Indications have emerged that the President of Gabon, Ali Bongo Ondimba is a Nigerian of the ethnic Igbo stock. It is said that he was adopted during the Biafran war by his father, Omar Bongo who handed over to him as President.
This development may soon be confirmed as a court in western France on Thursday allowed a family member of Omar Bongo to view the birth certificate of Ali Bongo following accusations that he lied about his country of origin.
The Gabonese constitution demands that one must be born Gabonese to serve as the head of state, but French investigative journalist, Pierre Pean alleged in a recent book that the President was actually a Nigerian and was adopted during the Biafran war in the late 1960s.
The court in Nantes allowed 25-year-old Onaida Maisha Bongo Ondimba, a daughter of former president Omar Bongo, to view the documents in full, which her lawyer, Eric Moutet hailed the decision as “enormous”, though “diplomatically complex”.
Ali Bongo is the only one of ex-president Omar Bongo’s 54 declared heirs not to have produced the identification documents. He claims he was born in Brazzaville in 1959, former capital of French Equatorial Africa.
The Nantes civil registration centre is responsible for all birth certificates of people born in French Equatorial Africa up to 1960, when the former colonial countries in the region gained independence to become Gabon, Congo, Chad and the Central African Republic.