Exposed: Ex-EKEDC CEO Tinuade Sanda sacked over fake PhD claims

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By Sadiq Lawal

Tinuade Sanda, the ousted Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Eko Electricity Distribution Company (EKEDC), has been embroiled in controversy following her dismissal from the role by both Eko Disco and its parent company, West Power and Gas (WPG) Limited.

Sanda’s tenure at Eko Disco was notably short-lived, spanning from her appointment in March 2022, where she became the third woman to lead in such a capacity within the Nigerian electricity distribution sector, following in the footsteps of Funke Osibodu of Benin Disco in 2013, and Folake Soetan of Ikeja Electric in 2020.

However, two years into her leadership, Sanda found herself at the centre of an internal probe into the veracity of her academic qualifications, which she had claimed spanned prestigious institutions worldwide.

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The scrutiny culminated in a directive from the Nigerian Electricity Distribution Commission (NERC), leading to her recall to the parent company along with other staff members on March 25. Subsequently, WPG Limited formally terminated her employment on April 17, 2024, citing her no longer being required for the role and confirming her severance of three months’ salary.

The controversy primarily revolves around Sanda’s educational background

She had previously stated on her LinkedIn profile that she holds a Bachelor’s degree in Applied Science (BASc) from Harvard Business School and an MBA in Strategic Planning from the University of Edinburgh.

Additionally, she claimed to have earned a PhD in Financial Management and Entrepreneurship from the “University Management Science and Technology” in Benin Republic—a claim that was highlighted in a recent interview with Punch Newspaper where she referred to herself as Dr. Tinuade Sanda.

Doubts about the authenticity of her PhD led TheCable to investigate further, discovering that the university’s website had expired and had been taken offline, with only a remaining Instagram account that actively markets to potential Nigerian students.

The three-year B.Sc program advertised on this platform, notably shorter than the Nigerian standard and not requiring UTME results for admission, raised further questions.

Archival searches via the Wayback Machine revealed that the university claimed authorization from the Benin Republic and recognition from the Nigerian Ministry of Higher Education—claims that were unfounded as the National Universities Commission had no record of the institution, nor did the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research in Benin Republic list it among accredited universities.

Further investigation by TheCable into Sanda’s claim of a degree from Harvard Business School revealed that she only attended a three-day executive education course, contrary to her claims of having obtained a degree.

Harvard Business School confirmed that she completed this short course in 2015, emphasizing that it only offered a Certificate of Attendance and did not confer degree status or alumni privileges.

Moreover, checks with the University of Edinburgh Business School, where Sanda’s LinkedIn profile originally claimed she studied, also turned up empty.

Upon inquiry, David McGregor, a digital communication officer at the University, directed queries to Heriot-Watt University, indicating no record of her attendance.

Heriot-Watt University, while cautious about sharing information due to GDPR legislation, neither confirmed nor denied her attendance.

Additionally, Sanda’s claims of memberships with professional bodies in the US and UK also came into question

Checks with the Institute of Management Consultants in the US and the Institute of Professional Financial Managers in the UK showed no records of her membership.

In the wake of these revelations, Sanda has edited her LinkedIn page, modifying her educational listings from Harvard Business School to Harvard Business School Executive Education, and from the University of Edinburgh to Heriot-Watt University.

The saga of Tinuade Sanda’s qualifications remains a developing story, with further inquiries ongoing to unravel the full extent of the discrepancies in her public and professional claims.

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