The Presidency remained resolute on Wednesday, asserting that Chicago State University’s academic records had exonerated President Bola Tinubu and authenticated his status as an alumnus of the institution.
Temitope Ajayi, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Public Affairs, emphasized that Chicago State University (CSU) had never stated that the certificate presented to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) by Tinubu before the presidential election was forged in its deposition.
Former Vice President Abubakar Atiku, who contested against Tinubu in the February presidential election on the Peoples Democratic Party’s platform, is scheduled to submit his application at the Supreme Court on Thursday (today). Atiku is expected to provide the documents obtained from CSU as part of his election appeal.
The release of President Tinubu’s academic records by the university, along with CSU Registrar Carl Westberg’s deposition, followed a ruling by Magistrate Jeffrey Gilbert on September 19, granting Atiku’s request for the release of Tinubu’s academic records. Tinubu’s legal team initially objected to the relevance of these records in Atiku’s appeal, prompting a review of the order.
However, Federal Judge Nancy Maldonado overruled Tinubu’s objections and instructed CSU to release the President’s academic records. The CSU documents confirmed that Tinubu had attended the university.
Dismissing claims that CSU disowned Tinubu in its deposition, Ajayi clarified via a micro-blogging platform, “We should be clear. In the deposition made by Chicago State University, there was nowhere the university said the certificate presented to INEC by President Tinubu is fake.”
Ajayi added, “The university insisted under oath that President Tinubu graduated with honors, and even at that, replacements for lost certificates are done by vendors, not the university.”
Minister of Foreign Affairs Yusuf Tuggar addressed the issue, downplaying the controversy surrounding the President’s educational qualifications. Tuggar described Atiku’s case in the U.S. as frivolous and emphasized that the government was focused on more significant matters, considering the economic challenges facing Nigeria.
Meanwhile, in compliance with the court order, CSU Registrar Carl Westberg provided a deposition regarding Tinubu’s academic records at the office of Atiku’s lawyer, Angela Liu, in Chicago. Westberg reported that the university received numerous daily inquiries about Tinubu from Nigeria but did not notify him.
Westberg asserted that Bola Tinubu’s name was unusual in the U.S., and the records matched the information provided by the student when applying. The dispute over whether the student admitted in 1977 from South West College was male or female was clarified, with Westberg confirming that Tinubu applied as a male, and a letter of admission was issued accordingly.
Regarding the certificates in the documents given to Atiku, Westberg explained that the university typically did not retain diplomas, but they had the diploma for Mr. Enahoro-Eboh because Tinubu did not pick it up. Westberg stated he did not have the diploma submitted to INEC because Tinubu had collected it.
Atiku is expected to present new evidence against Tinubu before the Supreme Court, as confirmed by sources in his camp.