National Elections Commission (NEC) Chairman nominate, Nigerian-born Cllr. Ndubusi Nwabudike appears to have entangled himself in a web of lies as he tries to dribble Senators thru during his confirmation hearing here Monday.The self-proclaimed naturalized Liberian told Senators on Capitol Hill that he naturalized as a Liberian in 1982 at the age of 16, arguing that he was accompanied by an adult.However, Chapter 21 of the Aliens and Nationality Law of Liberia states that a naturalization applicant must be at least 21 years of age at the time of the petition.
This process requires a two-step approach – that is, first making a declaration of intent to naturalize before a Circuit Court, followed by the actual petition for naturalization which must be filed between the second and third anniversary dates of the declaration of intent.
Legal experts say the argument that Cllr. Nwabudike claims he was admitted to the Liberia National Bar by the Supreme Court and therefore, that validates his Liberian citizenship does not hold water simply because the Supreme Court is not in the business of investigating claims and it is not the branch of government to award citizenship.
Chapter 21 also spells out that one naturalization could be revoked if the applicant awarded naturalization did not actually meet the eligibility criteria as in the case of Cllr. Nwabudike, who allegedly obtained his at the age of 16 years, or the naturalization was fraudulently obtained or awarded in error.
Besides, Cllr. Nwabudike claims in his CV before the Liberian Senate to have been born in 1965 and came to Liberia in 1988 at the age of 23. Our investigation further shows that he acquired his primary, secondary and undergraduate education in Nigeria as a Nigerian student and paid local fees up to his alleged graduation in June 1988, the same year and month he came to Liberia.
In the same June 1988, he claims to have enrolled at the University of Liberia Graduate School, and graduated in 1990, and later entered the Louis Arthur Grimes School of Law. A careful look at his records from the University of Liberia reveals an apparent alteration to his place of birth.
Although he attended the University of Liberia as a local student and paid fees charged to all Liberian students, it raises questions as to when and how did Cllr. Nwabudike acquire his Liberian citizen in June of 1988 and the very same month and year he is said to have graduated from a Nigerian University as a Nigerian student.
Cllr. Nwabudike bags a lot of credibility and trust questions especially, surrounding the inconsistent accounts he has given to the public and the Liberian Senate about his background.
“His testimony that he naturalized in 1982 raises more doubt over his credibility,” one Lawyer told this paper Tuesday.
Among other claims he made was that Senator Varney Sherman wrote his letter of recommendation to Harvey University and recommended him to the Law Reform Commission, but Sen. Sherman denied both claims at the hearing.
What else did he say at the hearing?
The NEC boss-designate at the public hearing said his father was a naturalized Liberian, while his mother maintains her Nigerian citizenship, adding that he was born in Nigerian 1965.
The learned lawyer opined that he has been living in Liberia since 1988 and has not left the country for more than ten months since.
Cllr. Nwabudike, who was requested to present his naturalization documents by the Senate hearing committee, refused to submit at the time he provided his credentials to the body.
When the Chair of the Committee Senator J. Milton Teahjay of Sinoe County called for a 5 minute break, without taking a step or being encountered by anyone Cllr. Nwabudike out of the blues presented a copy of a document to the Senate Committee, claiming to be his naturalization certificate rushed to him by a good Samaritan.
Senators on the committee complained that they could barely see what was on the paper because the prints were dull.
When questioned by the committee head if he knew any Kinsley, the nominee in the public gathering said he never knew any Kinsley but after few minutes he openly denied that he ever told Senator Teahjay that he doesn’t know who Kinsley was. When questioned on his credibility, he said he hasn’t defrauded anyone in his entire life.
Senator Cllr. Varney Sherman of Grand Cape Mount County who quoted the Nigerian law says “Once you were born in Nigerian, your rights as a Nigerian citizen cannot be taken from you, even if you naturalized in anyone’s country you must denounce your Nigerian citizenship to the Nigerian President.”
The nominee told the public that at a point in time he needed a recommendation from a lawyer in Liberia to ascertain his character when he wanted to enroll at the Harvey University in the United States, explaining that the letter of recommendation came from Cllr. Varney Sherman.
He also said when a five-man committee was set up to create the Law Reform Commission of which Cllr. Sherman was the Co-Chair, the committee was asked to send for a Liberian lawyer to work with them on the committee and again he was the Liberian lawyer that was sent to work with the committee.
Senator Cllr. Varney Sherman openly rebutted the claims saying at no time he ever wrote a letter of recommendation for Cllr. Nwabudike and he also said that the nominee lied on him, saying that he also didn’t serve on any Law Reform Committee. By Othello B. Garblah & Ethel Tweh