Ministerial screening: I tweeted out of anger, Bosun Tijani tells senators

One of the ministerial nominees, Bosun Tijani, has explained the reason behind his controversial tweet to the Senate.

Tijani, a tech guru, made this known while answering a question posed to him by Senator Fatai Buhari (Oyo North) when he appeared at the hallowed Red Chamber for screening on Saturday.

Bosun had in an old post tweeted that he didn’t appreciate the Nigerian passport and Nigeria as a nation.

Aside from the tweet in contention, a number of the nominee’s old tweets about President Bola Tinubu had gone viral since his name emerged on the ministerial list on Wednesday.

Senator Buhari while questioning the nominee read the exact tweet that had gone viral, saying, “Nigeria is a bloody expensive tag to have against your name. Leave patriotism for a minute- that tag is a bloody waste of energy. A second foreign passport isn’t sufficient to clean that sin.”

“Is that still your position or have you changed your mindset, Nigerians need to know,” Senator Buhari questioned.

Tijani, in response, told the lawmakers that he made that tweet out of frustration over what he experienced while trying to get a visa from China.

The nominee explained that he had been at the forefront of displaying patriotism through the work he does for the Nigerian Youths and the tech guru said, “Thank you, for asking that question, Senator Buhari and I will want you to listen to me as if I am your son because I will speak from my heart because everything I say today can be proved.

“I have spent the last 15 years of my life going across the world looking for people to support people who believe they can use technology to uplift this world.

“Every time you get to the lobby of my offices, you’d find an artwork, and embedded in the centre of the artwork is the Nigerian flag.”

He explained, “In 2019, sequel to what I did with Google, the business I do with young people requires that they raise money and their ability to raise money relies on investors from abroad and I did everything possible to ensure that I built an office that is fully domiciled in Nigeria.

“In the technology space, people hardly domicile their businesses in Nigeria but I domiciled my business in Nigeria.”

Tijani said that in 2019, “We decided to improve Nigeria’s opportunity to be able to raise more funds for Nigeria and we needed to do a tour of the whole world and we didn’t just want to do it as Nigeria but as Africa.

“So, I opened up 15 slots, this whole trip was paid for by Google, and nothing came to me. We gave eight of the slots to Nigerians because I have a second citizen which is a British passport.

“I was in the UK and I was trying to apply to the Chinese embassy because I do not need a passport to other countries of the world.

“I got to the Chinese embassy and they told me that it would take two days to get my visa and I was very excited.”

He further stated that things went South for him the moment he mentioned that his business was based in Nigeria and it was at that point that he made the tweet.

Tijani noted, “They asked me what I do and that I needed to provide my pay slip. I told them I run my business and they requested my bank account statement, I told them my business is fully domiciled in Nigeria.

“The moment I told them my business was domiciled in Nigeria, the young man told me they had to do a check on me which would take a minimum of two weeks.

‘In anger, I tweeted what you read, which was paraphrased wrongly, and now I have a taste of what the youths do to you as well. The tweet you read is just the first part of what you read.”

Tijani further pleaded with the lawmakers that he was only a victim of misinformation.

He added that the second part read explicitly mentioned, “For us to lift this country, we must find a way to correct our image to project a positive image because I don’t want my two young girls to grow up to experience the same thing.

“What they have given you is the first screenshot which is convenient for them.”

The nominee holds two degrees from the University of Jos; a B.Sc in Economics and a Diploma in Computer Science.

He also obtained a Master’s degree in Information Systems and Management in 2007 from the Warwick Business School in England and completed a Ph.D. programme in Innovation and Economic Development at the University of Leicester.

Tijani is the CEO and co-founder of Hub. He has led the expansion of CcHub across Nigeria, Kenya, and more recently, Namibia.

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