could not convince the jury.

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Unlike that of the former speaker of the House of Representatives, Salisu Buhari, and some others that had been embroiled in forgery of credentials, the authenticity of Degi’s educational institutions attended and qualifications obtained have not been disclaimed by the respective schools.

From this standpoint one finds hard to deduce what Degi could have wanted to cover up or achieve through alleged dubious means. The gravamen of his matter that he lost out at the court, culminating in losing the mandate given to his joint-governorship ticket with his principal was maintaining several names without effecting changes as required by laws.

The mistake that he is now flying the flag of a folly in the eyes of the law is certainly not peculiar to him as far as Nigeria and Nigerians living in Nigeria are concerned. Cases of dissimilarities in bio data of Nigerians in Nigeria abound. While most are dubiously fashioned out by those with ill-motives, a greater number of others are caused by the printer’s devil, as alleged in the case of Degi.

Issues arising from incorrect personal data of a number of people in Nigeria are commonplace. Check customers’ service of any bank close to you! Listen to issues arising from students doing examinations conducted by bodies, such as JAMB, WAEC, NECO, among others! Take a research on Permanent Voters Card issued to eligible Nigerians for elections. It shows institutional failure in our society. It is Nigeria’s and Nigerians’ collective shame.

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Apart from schools he attended, Degi has had a steady rise of occupying official public positions – councilor, local government vice chairman, chairman of Nembe local government council, commissioner in different ministries in Bayelsa State and a senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria before vying for the deputy governor of Bayelsa State. At no time was the issue of his name variations, which now toppled him at a point he was about mounting another podium of political post, raised.

Culled from PM News.